Tag: asha

feeling like an artist again

This weekend we had an event at the studio.  My business sign went back up and we compensated for the fact that the studio is still in the chaos of change by putting up a tent and selling our wares from the front yard.  This involved both my art, and the art of my roommates – check out their work at Neko-Jin Designs and The Common Shaman.   (Their work is on the right and I can attest to the quality.  The jewelry is powerfully lovely and those pillows are freaking huggable.)

The experience has left me exhausted and in a lot of pain, but for the first time in ages I feel anchored in what I do – I am a maker to my core.  During the first day, Friday, I was able to make 60 wee watercolors and pen and inks. Although, insomnia did help with that glut of drawings.  Yesterday, I made about five slightly larger pen and inks.  Today, I was a poet.

Sitting in the sun with nothing to do other than create and sell art was a joy.

A lot of locals came by, pleased that I am not either dead or moved out of the area.  It let me know how far I have hunkered down during this past two years.  Oh, but the change in my circumstances brings up such optimism.  Life has gotten better.

This time in 2015, I could not move my left arm much at all, I could not throw, I lost nearly all my income for the full year. Surgery on the shoulder in October 2015, then a hysterectomy in February 2016.  But by June of that year, things began to change.

Even now, I am still struggling – my hips need to be replaced, I am in a cauldron of pain – and yet, I am still making art.  Somehow, I have survived all of the crap that came my way.  Even heartbroken, I made art.  Even when I can barely walk,  I am making and selling art.  I am working as hard as I can to keep my house and have been grounding myself in faith that I can do it.  There have been days that I had to dig deeper within for strength than I thought I went, but it worked!

I continue forward with both my regular job and the art that is my vocation.   The first has not dented my passion for the second.

I am so grateful for the friends who saw me through this weekend.  Perhaps I have been whining too much in these blogs, because what I should be shouting from the rooftops is how wonderful life can be when you have friends that have your back.  To be able to rely on people and know that they will be there for me, that is a priceless, beautiful thing.  They set up the tent, set up the products and then tore them down in the evening, three days in a row, all with out a stitch of help from me because I could not move any of those things. What a blessing it is to have people who do not just share your dreams but are willing to put their shoulders into fulfilling them.  This is a case of actions speaking so loudly, all words were drowned out.  Without their kindness, none of this could have been done.

Basically, this is a blog of thanks.  I am grounded in what I do again, which will help all things – the physical struggle, this financial difficulty, my regular job, my art.  If you were here, you would be able to see my smile, hear my loud, outrageous laugh and listen to me sing to my cats about the glories of life.

I have “all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well” tattooed on my arm. Too often, I need the reminder. But, today, I did not read it.  Indeed, I did not even glance at it.  The next few months are going to be very hard, financially and physically, but good friends are teaching me that I can trust in the universe enough to reach out.  I am asking for help and receiving kindness.

This is the miracle of my life.

Because, I am talking about asking for help, I am compelled to say: you can make me $3 closer to being able to sustain myself while I am recuperating from surgery. My end of that deal will be to keep making art, even when I am flat on my ass in bed.

But for now, let not think of what could go wrong.  Instead, let’s sing songs of joy and thanksgiving!

Thank you

Everything in my life is changing and i don’t know quite where it will end up.

But, i am trying again. That, in so many ways, is all that matters.

Art is for sale. Baby steps. My roommates and i have been talking about the potentials for the studio.  The fact that this house is filled with creativity, laughter, hard work and music leaves me overjoyed.

Even so, pain remains.  i regularly get overwhelmed with what i need to do, the art i want to make, the words that flow from me.  Today, i have been struggling hard against the feeling of powerlessness – that i am howling into the void. As i sat thinking about it, i realized the perfect thing to share.  This poem is in my collection New Vocabularies of Love.

And the sentiment has never been more needed in my life than right now.

love and compassion

Survival. 

It is a sign of strength to survive hardship, without a doubt, and the last three years have thrown enough hardship in my way that I am proud to have moved through it all and found myself at this moment of promise and change.

However, I am exhausted. Every day, I struggle with pain and fatigue to the point that it has made following my passions – particularly as an artist and writer – feel beyond my reach.  While I make art, releasing it into the wild has demanded more than I had to give.  Add on to that the chaos that we all face, living in this time of change and turmoil, and it has been everything I could do to survive.

