"I 'heart' U"

The whole time we were home, a tiny message stared at us from the corner of our blackboard. “I ‘heart’ U”, it said, in tight, angled, masculine letterforms… written by a hand not known to us.

The board itself was in a prominent position in our kitchen, and we couldn’t avoid looking at it as we came and went. This meant we read that message dozens of times a day. My sisters, my brother, my nephew and I were all irritated by it, but none of us said anything. As it turns out, we had each privately, individually, considered wiping it away but something had stopped us.

This humble wood-framed message board always been sacred in our family; a forum reserved for family members, and those closest to us. On it, we communicate our sentiments both profound and mundane … Usually the latter: phone numbers, reminders, or “went down to Waterfront [Pizza] – back soon xo” or “X called about the blah blah.” But every so often special occasions are acknowledged. Birthdays, anniversaries, accomplishments. The board is where things are made official.So when strange handwriting appeared, and the message was re: love, we noticed. It seemed offensive somehow, like someone had written “shit” in big red letters, for no good reason. Any of us could have erased it – just like that, when no one else was around, claimed ignorance, claimed our hand slipped, or whatever, but none of us did.We knew it wasn’t that simple.For invisible beneath this “I ‘heart’ U” we were seeing another message from this stranger which was: “this house is my domain now, and I will declare myself in this forum with impunity from now onwards.” Our mom, too, was giving us a message by not erasing it prior to our arrival, which was: “he is here, in this house, in our family now, to stay.”

"I 'heart' U"

vixenvision

South Arm, Australia

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Artist's Description

An excerpt from the NF book I’m writing about being an ACOD (Adult Child of Divorce)

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  • willowweeping
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