I have a lot of sway-backed shelves sagging under the weight of my various anxieties and accumulated supplies–tins of sardines, bags of rice, quinoa, pasta, and popcorn. My internal ambiance closely resembles my outer surroundings—disorganized abundance within and without. For instance, you would not believe my hoard of art supplies. Found objects. Brushes. Half-used, mostly dried paint and ink. Reclamations and creations at the ready; envisioned, but unexpressed.
“Nice,” God says as she surveys the scene. “Envisioned but unexpressed. I like that.”
“I don’t,” I say. “How many recycled canvases, wooden boxes, odd-shaped bottles, and smooth rocks do I need? What I need is time. Inspiration. Discipline. Not more words, and definitely not more clutter.”
“You sound like your own mother,” God says. “I’m a little jealous. Isn’t that my job?”
“Maybe,” I say, in breezy tone. “But I don’t mind. I’m highly skilled at self-denigration and shallow despair.”
“Oh good grief,” God says. “Some days I don’t think you’ve even made my acquaintance. Shut up already.”
I’m a little startled. Who wouldn’t be? But after I get over my surprise, I feel honored. How many people does God tell to shut up? Maybe I’m special. I wait, respectfully silent. Expectant. Ready to hang on every word.
And…you guessed it. Silence. Utter silence. The kind of silence that waits on the other side of the mirror. If you’re brave enough to hold your own stare, you’ll learn a great deal from the pigment in your irises and your soulful black pupils steadily pulling the outer light in. We’re momentary shades of inherited longing, hoping for an impossible permanence.
Oh so gently, God takes away the mirrors and windows. The shelves and drawers are bare. No canned milk, no lentils, no cereal, no chocolate. My closet echoes in its emptiness. My art supplies are gone. I have nothing left. Even the walls are gone. I stand stark naked, unable to move or see.
“God,” I whisper. “What color am I now?”
“Baby blue,” God whispers back. I can see it in my mind; the delicate color of untouched sky.
“And God,” I add. “Are there any words left?”
“One,” God says. “There’s one. There’s only ever been one.”
“It’s my name, isn’t it?” I ask, stricken. Terrified. It’s the name I can’t remember. God shakes her head.
“Not now, sweet thing,” she says, handing me my T-shirt and jeans. “But someday. And when the time is right, you’ll remember.”