Lately, my roommates have been talking about how we all need to stop surviving and start thriving, which is a marvelous ideal and one I enthusiastically endorse. Only, I have quietly wondered how.  How can I be in the position I am financially, spiritually, physically, and yet shift my weight away from survival and into transcendence?

Finally, it occurred to me as I was driving home this evening how to accomplish such a thing for myself, even though I am still treading water, struggling to stay afloat.  

There have been a few times over the past few weeks, in the middle of massive change, heartache and new beginnings, that I could feel this inner core of steel – like a tempered sword – deep within my being. Each time it appeared, I was able to act with compassion and kindness because I knew that I could flex and bend but would not break. At first, I thought they were random miracles, but this is part of something deeply significant.  Today, after meeting another friend for dinner and running into another at the grocery store, I was awash in love, both mine for them and theirs for me.  As I drove, I felt taller, straighter, stronger and could sense that flexible, shining, unbreakable steel. 

That was the epiphany: love was the way to shift from feeling overwhelmed and unprepared to feeling like I am already thriving.  It might be as simple as throwing compassion out, whether or not it is returned.  Harder, but still vital, will be turning the same inward, especially if I am in a terrible place emotionally.

For years, my art has an act of love.  Love for creating, love for the poems and stories and images that flow out of me, a very real sensation of using them as vehicles for sending love into the world.  As my art and I have grown, I have also realized the role of kindness within the creation of anything.  All art goes through an ugly stage – maybe all personal development too? – and patience and kindness are required to get to the final point, whether it be a mess or a masterpiece. 

So, here I am, again.  All of the sputtering false starts from this time of struggle have left me with an opportunity for a new beginning.

For three years, arguably much more, I have been surviving.  Like a turtle, I hid under my shell, for protection from a world that can feel so terrifying and capricious.  The world has not changed, but I have reached my personal rubicon.  I have stood up, taller than I ever thought I could be.

I need to turn to love, to kindness and to compassion – both with myself and others.  I will keep offering up this art that I make, in open hands, because that is the first step in moving forward.  This is the unfolding of beginnings, the first step in a journey of change.

 

Halloween Fiction: the sculptor: 11 of 11

*** part: 1234567 8 9 10***

Thomas started driving to their old apartment out of habit on the way home, so it took him twice as long to get to the new house as it should have.  He stopped for dinner on the way, comforting himself by thinking about Violet’s unanticipated superstitions, by her willingness to believe Moira’s fiction.  It made him feel better about himself, at least he had not been trapped into actually believing it despite what happened. During the hallucination it felt real, but honestly, self torture althe had more rationality than that.  As long as he kept reminding himself of the logical explanations – like those terrible neighbors playing jokes on him – he was on solid ground.  He only got as far as feeling like he could understand Moira’s madness, before Violet’s incomprehensible credulity acted like cold water washing over his psyche.  He grounded himself in his sanity.

When he got home, he was exhausted.  He locked the door, threw his coat down on the couch and got a cup of water.  Then, he went to the bedroom barely looking at the door to Moira’s unused study.  It was still closed and locked, with the cupboard inside of it, all the sculptures trapped behind that set of closed and locked doors.  He was doubly safe. He had nothing to fear, no reason to be anxious. After locking the bedroom doors behind him, he told himself he was invulnerable.  The new bedroom was blissfully soothing, too, all grays and muted blues.  Once inside it, he started to relax.  Sipping his water, he decided that he should just let himself fall asleep.  There was no point in torturing himself by reading or watching tv.

Slowly he stripped and climbed into bed.  Every muscle was sore from the move and the nights of restless agitation.  Each atom of his body was begging for restoration.  He entered the darkness of sleep before he had finished pulling the covers over him.

Sometime during the night, a sharp pain in his right shoulder pulled him unwillingly out of his slumber.  The pain had spread to his right side before his eyes could focus in front of him.

Instantly, terror overcame him as he looked into the eyes of viciousness standing tall upon his chest, blade high above his head ready to bear down.  Just behind viciousness, struggling on the bed, he saw anger, being restrained by compassion, but still able to laugh and say, ‘I told you we’d kill you, you son-of-a-bitch.’

