I’ve been writing again lately, reviewing my last November’s 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo craziness and the notes and assignments from my Queer Goldmine class and then developing stories—here’s one—by merging some of that with freewrites I’m generating at a breakneck pace for 90 minutes three times a month in the Write Like a Unicorn class I started last month. (I’ll let Minal explain about the unicorns.)
We get great writing prompts, everything from channeling your mother to dressing the dead body of the person you love most. That one was tough, but I did it. I’m not sharing it. Not today, anyhow. That was followed by a prompt where we had to give a gift to our nemesis, and give it sincerely. I don’t have enemies—really, I don’t—but I thought of someone who has caused a lot of harm in the world and wrote about him:
I can’t believe he agreed to see me. As the cab drops me at the gate to the ranch, he is coming down the garden path to greet me, and it’s just as I imagined. He is a likeable, sweet man. He extends his right hand to me, plants his left on my shoulder. He looks me right in the eye when he says, “Hello. I’m George. Welcome.”
We walk into the ranch house and he offers me a seat on the long sofa and Laura comes in with two big glasses of lemonade and sets them down on the coffee table and introduces herself to me. They really do seem nice.
“George, why don’t you show David some of your paintings?” she says.
“Oh, that reminds me,” I say. “I got something for you.”
I pull the small package from my bag, loosely wrapped in tissue paper from the store, and hand it to him.
“Thank you. You shouldn’t have.”
“It’s just a little something…”
It is a set of paintbrushes. I heard that he loves painting in his retirement, and I’ve seen some of the paintings online. They aren’t very good. But there is something about them that I like. And mostly I like how into it he is. He really should have been a painter all those years.
He is touched.
“That’s really nice. Thank you,” he says. He stands there quietly looking down at the new paintbrushes in his hand. He swirls them around on his palm, as if testing how he’ll use them. “That’s real nice.”
He looks up. His eyes are moist, like he has remembered something sad and is about to cry. I feel like crying too. I feel like giving the man a hug.