The chair scooped her towards the desk just as her eyes fell upon the dusty wooden mannequin hand. For longer than she realized, it had sat unnoticed, barely peeking from behind the edge of her computer. It was virtually forgotten. But today, as her eyes alit on the barely visible fingertips, she remembered the hours she had spent sketching it again and again, working to bring each sketch to life. She remembered fighting with proportions and depth, shading and line. Like the hand of a gracious usher, these sudden memories led her away from the stack of bills waiting for her attention.
As though triggered by muscle memory, she reached into the shallow drawer beside her, retrieved her sketchpad, and quickly leafed past sketches she had long stopped remembering. Their presence almost surprised her, as though to her mind these quiet creations would have magically faded invisible from sitting for so long without an audience. Lifting a pencil from the cup and an eraser from the drawer, her art teacher’s words echoed, “Loosen your grip. Let the pencil float a little lighter in your hand.”
Lean, graceful fingers quickly began to emerge on the page. Her eyes somehow focused both on the growing lines and the images dancing in the spaces between her and the sketch book. Her breathing slowed. The space between her breaths stretched longer just as if she were diving deeper and deeper beneath the ocean, activating her own mammalian diving reflex. She floated somewhere outside the hum of her daily routine in a stasis, warmed by the bright sunlight pouring in from her office window. She knew this light was what she had been missing.
In this golden glow, every dark corner, every dust bunny, every pile of priorities and procrastination felt more manageable, perhaps even more beautiful. As she softly worked the gum eraser in her left hand, she felt the light spill throughout her home, spreading itself like a golden dust on every surface, hovering in the air, waiting to fill her lungs with each breath like an inoculation to the blindness of the tunnel.
Week after week, she has pushed through day after exhausting day. It has been so long since these hard times began. She has been in this darkness for so long that she cannot fumble her way back to the days before this trouble. This lonely tunnel feels so long there is no way to know whether the exit is a mile or a meter away.
But in this moment, with the featherweight of the pencil in her hand, she finds an unexpected brightening in the path. Perhaps racing blindly to an end unknown is not, in fact, the solution. Perhaps the solution is right here, creating a light of her own.