In the moment before viciousness could bring down his weapon, Thomas thought it was ironic that he was being murdered by a delusion.  How could her madness have been telling the truth? How could a fantasy cut with such merciless rage? Only, now it was too late for him to ask – his thoughts flowed out of him with his blood.  His logic could not help either Moira or himself.

Halloween Fiction: the sculptor: 10 of 11

*** part: 1234567 8 9***

Violet was waiting for him just outside the door.  She pulled him out of Moira’s earshot and pushed him into an office used by the doctors for private interviews, before she shook her head,  “Thomas, why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?”  She sounded deeply upset, “You have my home number, you should have called me immediately, or just come to my house.”

“I was tired,” he stared at the floor as he spoke,luz morgan monroe ashamed of himself.  Somehow, he felt weak for having been so afraid of very things he had been telling his wife were delusions for over a year, “I’ve been thinking so much about what Moira imagined, I guess I started to hallucinate the same thing.”

Her eyes narrowed and her voice grew colder as Violet responded, “That has always been your greatest fault, Thomas.” he looked at her startled, she had never sounded so judgmental before, “You have such a small view of what’s real.”

“What do you mean?” he could not understand what she was saying to him.

“Moira,” she thrust her hand down the hall, toward his sleeping wife, “was a strong, vital woman before all of this started to happen.  You taught me that with all the stories you shared.  I feel like I know that twenty year old woman you described, as well as I know Moira now.” Violet paced the floor of the small office violently, “I refuse to believe that she could fall into such a state for so long, being so afraid, of nothing.  Something happened to that woman, I believe it.”  She stopped when she was facing Thomas, thumping her hand over her heart for emphasis.

“You don’t believe that her sculptures really came to life?” Thomas sounded sarcastic, incredulous that this intelligent, professional woman could succumb to such unbelievable things.

“I can’t say that I don’t.”  Violet said strongly, staring into Thomas’ eyes defiantly, “I’ve heard Moira scream about them too many times, with too much conviction in her voice, in her fears, to doubt her.”  She poked Thomas’ chest so potently that he backed away from her, “Listen to what she said, there is something in that.  She spent all morning today telling me about what happened.  Hours and hours of terror poured out of that woman.  I don’t believe that she did it all to herself, because of some psychosis.”

“Violet,”  Thomas put his hands on her shoulders, “you know that I adore you. You have been like an angel in my life. But you can’t say this.” She rolled her eyes as he spoke, “Maybe you’ve become too emotionally attached to Moira,…”

“Maybe,”  she scolded Thomas, “you’ve been too detached.”

Thomas felt a wave of guilt wash over him.  Never before had Violet criticized his relationship with Moira, his lapses of attention.  It was too much for him to hear.  He turned away from her and grabbed the door.  “I should go home.”

“I’m sorry.” Violet sounded sincere, but Thomas could not make himself turn around to look into those eyes, “I know you love her.  But, maybe, you should trust her a little more.  That might be the key to helping her.”  Thomas started into the hallway, when he felt a hand on his arm.  Finally, he looked back at Violet to see her face grave with concern.  “Thomas, call me if anything happens.  Anything.  Even if you just feel uncomfortable.  I’ll be there in an few minutes, your new house is close to me.  If you want to stay at my place, you know you’re welcome to.”

“Thank you for caring about her so much,”  Thomas rumbled, “I should get going.”

He was walking toward the elevators when he heard Violet call out, “Take care of yourself, Thomas.”

Halloween Fiction: the sculptor: 9 of 11

*** part: 1234567 8***

“Thomas, is that you?”  Moira nearly knocked over her tray, reaching out to him.

Thomas ran to her and pushed it out of the way.  He gathered her up in his arms, rumbling, “Moira, I love you.  I love you so much.” Violet closed the door behind quietly behind him, to give them time alone together as she always did.

contentment4“It is you!”  For a moment Moira’s voice was like a child’s, excited and high.  She hugged him tightly, then pulled back to look at his face, “You’ve changed.  You’ve lost a lot of weight.”

“So have you.” He caressed her cheek lovingly, tears welling up in his eyes, “It’s been a long time since I’ve heard your voice.”

Panic crossed over her face for a moment, as she glanced around her, “I don’t think they’ll hear me from in here.”  She started to shake, “I don’t think they can get in here.”

