Metal Box

When I was growing up my mom worked from home and my dad worked outside of the house. Over the course of the day mom’s attention would be elsewhere and I’d need something to pass the time.

Whether it was my parents’ influence or my natural disposition I’ll never know but the TV and I never really bonded. I grew up an avid reader, writer and self-described artist.

Birthday after holiday year after year I’d ask for art supplies to add to my growing collection. Crayons, markers, acrylic paint, watercolors, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, craypas, you name it.

Last weekend I had the urge to get a little artistic and paint my “headboard” so off to the art supply store I went. I think I will enjoy these small havens until I’m too old to move because every time I go in an art supply store I’m 4 years old again. Everything is full of wonder and I want it all.

While selecting my passable canvas and my almost-finger-paint paint (this project didn’t merit anything super nice) I passed by this and it jogged my memory:

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Passing the time in the laundry room with mom working next door every now and again I’d be allowed to work on the typewriter. Not that I was channeling Safran Foer, but I was certainly enjoying the plodding of the keys on the page. Even rarer still, I would be allowed a trip through the small, shiny metal box containing my mom’s watercolors.

The tubes were rigid, some of the paint had been hardened with time but it all smelled the same. At least 10 years old there were all kinds of colors but all in the uniform tubes with just a tease of color on the label. She would gently remind me I didn’t need a lot of paint despite my desire to glob it onto the page dryer.That box clicked open, it hard sharp corners, stating it was serious and nothing to be messed with, and the smell of paint and wet paper and metal crept out of it, invading my nostrils and tantalizing my sense of curiosity.

I had this idea if I could master the smell an the color on paper I’d be unstoppable.

My doodles only mastered my refridgerator but thatseemed to be enough. It’s these small things and this part of art I’ll never let go of — it is through art (and writing) I will be a perpetual child.

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