Sunday, July 6, 2014

on friendship, and certainty, and fear

I've decided to do Sketchbook Skool, and I got a new notebook for the purpose. The paper is unfamiliar to me, as is the format. Our teacher, Danny Gregory, asked us to draw an object that had some meaning for us, and reflect on that meaning as we were drawing the object.

This pencil has been with me since I was in junior high, almost 25 years. My best friend's other best friend's mother was a buyer for the local natural foods store, and my friend had a few of these pencils, each with a different vegetable-based pun and cute fuzzy topper. I begged this one off of her. Since then I've carried it around to various places I've lived, and used it down to the length you see here. 

The other night I was walking down a stretch of street here in Rochester and I remembered walking the same stretch at another time, and seeing this pencil lying on the sidewalk. I had picked it up, amazed. This was my pencil!

I was walking with a man that I loved, and his sister. They questioned me, almost scoffing. How can you know it's the same pencil? they asked. I just know, I said. It's impossible! What explanation do you have for its being here? they said. I don't have any, I said. I just know that this is my pencil. 

It turned out it was my pencil. I'd forgotten it at the man's house several months back, and to play a trick on me he had dropped it on the sidewalk as we were walking. His sister had seen him do it. 

I think they had expected me to buckle, to say I wasn't sure it was the same. But I knew, and I felt, even in the face of complete improbability, that this was my pencil. You live that long with something and even if it is "just" a pencil, you get to know it. And you know it when you see it, even if it's lying on the sidewalk in the middle of the city.