Thomas held her close, stroking her hair. Even given the experience he had had over the weekend, he still had an impulse to correct her.  He stifled it, murmuring instead, “No, they can’t.  They can’t hear you, they can’t get in here.”

Moira relaxed into his arms and let him comfort her.  Pushing away again, she looked at Thomas with relief, “Violet said that she would keep them out.”

Thomas nodded, “She would do anything to keep you safe, she cares for you very much.”

Smiling shyly, Moira glanced toward the door where Violet had last been, “I know.  I don’t know why, but I know she cares.”  Her eyes unfocused as she gazed into nothingness.  Thomas’ heart began to fall, as he thought she had lost herself again.  His head drooped with fearful sorrow, when she tapped his shoulder, and spoke to him, her voice skeptical, “Thomas, you said they couldn’t get in.”

“They can’t.” he tried to sound reassuring, reaching out to touch her cheek again, “There is no way they could travel this distance, get through all these doors.”

“But before you said that they weren’t real.”  She squinted at him, working to concentrate, like she was putting the pieces of a puzzle together.  “You always insisted they weren’t real.”

Thomas stammered.  He had thought he would be talking to her sedated, motionless form.  Over the weekend as he unpacked things, half-listening to Patrick’s endless babbling, he worked out an entire speech of apology that he would address to her.  While he could not tell her about his dream, he could not lie to her either. Suddenly her delusions seemed so much more plausible.  He understood how she got that way. But facing her, talking to her, he lost all his words. Moira’s recovery shocked him too much to be creative.  With her awake, coherent, it was an different matter, he did not want to feed her fear, her madness, by admitting he had encountered them, too.  “Um,”  he did not know what to say, he just wrapped his hands about hers.

She started to pat his hand, waiting for an answer, when she felt the bandages on his hands.  Thomas had forgotten about the cuts.  “What happened to you?” She sounded so concerned.  Finally, he thought, she’s coming out of herself.

“I hurt myself packing.”  Thomas rushed to say it, his voice too forceful.  When he saw Moira’s eyes narrow he continued on, trying to distract her.  “I bought a house for us, its a beautiful place, I can’t wait for you to see it. You have an enormous studio, with so much light. I’d brought you pictures the last time I was here, but you were too sleepy to see them…”

“What were you packing when you hurt yourself?”  There was an edge of hysteria in her question, she had begun shaking with fear.

Thomas drew her close again, stroking her hair, unable to decide what he should tell her.  He mumbled an “I’m sorry,” which made her tremble more.

“Did they hurt you?”  She began weeping into his shoulder, “I was always afraid that they would strike out at you if they can’t get to me…”

He just held her, in silence, trying to give her his strength.

There was a knock at the door, just before Violet swooped in with three servings of Jell-O and three small plastic cups filled with ginger ale.  “I thought we should celebrate, so I raided the kitchen…”  her sing-song paused when she saw Moira’s tears, “Now what’s going on here people?” she scolded, “You’re supposed to be happy today!”

“They’ve gone after Thomas,: Moira wailed pushing Thomas away from her and grabbing his wrists, “just look at his hands.” She exposed the wounds for Violet to see.

Thomas looked helplessly at the nurse, as she studied him.  “Is this true, Thomas?”  To Thomas’ amazement, there was no hint of skepticism in her voice, just sober concern.

“I was tired.”  Thomas moved to the bed and leaned against it, staring at the floor.  He could not look either woman in the eye. “I had waited to pack the sculptures last.  I must have had a nightmare.”

“And a dream cut your hands?”  Violet put the tray down on the bureau and grabbed some gloves from the box by the door.  Gracefully, she moved toward him and began inspecting the wounds, ripping the bandages off impatiently.  “You think we are so stupid as to believe that?”

“I…”  Thomas stammered as he looked at Moira, her eyes huge with fear.  He could not lie to that face.  “I don’t know.”  His voice was so low when he responded, that he could barely hear it himself.

“Oh, no.”  Moira cried, “Oh, no.”  She looked at Violet desperately, “It’s because I’m not there.  They want to hurt me any way they can, so they’re going after him.  He’d be safe if I was there!”

“I’m not going to let anything happen to either one of you.”  Violet sounded so confident, she comforted Thomas as well as Moira.  Her stare penetrated both of them as she spoke, those lovely, serious eyes adding weight to what she said. “No one or nothing will hurt you while I’m here to stop them.” Violet finished inspecting Thomas’ cuts, and said authoritatively, “I’ll be back in a minute, these need to be cleaned.  They are already starting to get infected.” She smacked Thomas on the arm, “You should have called me, I would have taken care of this earlier.”

