Significance of Shoes, Sanctity of Feet

Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses

Why did God ask Moses to take off his shoes on Mount Horeb (Gen.3:2-5)? God told Moses, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” There must be a reason God told him to take His shoes off; He is a holy God requiring respect, yet all He wants from His fallen creation is our love, attention and adoration.

The reason the mountain was holy was because it was a place of worship. God required Moses to take his shoes off before he spoke to him. I can assume it was a sign of respect, or to remind Moses to humble himself before the almighty God. But God did not tell Moses to kneel or prostrate himself as was most biblical person’s response to an angel or messenger of God. It must have something to do with feet. It could be as simple as feet are dusty and dirty (at the time people wore sandals), therefore representative of our sin and separation from God, but I think there must be something more to it. I can thank my Dad for bringing up this question. We both like to find hidden meanings.

My feet are very important to me as a dancer. When I spent hours a day in my pointe shoes, my feet needed a lot of care and attention off the clock to keep me going. It is easy to forget how long it took my toes to build up calluses in the place of blisters where my shoes rubbed when I danced. In classical dance, as in ballet or character, the dancer wears special shoes. In modern or contemporary dance, shoes are optional. I like to think of people in the Bible like Miriam and David who danced to worship the Lord dancing barefoot. Surely they took off their shoes to worship and praise the Lord.

My dad told me of a man he played with in a worship band who would take off his shoes when he stood to play guitar. I love this picture: it almost seems disrespectful in a church or a place of worship in our culture today, as if he was just trying to be more comfortable. But to that man he had a specific reason for taking his bare feet. When my Dad asked him why he did that, he felt he could connect to God better with his shoes off. Take away all the legalistic, religious reasons that could be applied to this scenario, and you see a man in his most honest, humble humanity, focusing on one thing in that moment: worshipping his God.

Thinking more about shoes and their function for us separating us from the ground, or nature, I wonder if this separation means more than man’s protection from nature’s harshness. Our shoes, like our clothing, cover our bodies. Recall in the Garden of Eden, God created man and woman with no clothing, and they were not ashamed. It was when sin entered the world through both Adam and Eve’s sin that they were ashamed of their nakedness and tried to cover their bodies. Once they were separated from God, He provided coverings made of animal skins for them (this was also when they were told they could eat animals). So clothing is godly, because he ordained it for us in the case of sin pervading our world, but clothing is for our protection from the world and each other. God knows everything about us; we can’t hide the feelings in our hearts or the thoughts in our minds from Him. It makes sense now that this man took off his shoes a physical sign of placing himself back in God’s care and protection. It is an act of reverence and gratefulness to the Lord, and a sign of our understanding that though our sin required we wear clothing (and shoes), we are naked and pure before God again because of his gift to us in His Son Jesus.

Y2KX

Ten years ago this time we were afraid of Y2K. I remember, as the clock struck 12 that year, I wondered what would change in the coming year. Fortunately the immediate catastrophe we feared did not happen. We almost felt foolish later that year for believing in such a hoax and thankful we didn’t buy into it like some fanatics we knew who proclaimed the world was coming to an end in 2000.

Well, here we are ten years later with new concerns and many of the same. Our economy is perhaps the biggest current concern to our well being as a nation, and the biggest threat still terrorism. Again it is about money. As we discussed debt and loan management this morning, I felt the hopelessness of the situations people can get themselves into, and reassessed my reasons for going into debt to go back to college.

My career ideas are ever changing and developing, but what I fear, and I am not alone in this, is that even if I get my self-defined dream job, I wonder if I will be able to make enough money to subsist and pay off my loans. I am lucky to have many opportunities open to me in this century, but my interests in the realm of creative arts generally do not provide a substantial paycheck. I have always said I would rather do what I love than be wealthy and hate my job, but I should question, who says I can’t make a good living doing what I love? As long as I can find a benefit for mankind with my work and it is not dishonoring to the Lord, I am free to create my own vocation that would flourish. I think that if I trust the Lord to meet my needs, seek Him in my work, and use the wisdom and knowledge I have learned to live well with people, I need not fear financial instability. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in Christ Jesus.”

