Wonder 36

Charlie

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I got a call from the gallery. They’d received requests for my artwork.

“We want to buy up all the canvases that the members of your club create, too,” said the gallery owner.

“You want Paint’s’ work?” I asked.

“Absolutely!”

It turns out that a critic wrote a review of my work, “Wonder Child, Wonder Artist.” Somehow, the name recognition of Rocca, thanks to the fame of Pai and meu avô, generated excitement about my artwork, and through me and Tia Berry, the work of our club.

At the same time, I was ready for a day off from the health clinic. Even though I’d just started, I felt like I needed to sort things out. How did I feel about Western medicine, actually? Was working in the medical field really what I wanted? Maybe Tia Berry was right. And Mãe was definitely right that I’d been rushing things.

I called up Eva at the clinic and explained that I needed a few personal days to get situated.

I was hoping, too, to maybe get some furniture, especially if I could sell some paintings.

I called up the club members. “Come hang out at my place on the island!” I said. “Bring your yoga mats! Bring easels!”

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It felt great to see my old friends at the cottage.

I cornered Tia Berry the first chance I got.

“You know that herbal remedy you make?” I asked her. “What do you put in it?”

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“What’s with the sudden interest?” she replied.

I explained about how when Mãe had come to the clinic sick, I hadn’t been able to figure out what medicine could cure her, but we both knew that Berry’s herbal remedy would bring healing fast.

“I’m into healing,” I said. “I don’t want to fight or battle disease through synthetic chemicals. I want to heal through natural means.”

“You know,” Tia Berry said, “you’ve started the path of becoming a traditional doctor. You should follow through with it before veering off to other approaches.”

She headed downstairs, and I was left thinking over her words.

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We painted all morning. I called the gallery owner back and let him know that it looked like we’d have about six or seven works to deliver that afternoon.

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“Great!” he said. “I’ve got buyers already lined up!”

I found Tia Berry again.

“Ok,” I said. “I think I know what you mean. Learn the standard practices first, and then start introducing the alternative methods, right?”

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“That’s what I’m thinking,” Tia Berry said. “How do you know what works best if you don’t know what all the options are? Learn your field, first, and then you can start introducing or developing other approaches.”

After everyone left, I ran the canvases over to the island gallery, used my share of the profits to pick up a few cheap items of furniture from the second-hand store, and paid a fisherman to haul the  pieces in his truck back to the cottage.

In the soft evening light, I set up another canvas. I was painting this one to hang in the health clinic. As I painted I focused all my feelings into the canvas–I want to be able to look at this painting and remember the resolve I felt that evening.

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It’s a long path I’m on. I’m just at the beginning stages of learning how to be a doctor. I’ve got so much to learn. And then, once I learn that, I want to learn more, finding ways to integrate other more natural and holistic approaches to healing.

I think my life would have been more simple if I’d become a professional musician, or if I’d let my painting career be my main focus.

But I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to settle for simple. I’ve cared more about doing what helps most. I just hope I’ve got what it takes to succeed in a field that I might not have much aptitude for. Desire, I was learning, doesn’t make talent.

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