While Violet was gone, Moira and Thomas stared at each other.  Finally, Thomas said, “I’m sorry, Moira.”

She shook her head, about to speak, when Violet came back with a tray filled with bandages, alcohol and other first aid supplies.  “You two have got to understand that I’m not going to let any harm come to either one of you,”  she put on a new pair of gloves and ripped open some kind of wound cleaner.  Thomas winced as she scrubbed out the cuts.  “I care for you too much. I have grown attached these past months. You couldn’t be more dear to me if you were my own flesh and blood.”

Moira relaxed marginally with the Violet’s last reassurance, watching soundlessly as Violet finished cleaning and rebandaging Thomas’ hands.  When she was done, Violet ripped off her gloves, pushed Thomas back toward Moira and passed out the Jell-O and ginger ale.  Raising her own glass high, she enthused, “Now, here’s to the future… to the day Moira goes home and you have me over for dinner.”

Their cups quietly touched each other as they made their toast.  After they had their celebration, Violet left Moira and Thomas alone again.  He held her and told her how much he loved her.  When her eyes were starting to droop, he picked her up and put her into the bed.  She stirred slightly before she dropped into sleep, mumbling “I love you” as she drifted off.

“I love you too,” Thomas kissed her on the lips then on the forehead, “I’m sorry I wasn’t here.”

Halloween Fiction: the sculptor: 8 of 11

*** part: 1234567***

Thomas entered the hospital slowed by his burdens and soreness from moving. Carrying the box of journals, he took the elevator to her floor.  It had been almost two weeks since his last visit.  After his conversation with Kendle, his absence seemed inexcusable.  As soon as he walked up to the nurses’ station, Violet met him with a smile and plucked the box out of his hands, putting it on her dedancer 2 altsk.  “How are you doing, Thomas? How did the move go?”  She turned back to him and gave him a swift hug, her dark eyes glittered with happiness and interest.

“Fine, I suppose.”  Thomas hesitated for a moment, almost ready to tell Violet about his hallucinations, but he decided against it.  He did not want to diminish himself in her view, he had become very fond of her over the months of Moira’s confinement.  Violet had taken both he and Moira under her wing.  “The new house is beautiful.  Lots of light.” At least that he could say with more enthusiasm.  “I want to leave a key here with you, in case something were to happen to me, or Moira would get out…”  he took an envelope out of his pocket, “I trust you, Violet, and I don’t want Moira to feel locked out when she can come home.”

Violet smiled broadly and put the envelope into her purse.  “We have a wonderful surprise for you, today.”

Thomas smiled despite himself, caught up in her infectious mood.  “Kendle told me that Moira recognized you, and she was sitting up.”  The prospect of more good news warmed him.  “Has something else happened?”

“Yes,” Violet linked her arm into Thomas’ and started to guide him toward Moira’s room.  “But I want to start from the beginning.”  She pouted playfully, “I feel cheated that Kendle told you first, so I’m going to pretend he didn’t.  Moira recognized me Saturday.”

“That is almost too wonderful to believe.” Thomas stopped walking, pulled himself away so he was facing her, and stared at Violet’s joyous smile.

“You heard me, man.”  Violet laughed, “I walked in to check on her and she was fairly alert, sitting up in bed.  When I came in she looked at me, and she said ‘Hello, Violet.’”

“She did?”  it seemed surreal to Thomas, even though this was the second time he heard it.  Hope had been so far away from him just a few days before.

Violet laughed again, linking her arm in his and leading him along.  “Yes, she did.”  After a few steps, she smiled broadly at him again, “And that’s not all.”  She let Thomas’ smile ask the question for him, “She’s also eating her lunch on her own.”

“She ate?  You didn’t have to feed her?”  Now that, Thomas had been completely unprepared for.  He whispered his questions, eyes wide.

“Am I there, you silly man?  She’s eating right now.”  They had reached Moira’s room, and he saw his wife, sitting in a chair, a tray of food before her.  Her fingers reached out and picked up the food gingerly, like it was the first time she had ever done it.