While God despises the rich who think they do not need Him, we are called to be good stewards of our money. Some decisions are out of our control, like the way government aid is set up, but we are responsible for our own decisions. The problem debt and most money issues, remember, is with people, not the system. People created the system, but people are flawed. Can we be wise and follow the system? Yes. The Word says to not be in bondage to any man (or anything) but to God. In Romans 13:7-8 Paul gives us this advice: “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

God requires one thing: that we love him in return. If we love Him, Jesus says, “then keep my commandments”. Continuing in Romans 13:9, Paul sums up what Jesus told the people in the gospels: The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Where ART thou?

25 year!

mom and I backstage

Today I wandered up to the shop: what used to be our laundry room/schoolhouse, it is now my mom’s art studio, lined with so many bookshelves, and my dad’s shop in the attached three car garage. It’s quite a funny set up, I will admit; it describes my family and upbringing well. An isolated building for inventions and such, it is not more than a couple hundred yards from our house, among juniper trees and livestock corrals on our property. In the shop we all have left our scattered ideas and often unfinished projects. I would like to change that trend and finish all that I start. The more projects I can bring to completion or ideas to realization the better.

I was looking for some construction paper and beads to make Christmas cards. I got the urge to make something in what seems like years since I’ve had time. It’s nice to not have a schedule or schoolwork to hold to. When it was our school room/craft room the place was bursting with paper, clay, books, and various craft supplies. Now the shop is littered with mom’s paintings and sketches, remains of leather craft projects she taught the 4-H kids, and Elizabeth’s Chinese cut out clippings. I used to spend hours up there in that shop, late into the night, whether it was drawing paper dolls, building my dollhouse(which is yet finished), ceramics, sewing stuffed dolls and clothes for them, or beading jewelry, I was constantly on some creative project. Now in my twenties, I wonder, what happened to me? I don’t find time to let my creative juices flow; it’s no wonder I feel discontent and disoriented! I need that outlet. Yes, it was partly filled by my devotion to countless hours of dance, but now that that’s not my life anymore, where am I going to fill that need? While I may be no conventional artist, I am an artist nonetheless, and this artist needs to be freed. I wondered how I found myself writing fiction while I am pursuing an English degree. It goes to show has to come out somewhere!

Well, I didn’t find any construction paper, but I did find other interests among the catastrophe inside that shop. I found a book from the 1960’s or 70’s titled “Art and Craft”. Original. The first and largest section is called “Teaching Art”. It struck home. While I am I the midst of sorting out how I can adequately use my gifts, I know that I want to support those who want to keep our art forms alive. I want to support them by bringing awareness, perhaps through journalism, or by being an inspired artist, writer or performer. While I do not feel called to be a teacher, I know there is a need to keep art alive in our education systems. It is an invaluable tool for teaching culture, history, understanding, among other things. That book impressed upon me the need to support teachers in all the art forms. I am looking forward to seeing what God will do with all the talented young artists I know today. What better way to reach this hurting and broken world when they crave beauty, entertainment and love?

I wish I could split my days between an art museum or dancing and performing. Oh, and spending time outside in the great outdoors too. These things are good in themselves, but I’m in conflict with my inner artist. I wonder why, if God has given me a love for performing arts, in particular ballet, would he not want me to continue using it? Sometimes I don’t want to believe Christians who try to console me by saying “it must be God’s will that you move on.” Perhaps, but I know those are people who are not artists and do not respect dance. I believe it is a lie that artists are all self-absorbed, heathen lunatics. I think one of the best ways to express our admiration and gratitude to the Lord is through different types of arts and dance and music. The arts are very important to Him. Christians should be among the first to keep art alive.

While dance is changing to adapt to modern audiences tastes: classical ballet to more contemporary exploration of themes, we need be careful we don’t lose that specific technical performing art that has made such an impact on the culture of America as well as dancers themselves. The quality does not have to be sacrificed for the content. For me, performing is one of the best feelings in the world, but it is not just for me; it is about portraying something or telling a story for the audience. Now what that something is I believe is what comes forth from each of us as artists and Christians, whether we do an oil painting, architecture sketch, take photographs, play violin or sing opera. It is the Holy Spirit within us that gives us freedom to use our creative talents because they were given to be used by Him in us. If he endowed some of us with such special creative tendencies and talents, we must be in the wrong to deny them. I would desire to see Christian artists flourish and stand up for the Lord. I have seen examples of this, but quality “Christian dance companies” are rare. I don’t think we necessarily have to be involved in a Christian organization to make an impact for the Lord in this hungry world.

