I just want to thank you all for the unexpected gift that your comments to Friday's post gave me. Thank you.
I have been twirling some ideas around in my mind about this reflection meditation and will post some ideas on Tuesday. Stay tuned.
This is another story about the little girl who has been living inside my head for the last few weeks. If you missed the first one, you can find it here.
Rebecca Louise Paulson sat on a stool at a long brown table, the tip of her paint brush poised over the space that separated the turquoise and red paint. She closed her eyes.
It was Tuesday afternoon, right after lunch, and Tuesday afternoon, right after lunch, found Rebecca in art class. At the beginning of class, Mr. Van Dyke had handed out National Geographic magazines and invited the students to find a photograph of an animal that they wanted to paint. Rebecca couldn’t believe her luck. Last night’s adventure had taken her and her brother to the jungles along the Amazon River. Rebecca had spent time with the most gorgeous butterfly named Tatiana. Rebecca didn’t ever want to forget the shades of blue that adorned Tatiana’s wings. Now was her chance to paint them.
She had smiled at Mr. Van Dyke as she took the magazine and had spent a few moments looking through it. She was the first to walk over to the paints and squirt colors onto her palette. She used the deep navy to paint the outline of Tatiana’s wings. Then she swirled cobalt blue and turquoise together until she blended the perfect shade for the inner upper section of the wings. She continued to swirl the blues, getting lighter and lighter toward the body of the butterfly.
But it was the moment she reached for the red paint to mix with white to make pink so she could outline the proboscis that she suddenly remembered her brother had handed her a red rock at the end of last night’s dream.
Her fist clenched as she closed her eyes to remember exactly where they had been standing when she had wrapped her fingers around that rock. In her mind, she unclenched her fist and looked at the rock.
She had to write this down in her notebook.
Rebecca pushed away from the table and walked up to Mr. Van Dyke. “Please may I use the bathroom?”
“Of course, just hang your smock up on one of the hooks please.”
Rebecca began to unbutton her father’s old navy and white pinstriped oxford that she wore over her Tuesday-means-fern-green jumper. She hung up the shirt as she passed by the hooks right inside the door of the art room.
After walking through the doorway, she took a quick left and walked over to her pumpkin orange backpack. She took it down from the hook, the same one she always used, the fifth hook from the left, and quickly unzipped it, reaching inside for her small pink spiral notebook. Snapping open the front pocket, she grabbed a #2 pencil and next to her previous note, “next to huge fern at bend in river near Tatiana’s house,” she wrote, “red rock. color of bricks on our house. size of a nickel.” Then she reached in to the bottom of her pack, into the super secret compartment, to reassure herself that the handkerchief and its sacred contents were in the right place. Sighing, she tucked everything back into the right pockets and stood up. Deciding she wanted a drink of water, she walked further down the hall and turned right toward the nearest drinking fountain, took two gulps of water, and began to walk back toward the art room, stopping to look at the bulletin board outside the second grade classroom. That class had made self portraits this week, and every time she walked by them, she liked to look at the third one from the right in the second row.
She ambled back to the art room, but before she walked back into the room, she turned to toward the backpack hooks to make sure all looked fine.
Anyone looking out in the hallway at that moment would have seen a little girl wearing a fern green jumper over a white oxford, red knee socks, black mary janes, with her long brown hair in two braided pigtails and her mouth wide open.
Rebecca Louise Paulson’s pumpkin orange backpack was no longer on the hook where she had left it four minutes ago.
She took a moment to consider her options. Then she whipped her body around and headed to the library.
Mrs. Harrison, the librarian, was reading to Mrs. B’s second graders. They were seated in the reading circle area that was between the biographies and the nature books. Rebecca peeked out from behind the biography shelf until Mrs. Harrison looked up to show the second grade class the illustration on the page she was reading.
Mrs. Harrison took one look at Rebecca and paused, then, handing the book to Mrs. B., said, “Mrs. B. will you pick up from here?” The other teacher nodded.
Taking Rebecca by the hand, Mrs. Harrison led her to her desk, sat Rebecca in a chair next to the desk and asked her what was wrong.
“My backpack. It’s been stolen!” Rebecca whispered. “I went to get a drink, it was there when I left, but when I went back to art class, it was gone.”
Mrs. Harrison looked at Rebecca and said, “This is quite serious my dear. I am going to walk down to Principal McFee’s office and discuss this at once. We should waste no time. However, you must head back to art before Mr. Van Dyke suspects something. Come back here during the passing period and I will update you.”
Rebecca nodded. “Thank you,” she said as she stood up.
“Off you go.”
After she pushed open the library door and walked into the hallway, she turned left and walked with her head down, counting the tiles on the floor. She turned left again and entered the art room’s hallway. Counting 14 more tiles, she looked up to see how many to go until the art room door but came to an immediate halt.
Standing at the hooks outside the door of Mr. Van Dyke’s classroom was a sixth grade boy.
And he was hanging Rebecca Louise Paulson’s backpack on the fifth hook from the left.
Rebecca smiled to herself. Two nights ago that jaguar had explained to Rebecca and her brother that perfecting their ability to stalk prey would come in handy. She couldn’t wait to tell her brother that jaguar had been right.