The paper shook in Meadow’s trembling hands.  Kept inside an envelope, it looked as though it had been printed up just yesterday.  She read it once more, disbelieving. Eventually, she handed it over to Koay, who read it and then stared up in wonder.

“Still think all this is merely fate?”

She shook her head from side to side but dared not speak anything lest she lose control of her emotions. He perused it once more and handed it back.  “What is the second piece?”

Meadow had forgotten it in the shock of the moment but now opened its page up as well.

 

Honey,

So, here you go.  Soon you’ll be done high school and you’ll be on your way to a remarkable life in which your painting will enrich the world. We have told you many times of how proud we are, but I’m not sure we told you enough that we look up to you and respect you.

I told Mom as I was writing this that it reminded me of Moses in the wilderness standing before the burning bush.  The wonder of it all was that it wasn’t consumed by the fire.  He stood in that spot and knew it was God, just as we look at you every day and see a remarkable creative energy in you.  You are the meeting place between the human and the divine and we just stand back in awe and, as I said, respect.  We don’t know if your sister Summer would have had your gift, but even if she didn’t, her little heart would have been in awe of you as well.  Her passing broke our hearts; your gift has reignited them.  Thank you for that, Meadow.  You turned our tragedy into hope.

We spoke many times with you about William and Mary College.  Something in you always wanted to go there to pursue that burning gift of yours.  And now you can.  Your tuition is all topped-up and will remain that way.  You’ll have to select the residence that you desire, but that is covered as well.

All that we ask while you are there is that you remember just how much we love you and treasure you. The college isn’t all that far away and you’ll be seeing lots of us.  Make time for us, honey.  We’ll be with you every step of the way and will rejoice seeing you in later years – a refined woman with a refined gift, changing her world through a refined brush. We are so blessed.  And whatever time we have left in this beautiful world, we will share it with you.  And when that time is up, we will be waiting to be all together once more with Summer and you and us.  Follow God’s beauty, Meadow.

With hearts full of burning love that can’t consume us,

Dad

 

Meadow fell to her knees, totally overcome.  Her sobbing eventually turned into a wail, causing Koay to grow alarmed.  He painfully got on the floor beside her, placing his arms around her until she turned into him.  This was unlike anything she had ever expected or would have dreamt of.  It was, in its own way, heaven. Everything in her life was now destined to be different – all because two remarkable people had nurtured her and now resourced her in her quest.  What was so difficult for her at this moment in time was that, for all the promise to follow her through it all, her father had died only a few days later and her mother, though she survived, was lost in the tragic world that comes with severe brain damage.

They remained in the back room for a time but eventually came out into the main classroom area. Heading towards the door, Meadow turned back to look at the blackboard one last time.

“I remember this so much better now.  It was more in a state of disarray then, but I recall being here with Dad and placing the paper in the nook.  How did you know to come at it from the other side?  It was a brilliant idea, Sufi, and it made all the difference.  Although you’re still covered with dust.”  This prompted a smile in return.

After closing the door, they got into the truck, Koay still holding the papers.  She placed the engine in gear and moved out towards the main road.

“I never expected it to be like this,” she said finally.  “I mean, I thought the paper would be long gone and that memories would be all I was left with.”

“And now your past is vaulting you to the future.”

“Maybe, Duyi.  But how do I know this paper is still good?  And maybe the money is long gone.  Things happened so suddenly after Dad and I were here; it is as if time stood still.”

“All you can do is go to the college and inquire.  But things didn’t stop, did they.  That school house was beautifully refurbished.  It was finished by someone else, but it was your father who set the wheels in motion to recover history and it is his name on the plaque.  Things moved forward even after his death; you just didn’t know that.”

It’s true,she thought to herself, leaving her to wonder what else she had missed over the years.  And another thing was clear:  Duyi Koay hadn’t sat still.  Over her missing years he had worked diligently to paint again, even if only with his mind.  He had prepared a studio and filled it with works he had done through the software and that magical printer.

“Was there a will?” he asked, interrupting her thoughts.

“What?”

“A legal will.  Was there one?”

“Yes, and it was a generous one.  It was placed in trust for me until I was of age and my grandmother oversaw it until that time.  But I used it all up paying for Mom’s medical expenses.  Any savings I built up were put towards that as well.  So, it was all used up.”

“Then you have no choice but to go to Williamsburg and pursue who you will become.  To do that, you will need to paint, but to paint at the level you wish to attain… it will be the art program at William and Mary that will get you there.  It is well-known and respected.”

This she knew, recalling an earlier time when her parents had taken her there and shown her work to various instructors.  To a person, they were enthralled with her promise, vowing to work with her should she ever enrol.  Meadow realized that it was probably that visit that prompted her parents to put the money aside.

“When will you leave for the college?” he asked.

“Probably sooner rather than later,” she replied.  “I have to get back to work soon, but I’ll drive on further east to Williamsburg and see what I can discover.  I hope you will come with me.”

His silence troubled her somewhat.  Koay was looking out the side window as if he hadn’t heard her.  His fertile mind was going through all that had happened to his former student in such a short period of time.  She had taken it all in stride, but he realized now that it had all been too fast, too mercurial.  She needed to find her own sense of rhythm with the new possibilities that possibly could be before her.

“I will stay here.” Before she could say anything, he added, “This is your journey, my friend.  It is not a path to your past, to a college, or even to painting.  It is the route to yourself, to pick up where you left off, to now fulfill who you will be. Such journeys, once decisions are made, are better taken by the pilgrims themselves.  No, you must walk this path alone.”

Meadow wanted to argue, to entreat him on this important portion of her life, but something in her sensed he was right.  She had lived alone for so many years, and now she would have to travel alone to whatever was next.  She sighed and looked eastward.  Soon enough, in her windshield, would be the coastal town of Williamsburg.