Before our snowy brunch at Sweet Chick I surprised him with an unexpected twist in plans and made a stop at Make Meaning, a crafts spot where you can paint and create ceramics, canvases and even cakes. At first glance the shop seems more like a crafts version of a kid's Discovery Zone, with screaming children and parents surrounding the entry way but I promise you, normal adults without children go here (I looked it up!). I'll admit, the overwhelming amount of kids provoked some hesitation in my decision. Couldn't help but think, was it too much for a grown man to do crafts? I certainly didn't think so but if there was any lingering 'too cool for school' attitude in this boy's heart I was going to need a drink and fast, cause the nerves were real.
Having decided to create a coaster we sorted through the glass pieces in efforts to put together a design that would best represent both our styles. For a moment I sat back and watched as he grew intense and intentional with his choices, wearing gloves too small for lumber jack hands and a beard too strong for an ax to break. I was enamored by the concentration. If he wasn't enjoying the date, he was certainly making efforts to make this coaster something amazing, subconsciously taking a back seat on design I observed his choices. Often comparing his to mine, I took notes on the differences in our aesthetics and sought to gain more understanding of his choices without requiring much words, just action. The simple thought of this coaster creation signifying more than a piece of glass blew me into a mental trance that kept me from diving into the process as more than a helper. Far from imprisonment, it was liberating to watch him take the lead. But with the existing doubt looming over my mind throughout the progression of the date, I ventured off for mental distraction and began piecing a whole new concept of colors to which he immediately questioned the intention. Though I couldn't see it then, his call for my intentions were beyond necessary. For a moment I had lost sight of the memory we were creating right then and there, together, with this simple coaster. The question was thought provoking, triggering behavioral, spiritual and emotional reflection. With so many years spent in self consumption and broken relationships the experiences had resulted in bad habits with tendencies to shut down and hide away in moments of inner panic but with a simple question or call for attention you are jarred out of the world where only you seem to exist. Inviting you to the meaning of coexistence, allowing another to shed light in the dungeons of the heart where no man has ever ventured before. And like that, a coaster was made, memories created and in all but a few seconds, life changed in the slightest matter.
Beyond scoring some major cool points on this day (which I did suckers!), piecing jagged glass edges and broken pieces onto a then blank canvas was an implication of the very fabric of our lives, knitted together by individual experience. We're all broken and somewhat jaded but never far from being made into a new and more wonderful piece of art.
The coaster turned out different than expected, looking like pieces of gum jammed between two melting sheets of glass but it was exactly what it needed to be, abstract, somewhat undone and yet beautifully done. Grown man doing crafts never made a girl so smitten.