On my birthday in 2013, Ramón and I went to a place where we drank wine and painted. For the next several years, Ramón insisted that his painting was better than mine, despite the fact that I’ve never seen a hibiscus with roaches for leaves. We kept them on display (Don’t ask why.) and requested opinions when people came over. I asked simply and directly, whereas Ramón would phrase it more like this: “Which of these do you like better? The one on the right that’s kind of bland — or the one on the left that has more personality and creativity?”
One day, when we were getting ready to move from that condo, I came home and Ramón asked me if I noticed anything, gesturing toward the paintings. His was missing, so I asked what happened. He told me that a guy who came by to do some work (which did in fact happen) complimented them. Though I wasn’t there to witness it, Ramón claimed that he wanted to buy one. The guy chose his painting and insisted on paying him five dollars, at which point Ramón showed me the cash. I was certain Ramón was joking and the painting was actually in the dumpster outside. I even looked. It wasn't there and I never saw the painting again. If you know a guy with that painting (signed “Terri”), let me know so I can give him a refund. Otherwise, paint me surprised.
I am grateful to experience another birthday and look forward to the year ahead (shameless side note: http://fightcf.cff.org/goto/drew). Though I don’t have any big birthday plans, I am aiming high in the year to come, starting with publishing my book. If I’m not the better painter, I’ll settle for being the better writer.