“Do you think it’s the change in her medications?”  Thomas tore his eyes away to see Violet beaming with pride.  “Kendle said he had taken her off everything.  It seemed like he was giving up.  I should’ve been here to see her more, but it all seemed so…”

“There’s no need to apologize, Thomas.”  Violet patted his back, maternally.  Over the months, she had provided so much support to him, “You have a lot on your plate, right now.  They officially took her off all medications about a week ago.  Dr. Kendle won the fight to take off everything; her body has to clean itself out before he can give her anything new.  We had to move her to isolation for a couple of days, either Margaret or I stayed with her while she screamed, but eventually she calmed down.  Friday night, she went to sleep for Margaret, a deep sleep, and then when I got in Saturday, she recognized me.  Today she’s talked and eaten.  It’s amazing to see.”  Faintly, Thomas could hear Moira humming through the glass.  The sound made his heart leap with hope.  He remembered when she used to break out in song. Maybe she could come back to him.  For so long, he had not dared to dream about that.  He put his hand on the door, ready to go in.  Violet got her pass card out, poised, ready to swipe it, but stopped.  Instead, she put her hand over Thomas’, her lovely eyes studying him soberly, “Now this is good news, Thomas.  She’s been improving for the past few days, but still, don’t expect too much from her.  This will take time, she has to heal.  She’s still terribly afraid.  I think she’s just finally starting to trust that she’s safe here.”

Violet’s seriousness cooled Thomas’ enthusiasm, and the familiar sorrow he had felt for months welled back into him.  All he could do was nod and whisper, “I won’t expect the world.”

Her smile flashed again, as Violet ran her card through the lock.  The lock buzzed, and she pushed on his hand to open it.  “Now go tell that woman you love her.”

Thomas walked through the door, awestruck as Moira looked up from her dinner, smiled brightly, and said “Thomas?”

Halloween Fiction: the sculptor: 7 of 11

*** part: 123456 ***

It took two days before Thomas could deal with Moira or her doctors.  His brother had met him at the new house, helping with the unpacking.  Thomas hadn’t told him about his experience with the sculptures, suspicious that Patrick would tease him even more than the movers had.  Instead he asked Pat to put them away on other emotional grounds.  ‘They remind me of Moira too much,’ Thomas had explained.  That reason firstsculpturealtwas valid too, and Pat dutifully unpacked them, locking them back in their cabinet, without questioning his big brother further.

For the rest of the weekend, Pat kept Thomas distracted with stories about college and drinking parties.  Those kind of things had never really interested Thomas, but at least they kept him from dwelling on his nightmare too much.  Monday morning, after Pat left for college, Thomas called Dr. Kendle.  Quietly he told him about the journals, describing how far back they went and how complete they were.  “Violet can keep the journals for me until I get to the hospital on Tuesday.”  Kendle had been enthusiastic about the find,  “She has keys to my office in the hospital.  We can keep them there.  This may be what we need to bring Moira back completely.”

“I’m glad I found them, then.”  Thomas tried to sound happy, but thinking about the journals brought back memories of those animated demons.

“I have good news for you, too, Thomas.”  Kendle’s smile was almost audible.

“What?”  anticipation snapped Thomas back into the conversation.

“We’d tried to call you this weekend,” he started.

“My phone just got hooked up today,”  Thomas interjected apologetically, as a wave of guilt hit him.  A little voice inside of his mind chastised him or not sitting by the phone, unmoving, waiting for the hospital to call with news.

“We figured,” Kendle sounded a little peevish, frustrated at being cut off in the middle of his progress report.

“What happened?”

“Moira recognized Violet Saturday morning.”  Kendle sounded triumphant.

The news made Thomas stand up, it shocked him so much.  “What?”

“That’s not all,”  the voice merrily crackled over the phone, “yesterday she was sitting up in bed, responding to her name.”

“Oh, my God.” Thomas was shaking with the news.  Of all the times for him to be out of reach, why did it have to be now?

“It’s fantastic, isn’t it!”  Again, Thomas could hear the grin as it spread across Kendle’s face.  “Taking her off the mediation seems to have helped.  I’ve asked Violet to stay with her as much as she can, to try and keep her with us.”

“I’ll be in later today,”  Thomas rushed to say, the guilt and joy competing within him.

“That’s wonderful,”  Kendle said, “with luck she’ll recognize you.”