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Chalk

By , Yelm, WA
The video started with a close up of my face. I was smiling with my Binky to the side staring straight into the camera. I was three years old, drawing on the sidewalk in front of our old apartment. The best part of this tape was that it captured the most beautiful sound, my mom's laugh. She had zoomed out of the extreme close-up of my face and showed my full self. I was wearing my very best pink tutu, polka-dotted leggings and slippers, all from my treasured dress up box that my mom made for me. I had my curly black hair pocking out of a bun on the top of my head and I had two handfuls of chalk. My mom giggled and say,"Livia you are drawing such beautiful pictures!" When I was three I thought I was drawing Mommy and I playing at the park, picking flowers and dancing on stage where mom danced. I thought anyone could see that but looking at it now through the screen, it just looks like scribbles. Scribbles that are multicolored and complex; they are hard to tell where one start s and where one ends. You are mesmerized by my smile and laughter that you don't realize that the rain is rolling in.
The rain seemed so sudden. It came out of nowhere and stayed for a long time. My heart was completely broken. In an instant I had gone from absolute happiness to absolute horror. The tears burst out of my eyes so steadily that you would have thought that I was the cause of the pouring rain. I remember wanting to jump out and cover my art with my own raincoat so that it would stay the same forever and always. But by the time I had run into the apartment and back, it was too late. My mom was silent for a while, the camera had started to move a little bit and you knew that she had started to cry as well. Mom finally whipped into action, as she always did, and told me that "the sky had loved my art so much that it wanted to hang it up on its wall and use my colors to make all of the flowers pretty again. Livia, it is using the blues for the sky and the oceans, the pinks and reds for the sweet fruits that I loved and the greens for the grass and trees. The purple was for the flowers that had been planted in the garden outside of our apartments, the yellows and oranges were for the sun and stars." I had stopped crying and had been asking, "what about this color?"and "What about that one?". And she would answer, Always.. That was the end of the video. My mom, however, had a rain storm that took over her life, it washed out all of the color from her sidewalk and she had no idea what to do. But I did.
The video started with a close up of just mom. She was dancing on the big stage and she looked absolutely beautiful, like she always does. I was filming the whole program so I could send it to my grandparents, she was smiling and twirling around and around in big gorgeous circles around everyone. It was the summer performance, the doors were open because it was so hot and the stadium was packed. When my mom gets on the stage there is a pause as people look upon her with an awe. And then the cheering starts, I always yell the loudest and the longest, always.. She was so mesmerizing that you could not see that the rain is rolling in. And the clouds are dark and ready to explode right in the auditorium.
The rain seemed so sudden. It came out of the middle of nowhere and stayed for a long time. She threw herself up into the air in one big graceful movement For a couple seconds she was calm but only for a moment. You can see her heart was completely shattered as she tried desperately to get up. The crowd was in shock, I was in shock! I didn't know what to do, so I cried. You only know that I cried because you can see the camera moving slightly. Then I jumped into action, I ran up on to the stage and pushed the curtains closed so Mom could have some privacy. The ambulance came and we left for the hospital. We found out that she had cancer in her left knee and she would not dance again. I went over to her and I hugged her tight to say, " Mommy I am proud of you! The stage needs your talent for another ballerina, and the stage wants you to enjoy watching the new ballerina dance with your talent and love of dance." and " Your heart needs you to be strong so you can grow through with your treatment." She had interrupted me several times to ask, "Who?" and "What should we do next?" I answered and soothed her, like I will always do.. That was the end of the video. But it was the beginning of something new, something that only a simple thing like a sidewalk and love could fix.
In the next morning the sun shined down on the little apartment sidewalk in front of my room. It proved my mom to be right. The sky was all different colors of blue, the grass was green, the flowers where purple and the sun was orange and yellow. I was that happy little girl again, I had my Binky and chalk in hand and was ready to start working. Every week for years I sat and drew on that very sidewalk, every year until I moved away to college I drew mom and I dancing on the big stage and the flowers and skies. I always kept the simple words that my mom told me in my heart, so I could take it where ever I went. Looking at the rain and sun everyday became my way of knowing that everything is going to be okay. And everything is okay. Just like how every time I dance on the big stage for my mom, she feels a sense of wholeness. She can breath easily knowing that the simple joys of life are really the biggest surprises. She sits in her wheelchair on the right side of the stage and watches me with amazement and the story goes full circle again. I am a twenty three year old with my curly black hair in a bun on the top of my head and I am wearing my Mom's very best tutu and slippers. The video starts with a close up of my face and I look really good. But the best part of the tape was that it captured my mom's beautiful laugh. And I get to keep it forever and ever.





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