Lately, I’ve been watching Charlie as if I’m seeing him for the first time. I wonder if my dad felt like this sometimes. I remember once, I was about Charlie’s age, and I was writing in my journal. I remember that I felt excited–I’d just discovered something. I forget what it was, but I was writing quickly, and when I looked up, I caught my dad looking at me.
“What are you doing?” I asked my dad.
“I’m seeing you,” he said. I blushed.
“I’m nothing to look at,” I answered.
“No,” said my dad. “You’re beautiful.”
I remember how bashful I felt. But as I’m looking at Charlie now, seeing how beautiful, how amazing he is, I imagine that my face looks like my dad’s did then: lost in the wonder of this person that somehow came here through me.
Charlie and Berry as so similar. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, Berry and I raised him. And Berry and I, we talk a lot. I mean, we’re always talking, always sharing our ideas and our opinions. I guess we’re opinionated. So it makes sense that Charlie would pick up our views and mindset. But it’s not just ideas that he shares with his aunt: he even has her gestures and mannerisms.
I always thought that Charlie would grow up macho and tough. I’m not sure how I got that idea. He was a bold kid, and his dad, while not coarse, by any means, is certainly very masculine. So I always imagined that Charlie would grow up to be just like him. But Charlie has such a sensitive side. He’s creative and intellectual, and he speaks articulately and eloquently, and he seems to be always thinking, always feeling.
He’s started a club. It’s called “Paint,” but it’s really a club for sensitive, creative types like him. It was his idea that they practice yoga.
“I’ve been reading about meditation,” he said. “Musicians are using it to help with performance anxiety. I think I need to add it to my toolkit.”
“It’s good for artists, too,” said Yuki. “Integration of mind and body!”
I watched Yuki talking with him. Charlie doesn’t seem to notice yet, but he draws women to him. I’m grateful he’s sensitive: at least if he breaks hearts, it won’t be intentional.
During the first club meeting, Berry and Hugo got mired in a debate about pointillism. I had to shake my head. Leave it to my sister to refute the optics theory behind it.
“It’s all dots anyway,” she said, “whether we paint them as such or not. We just can’t perceive them in any other way!”
Hugo seemed deflated.
Charlie joined them.
“It’s having a renaissance, did you say?” he asked Hugo.
“Yeah, sure,” said Hugo. “And I’m the biggest champion.”
“But why not Impressionism?” said Beryl.
“It’s not either-or, is it?” Charlie said. “Don’t we learn more when it’s both-and? And even if now, we can see what about pointillism doesn’t work, doesn’t that make it even more interesting, for we learn about how our minds put together what we see, like when we listen to music, if we know something about auditory theory, we can understand how our minds put together what we hear into a cohesive piece? Isn’t that what matters?”
Beryl and Hugo both looked at him, feeling their argument had been diffused.
Charlie smiled and continued talking with more and more enthusiasm about how we create meaning out of what we see and hear.
I thought of my dad, again, as I always seem to do whenever I reflect on having once been a daughter, and now being a mother. I remembered how my dad picked up my journal one day and held it before me. “It’s just little lines on paper,” he said, “until the human mind decodes these scratches and forms them into meaning.”