We Wanted To Be Artists

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When the days were countless and measured by the colors in the sky instead of the numbers on a clock, what we wanted was never quite clear. We wanted to be artists and builders, designing the houses that covered our kitchens and the clothes that covered our bodies. We wanted them to be purple and yellow and red and remarkable in the company of blue and beige. We wanted to be painters, pulling the sky, the earth, the trees apart, and putting them back together in the way it looked to us, embedding the colors and sounds into a watery imperfect picture. We wanted to be artists; we wanted to be teachers. When questions grew from our eyes and ears and fingertips, we wanted to believe in our makeshift answers, and we wanted to be certain our uncertainty was veiled. We wanted to be smiled upon, and we relished in being looked up to. We wanted to be heroes. Whether or not we had a cape or superhuman strength, we had always wanted to fly. Weaving through the sprawling shadows of trees and their bony leaves, we wanted to fly through the suburbs that surrounded us and reach the openness that eluded us. We wanted to be above the people who acted like they were above us. We wanted to see things, see them from behind our curious and unscientific eyes. I wanted to play guitar, I wanted to make music, I wanted to wrap the grass and the sun and the kitchen table conversations into sounds that trembled and swayed. The light from the 40 watt bulb, the glow, the noise, the plastic grocery bags; I wanted them all to be seen in the songs I wanted to write. Hair ribbons, eye liner, tiny feet, and tattoos. That was what I saw. An easel near the window, a cello in the corner. Lizards, monkeys, a house in California. Cigarettes and Shirley Temples. That’s what all the big kids had, and though we could never put it into words, that was what we wanted too. What we didn’t want was to grow up forgetful of each other, of what did and didn’t happen, of what we were, of what we wanted at the time. We wanted to be real, and we wanted to be artists, the way we were right then.





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