Angels and stories

Dear President Trump,

There is a painting hanging above the fireplace in Laura’s brother’s family room that I’ve always liked a lot. It’s an abstracted plaza scene with 25 or so figures in dresses, overcoats, and suits traversing the space rather pell-mell. Most of them are casting multiple shadows as if there are lights on two edges of the perimeter. The perspective is from high up, atop the lights and is really pretty wonky. All the figures are painted in thick brushes of charcoal and none have facial features. There are also five translucent figures in shades of glowing yellow plus one that’s see-through lavender. There’s probably more to it, but to me the piece looks like a mix of solid, rather mundane beings along with shimmery ones who might be angels, though none are so obvious as to have wings or halos.

For the time being I’m going to reference our brother-in-law (BIL) dozens of times a day and so, no surprise, I have BIL-related thoughts about the painting. I don’t think he’s an angel or that his spirit is lingering, but as I hear each new (or old) BIL story I’m reminded how everyone who knew him is carrying little pieces of him around with us. It seems to me that when we share a BIL story with one another we are making a shimmery BIL-being that’s hanging out with us in a different way than when each of us are thinking about him privately. Maybe that’s the function of stories about people, whether they are alive or dead – we are conjuring their essence and making temporary holograms to look at from different angles, to feel connected with even if only for a few minutes. I was considering whether this is the case if the stories are negative and I think even then we are staying connected, or maybe bound.

When I told my brother of BIL’s passing a few minutes ago, his first comment was what a beautiful person he was and then he told a story about him. Then he sent his love.

May we be safe to tell the stories we need to tell.
May we be happy to conjure loved ones even if they are no longer alive.
May we cultivate healthy relationships to our deceased.
May you please check yourself and not start a war.

Tracy Simpson

p.s., I want to reassure you that I’m not completely ignoring you. I know about the guilty verdicts and pleas and how you have us all on the edges of our seats wondering just how unglued you are going to come as your world topples in on you. ts

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