Friday, August 13, 2004

Svelte brushstrokes on a Friday Afternoon

Saw beautiful friend (she's on the unattainable "blogger-babe" caliber) Anita this afternoon. I have no memory of ever vivdly meeting Anita. She's half-hardcore Irish, half Italian with a long-silver drape of hair that slinks down to her waist like interior-decorating inside an exotic brothel. She studied her undergrad at Notre Dame and lived in Italy and Taos, New Mexico and now teaches art here at Bradley. She's just had her first son, John, and when she was pregnant she used to lumber into the library and left up the bottom her XXL shirt, ushering my shakey palm around the fleshly kiss of her navel; guiding my hand above the dome of womb.

"Here," She said last March, guiding my tentative fingers tips over the mound of her lower abdomen. She then gently pressed my hand into her body; into her warm flesh.

"Do you feel that?" She said, with a half-moon smile. I nodded.

"That's his butt," She said laughing. "Isn't is huge. My child's gonna have a fat ass."

But I saw Anita today (yeah-duh-should have garnered the connection with the whole 'a' thing). I hadn't seen anita since March and I had trouble recalling her name at first (must be a platonic guy thing. If I have a sporadic connection with a girl and then don't see her and then see her I remember every aspect of her body and persona except for her name). Hence she was the recepient a "Hey girl, how you been," and a "awww, look at that," when she dandled her four-month old out of the carriage.

"Here," She said after giving me a hug. "He's fat. He's four months old and he already weighs as much as a twelve month old."

She placed her child in my cradled biceps. I'm always scared shitless when people put their infants in my arms. Scared shitless when I realize that, nestled in my limbs is another human being; a coddled, curious creature seething with life as much as it salivates with fluid.

"Are you gonna be an artist like your mommy?" I asked. John giggled. "Are you going to paint post modern vignettes that capture the human condition?" Anita laughed. John let loose of an achey squeal before his portly potato-sac body jiggled into a curlicue, into a question mark in my arms.

I've always had a bond with Anita, who just appeared one day and smiled and was kind and grabbed my hand once after she read one of my short stories (I wanna use her and jasna art on my book covers=artists supporting artists or whatever) but this afternoon, when I was conversing with her and she nudged me to go to Taos ("You could live in your station wagon there! No one would care. The energies SO good there!!!) when I told her about Mary-Mary, the art teacher I intermittently see, when she told me about forming the syllabus for "drawing class" and I told her that I just sent out manuscripts in a last-digit effort to tame my accumulating student arrears; it was almost like I was talking to daniela and arya in their own impeccable, timeless beauty.....don't ask me how. But when anita tucked John into his carriage and stopped by my workstation to say goodbye, I told her very candidly, dearest friend, that the pleasure was all mine. Her body transitioned into an exclamatory mark and her face ripped open a smile that shown across John's carriage like the thick September moon reflecting the light of the hidden sun on to a quiet autumnal pasture---everything perfect and serene.

She then said that I was wrong. That the pleasure was hers and I said the greatest name over and over again as she steered John's carriage out of the library. Said the greatest name as a blessing for Anita's child; said the greatest name as a blessing for those who have found me, said the greatest name as a curtain call, as a bouquet, as a thank you, as a lullabye for those who have held us now and those whose limbs we will caress in years to come.

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