Monday, February 19, 2007


There are some people in the world that without knowing why, you become instantly connected to them. It doesn't have anything to do with blood or relation, love or any other emotion. It is a instant connection when one walks in the room, a utter fascination. That is how I felt when I met Mrs. McGill.

A quiet old woman with a white-blond bob and a fuzzy and wrinkled face, Mrs. McGill appeared to be the model of submissive dignity. When she opened her mouth, however, humorous bits of wisdom floated through the air as they drifted into our ears and settled into our brains for emphasis. An artist known through out San Antonio, her paintings are as detailed as the stories I tell. Unlike my stories, her medium knows no bound. She paints Styrofoam computer packing and turns milk cartons into castles. She paints on paper bags and canvases. She even paints on walls.

I'm not quite sure why I'm so drawn to Mrs. McGill. A part of me feels as though I need to protect her--she's such a sweet woman that seems so vulnerable and alone. Another part of me is drawn to her sense of humor, her dry wit that comes out of such a unexpected source. Another part of me feels that I understand her need to tell stories, just as I understand my need to tell the stories I create. I just know I haven't been this fascinated about anyone since I met Ben.

When I met Ben, I was fascinated about him. I had this burning curiosity to know about him--where was he from, what did he do, what was he like? Did he like puppies? Did he like trucks?
Like Mrs. McGill, his exterior completely hid what he was really like. Instead of the "popular" guy his exterior painted him as, he was a compassionate and kind person with a generous heart.

It occurred to me that the reason I am as fascinated by Mrs. McGill as I was to Ben are for the same reason: their kindness and generosity. As a prickly sort of person, I have never understood how people can give freely. Ben gave his heart and emotion freely, while Mrs. McGill gave her hopes and thoughts freely. Every time I've visited, she's loaded me up with food, conversation and art work. For an artist to give their art away is a personal thing, just as giving emotional support is a very personal thing for a man. Yet, both Ben and Mrs. McGill gave freely and easily, out of love and confidence. Awkwardly, I tried to reach out to them both in a stumbling manner. It was no surprise they both gave me the same soothing smile.

Which is why, I suppose, I shouldn't have been surprised Ben and Mrs. McGill connected. He was drawn to her paintings and colorful home, while she adored that he fixed her computer and worked in insurance like her late husband. Even as they watched them, I realized how lucky I was to have Ben in my life, and how lucky I was to have met Mrs. McGill. Their kindness inspires me to want to do better, to sometimes pull my head out of my bubble to good for others. Sometimes, I spend so much time in my own head I forget to think for others.

For these two, that was never an issue. Generosity, a talent I envied, was given as freely as oxygen. I sat and watched silently, watching the two people I was fascinated by converse easily. The whole process fascinated me.

**Don't worry Invisible Friends, I can hear you whining from here. Land of Flowered Animals to follow in a day or two. Besides, I have to keep you waiting. What fun would you have otherwise?***