Near the end of my shift at a local artist cooperative my friend Jacqueline zoomed into the shop and said, “SJ! I need you to paint me a big green heart.”
I had first met this Trinidadian immigrant cum US citizen and entrepreneur during my inaugural puzzle and pie happy hour event a year prior, held in a different town, in a different political climate. In the interim our friendship had grown, I had consumed a lot of her amazing Mumma’s lemonades, and Donald Trump had, just the day before, become the 45th President-Elect of the United States of America.
That said, friend or no friend, I don’t normally do work on vocal demand and, not dissimilar from the weeks post 9/11, I felt no interest in painting.
Jacqueline explained she planned to record a song about what it means to wear your heart on your sleeve, politically and spiritually, and wanted some cover art for the project. I was certainly wearing my heart on my sleeve that day, and knew I would be for weeks and months to come.
I went home. And then I painted, fast and furiously. In one singular session, I created her requested green heart.
Someone took a snapshot of me holding up this painting. Instead of the forty-four year old clinically depressed Democrat on the couch I remember myself to be I appear like a pudgy-cheeked college freshman, entitled to all the world’s joy…
The day after Trump’s inauguration Jacqueline and her girls came over for pancakes and protest poster preparation for the women’s march. She made us little green hearts to wear on our coat sleeves as we marched on the lawn of Rhode Island’s State Capitol.
We also took turns holding the painting over our heads.
Now you can find this little puzzle at Mumma’s market table where Jacqueline encourages her customers, strangers and friends alike, to participate in the sweetness of collaborate creativity.
I hope you will, too.