Regardless of whether or not every artist is called to use that directly in ministry, we are fulfilling God’s command to love Him and to love others, for the purpose of furthering His kingdom. Just as each individual part of the body has to work for the body to work, all the artists need to be creating and doing their work in order for the whole body of believers to be functioning the best. Beside art’s expressive commodities for the artist and often to engage the viewer or audience as well, art has a transcendent quality for promoting peace and good will among men. Often ancient peace treaties were marked with the giving of gifts. As for performing arts, they can bring up a topic or appeal to universal emotions that words often cannot express. The topic of the performance does not necessarily have to be some religious matter, likewise with music or dance, but the common thread the performers have with humanity allow for open up dialogue with the audience, to get them to consider or search harder for something… I can’t help but wonder how an artist’s work could not ultimately reflect God’s free gift of love and forgiveness to us. Perhaps God’s love is seen or stirred up in us through a photograph of the hungry or homeless, the swell of the piano, or the fire of the flamenco dancer’s skirt.

Join me on this search for my purpose as an artist: sometimes struggle, confusion, and change of plans would discourage. I feel that I have so much beauty and love to offer through my talents, but I am in stuck and immobile because of my own limitations. I tell myself there are other things that need fixing first before I can indulge in my talents again. Yet I know the parable of the talents and how the master was pleased with the one who actively his talents and not with the one who went and hid the talents. Talents were coins the, of course, but I have always applied this parable to natural talents. I have been given a lot, but I run the risk of complacency if I don’t soon find how I can invest them in the future. I am tired of hiding them under what is “acceptable” or easier, like working and going to school. I have come to this acknowledgment several times: If I was made to dance, and I try to bargain with the Lord to do something else, I may be successful, but I don’t think I will be happy.

Entering the dance world again is something I question because of past hurt and because frankly, it would take a miracle of hard work and dedication. I have asked the Lord if I am called to do something else now with my life, to take away that desire to dance, because the longing is so great. I don’t know why I insist on making myself suffer by not allowing me to do the thing I love. It is safer and easier to stand by. I doubt myself, as I always have. I don’t look at past accomplishments and say, “Rebecca, you are a good dancer.” There are so many uncertain in the dance world that make me wonder if I could ever live that life again. If I do dance professionally again, or choreograph, it will look different than I ever imagined. It will have to be all in, all involved, but not all consuming.

Through my struggles and roadblocks I have found the most important truth: My identity is in Christ. No, it is not in being a dance, or an artist, or a writer, or even a sister, mother, lover, friend. It is in Christ. All those other identities are included but are secondary. So I will be pleased and content with wherever the Lord places me. I believe He hears my heart’s cries, and will answer them in His perfect time. All I can do is pray and trust Him, and seek out opportunities and pursue them as they come.

When I return to Columbia I would love to pick up a job at an art gallery, if the Arts Institute will not have me as a full-time intern. Starbucks has been good for me for many reasons, but I think I need to surround myself with what I love and want to do. I want nothing more than to not be lonely and spend my time creating, and I would prefer that to be mainly dance. This was good. I know where I stand. I am going to England for half a year to gain what I can learn there from the friends I will make and people I will meet, and perspective from a different culture, but also for an idea of what the arts need and what I can offer.

Today I wandered up to the shop: what used to be our laundry room/schoolhouse, it is now my mom’s art studio, lined with so many bookshelves, and my dad’s shop in the attached three car garage. It’s quite a funny set up, I will admit; it describes my family and upbringing well. An isolated building for inventions and such, it is not more than a couple hundred yards from our house, among juniper trees and livestock corrals on our property. In the shop we all have left our scattered ideas and often unfinished projects. I would like to change that trend and finish all that I start. The more projects I can bring to completion or ideas to realization the better.

I was looking for some construction paper and beads to make Christmas cards. I got the urge to make something in what seems like years since I’ve had time. It’s nice to not have a schedule or schoolwork to hold to. When it was our school room/craft room the place was bursting with paper, clay, books, and various craft supplies. Now the shop is littered with mom’s paintings and sketches, remains of leather craft projects she taught the 4-H kids, and Elizabeth’s Chinese cut out clippings. I used to spend hours up there in that shop, late into the night, whether it was drawing paper dolls, building my dollhouse(which is yet finished), ceramics, sewing stuffed dolls and clothes for them, or beading jewelry, I was constantly on some creative project. Now in my twenties, I wonder, what happened to me? I don’t find time to let my creative juices flow; it’s no wonder I feel discontent and disoriented! I need that outlet. Yes, it was partly filled by my devotion to countless hours of dance, but now that that’s not my life anymore, where am I going to fill that need? While I may be no conventional artist, I am an artist nonetheless, and this artist needs to be freed. I wondered how I found myself writing fiction while I am pursuing an English degree. It goes to show has to come out somewhere!

Well, I didn’t find any construction paper, but I did find other interests among the catastrophe inside that shop. I found a book from the 1960’s or 70’s titled “Art and Craft”. Original. The first and largest section is called “Teaching Art”. It struck home. While I am I the midst of sorting out how I can adequately use my gifts, I know that I want to support those who want to keep our art forms alive. I want to support them by bringing awareness, perhaps through journalism, or by being an inspired artist, writer or performer. While I do not feel called to be a teacher, I know there is a need to keep art alive in our education systems. It is an invaluable tool for teaching culture, history, understanding, among other things. That book impressed upon me the need to support teachers in all the art forms. I am looking forward to seeing what God will do with all the talented young artists I know today. What better way to reach this hurting and broken world when they crave beauty, entertainment and love?

I wish I could split my days between an art museum or dancing and performing. Oh, and spending time outside in the great outdoors too. These things are good in themselves, but I’m in conflict with my inner artist. I wonder why, if God has given me a love for performing arts, in particular ballet, would he not want me to continue using it? Sometimes I don’t want to believe Christians who try to console me by saying “it must be God’s will that you move on.” Perhaps, but I know those are people who are not artists and do not respect dance. I believe it is a lie that artists are all self-absorbed, heathen lunatics. I think one of the best ways to express our admiration and gratitude to the Lord is through different types of arts and dance and music.

The arts are very important to Him. Christians should be among the first to keep art alive. While dance is changing to adapt to modern audiences tastes: classical ballet to more contemporary exploration of themes, we need be careful we don’t lose that specific technical performing art that has made such an impact on the culture of America as well as dancers themselves. Performing can be the best feeling in the word: willingly give yourself to the audience to portray something. Now what that something is I believe is what comes forth from each of us as artists and Christians, whether we do an oil painting, architecture sketch, take photographs, play violin or sing opera. It is the Holy Spirit within us that gives us freedom to use our creative talents because they were given to be used by Him in us. If he endowed some of us with such special creative tendencies and talents, we must be in the wrong to deny them. I would desire to see Christian artists flourish and stand up for the Lord. I have seen examples of this, but quality “Christian dance companies” are rare. I don’t think we necessarily have to be involved in a Christian organization to make an impact for the Lord in this hungry world.

Regardless of whether or not every artist is called to use that directly in ministry, we are fulfilling God’s command to love Him and to love others, for the purpose of furthering His kingdom. Just as each individual part of the body has to work for the body to work, all the artists need to be creating and doing their work in order for the whole body of believers to be functioning the best. Beside art’s expressive commodities for the artist and often to engage the viewer or audience as well, art has a transcendent quality for promoting peace and good will among men. Often ancient peace treaties were marked with the giving of gifts. As for performing arts, they can bring up a topic or appeal to universal emotions that words often cannot express. The topic of the performance does not necessarily have to be some religious matter, likewise with music or dance, but the common thread the performers have with humanity allow for open up dialogue with the audience, to get them to consider or search harder for something… I can’t help but wonder how an artist’s work could not ultimately reflect God’s free gift of love and forgiveness to us. Perhaps God’s love is seen or stirred up in us through a photograph of the hungry or homeless, the swell of the piano, or the fire of the flamenco dancer’s skirt.

Join me on this search for my purpose as an artist: sometimes struggle, confusion, and change of plans would discourage. I feel that I have so much beauty and love to offer through my talents, but I am in a state of complacency. I tell myself there are other things that need fixing first before I can indulge in my talents again. Yet I know the parable of the talents and how the master was pleased with the one who actively his talents and not with the one who went and hid the talents. Talents were coins the, of course, but I have always applied this parable to natural talents. I have been given a lot; how will I invest them in the future? I am tired of hiding them under what is “acceptable” or easier, like working and going to school. I have come to this acknowledgment several times: If I was made to dance, and I try to bargain with the Lord to do something else, I may be successful, but I don’t think I will be happy. Entering the dance world again is something I question because of past hurt and because frankly, it would take a miracle of hard work and dedication. I have asked the Lord if I am called to do something else now with my life, to take away that desire to dance, because the longing is so great. I don’t know why I insist on making myself suffer by not allowing me to do the thing I love. It is safer and easier to stand by. I doubt myself, as I always have. I don’t look at past accomplishments and say, “Rebecca, you are a good dancer.” There are so many uncertain in the dance world that make me wonder if I could ever live that life again. If I do dance professionally again, or choreograph, it will look different than I ever imagined. It will have to be all in, all involved, but not all consuming.

Through my struggles and roadblocks I have found the most important truth: My identity is in Christ. No, it is not in being a dance, or an artist, or a writer, or even a sister, mother, lover, friend. It is in Christ. All those other identities are included but are secondary. So I will be pleased and content with wherever the Lord places me. I believe He hears my heart’s cries, and will answer them in His perfect time. All I can do is pray and trust Him, and seek out opportunities and pursue them as they come.

When I return to Columbia I would love to pick up a job at an art gallery, if the Arts Institute will not have me as a full-time intern. Starbucks has been good for me for many reasons, but I think I need to surround myself with what I love and want to do. I want nothing more than to not be lonely and spend my time creating, and I would prefer that to be mainly dance. This was good. I know where I stand. I am going to England for half a year to gain what I can learn there from the friends I will make and people I will meet, and perspective from a different culture, but also for an idea of what the arts need and what I can offer.

My God

Here I am, sitting in the Dallas airport on my way home, thinking over a conversation I had recently with Matt. I am struck by the thought that I don’t expect God to work miracles in my life. I want to see miracles in other’s lives, and I pray for them, and I want miracles in my life, but I don’t ask God for them. Why don’t I believe God is big enough? That is a scary thought. My God is big enough to work miracles. This is the time of year we remember His greatest miracle of all – sending his Son into this world as a baby to grow up and live a perfect life and die for the world, for us. Why? Because He loved us. So why won’t I believe that God wants to do miracles in me if He loves me so much He died for me? God, glorify yourself in me. Give me faith to move mountains, because my faith is weak.

I am thrilled to get to go back home to New Mexico and see my sister perform in Christmas Joy. It will be her last year, this 25th anniversary of the show. It will be difficult to tell all the girls I grew up with and spent all day in rehearsals with that I am not dancing now. I fear their disappointment or someone’s, but I think it is really my own, not theirs. My last year performing in Christmas Joy was the 20th anniversary, before I moved to study at Boston Ballet. I thought that I would be doing something much different now. I imagined myself more “successful” but my definition of success was something very narrow-minded. I am reminded again and again that my identity is not in my career or success, but in the Lord. Rebecca, get over yourself! If I have learned anything, this is what God has been teaching me these last couple years. I have had to go through distress and turmoil to learn it. I wonder if God will return my dancing to me. It would take a miracle. I think I need to start praying for and expecting miracles. If that is not the miracle He wants for me, then God, change my heart!

Flash Fiction, Fast Forward, Finals and Freaking Out!

As my last days in Columbia quickly come to a close, I am reminded of all the wonderful friends God has blessed me with here. I didn’t take much time to reflect on what I was thankful for during Thanksgiving – my friends are a huge part. The scary thing is how reluctant I am to leave Columbia, and it is because I have such good community and committed friends here that I have never allowed myself to have before. This town that I did not want to like to spend longer than 6 months in has become my home. I have this fantastical idea I will leave and not come back, but I will. There are too many people here that I love. Besides, I am leaving a lot of my belongings here.

I was stressed out about packing and moving out of my apartment the same time as finals and getting all my documents together for my visa, but I have just been making lists and checking things off each day to keep me on track. That or I write on my hands. I already have begun to divide my things up and give them away. I’ll try not to spread them out too much. Julie reminds me that I will be coming back to finish school so I should store things I will need, but I just want to get rid of it all. It feels good. I don’t often take time to cleanout all my belongings or sort through what I don’t need, so moving is an excellent time to do that. I haven’t lived in one place longer than a year and a half, and I am afraid of what might if I do. Will I become a packrat?

Surprisingly I have not been a huge ball of stress during this time. I have to stay focused on the tasks ahead to get them done. When I am not focusing, I get distracted thinking about the other sex and trying to keep my mind from overanalyzing everything. I have tried to reason that it is ok to let a guy know what I want, and it is, but it’s not ok to pursue him. I just keep asking God to let things work out if they are supposed to and in His timing. I have to resist trying to make something happen. That’s not my job. Besides, I am leaving, right?

I keep telling everyone, “I’m leaving.” I even held a going away party to see everyone. We had a great turn-out. You know how those face book events go – only one-third to half of the people who said they would come actually come, but nearly everyone I wanted to see came. I felt so loved! I think it has not hit me I am leaving; telling people is the way I try to make myself believe it but it doesn’t seem to be working. At the same time I am putting so much into this new place and new adventure that if something doesn’t work out I will be severely disappointed. That’s not the problem, however; I have been disappointed and had my plans changed many times, that is how I am convinced God grows me. The problem is my pride. If for some reason going to England doesn’t work out I have provided for a backup plan (this is actually the backup plan for a backup plan for a backup plan). I don’t like having my plans changed, and that is why God seems to let that happen to me a lot. Not that God is in any way vicious like that. He knows what is best for us and what will make us grow and mature. I have had to trust him in this mess that is my life. He has brought good out of it in places I least expected. Some of my biggest blessings have been at the coffee shop I began to work at as my second job. Well, it became my only job after awhile. I had two other jobs in Columbia that I specialized in – dance and teaching Pilates. I have neither now and neither is my identity. It is a loss to me, but I found that that was not Rebecca. Rebecca may love doing those things, but I am not defined by my job or career. I am defined by the spirit of the living God that lives inside me.

In his graciousness, he allowed me to also work with the Arts Institute this semester so I have been involved in the world of creativity. The first creative writing class I took with Elise Blackwell this year sparked a flame of interest in writing as a profession, or at least a pastime. I thought only of criticism in print journalism before as a way to coordinate writing and dance, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing fiction. I expect to take some advanced writing classes when I return from England and enter some fiction contests. The great thing about fiction is there is not set category. I can use my personal experiences without writing a biography. I have had a desire to write something that would be beneficial to dancers and other artists one day. I suppose by then I will have a large following on my blog and archived these posts.

I have more packing to do, but I am proud of myself for getting this much done already. I have one more exam before heading home for reunion and family and holidays. The snowy mountains of my parent’s home in New Mexico will make me feel like it is really Christmastime. Vivaldi is urging me on to get the rest of my boxes to the post office. He is playing on my Pandora station. I told Hamza and Conrad I would have dance party with them at work tomorrow morning before it gets light. Strobe lights! Not really. But the dance party is happening! Julie and I had one a few weeks ago. Julie, I will miss the “Julie dance” and remember the time we helped Nate “find his hips”? Carolanne and I did Irish clogging and Russian dance on my porch. No, we weren’t sleeping on it this time. Someone taped Joel and I doing the Charlie Brown dance at my party, unfortunately. I have control over it, so it won’t end up in public domain. Yesterday I had to repeat it just for the girls I worked with. I think the rest of the Starbucks staff is ready to be rid of the girl who’s always doing a jig behind the counter or taking about unicorns and butterflies and making up stories about knights joisting and midget jesters jesting!

 

Flash Fiction1

“Do you want to see the rest of my art work?” he asks her. “Yes.” She gets excited and follows him into the next room of the gallery. “Why do you show it in here?” She asks. “Because the light is better for my art in here. It might get destroyed if I hung it anywhere else.” The walls are covered in green foliage. She touches it and the leaves feel real. A lady bug leaps onto her arm. Its wings flutter open then it took flight. “The ladies love my work,” he says as he reaches for her arm. They follow the lady bug with their eyes until it lands on a flower on the opposite wall. “That one is gorgeous,” she said, pointing to the hyacinth. “I drew that one for you,” he says. He leed her to the flower and plucks it for her. “It looks nice in your hair.” He plants it behind her ear then gazes at her. “Your eyes, they’re violet too,” he says. And they are; all she can see now is a field of violets surrounding them. He stares back hard at the violets until they lift off their stalks and fly into a swarm of butterflies around them. These are my ladies, he says as he nods to the butterflies. They nod their heads back to him then bow to her. The two of them are standing in the middle of the field facing each other, hand in hand, all the butterflies bowing down to them, all around them. “Long live the queen,” they whistle. The flower had braided itself into a wreath on her head. He kneels before her too, all of them looking at her. She spins around to see them from all directions, but all she can see is violet butterflies, then violet, then she is violet. He dots her eyes with the paint brush and steps away to admire his work. “Perfect, my flower,” he says and turns to walk out of the gallery with the lady bug flying after him.