If I could paint you a picture of the Springs
If I could paint you a picture of Colorado Springs, you would see the mountains and the sunsets, the dry hot summers, and the wet freezing winters. You'd see the McDonald's I frequented when I was angry or sad, the place I first learned pottery, my first apartment I lived in (practically still a child), my many heartbreaks. You'd see the place I got my first tattoo that I regret, and all the other less regrettable ones that followed. You'd see the hundreds of bones smokes, thousands of beers drank, tears cried and more laughter than you can imagine. You would see the patio we frequented and drank way too many daytime beers, the place we brunched almost every weekend, even when we should have been saving money for that house we were going to buy.
If I could paint you a picture of Colorado Springs, Ian and I would be the smallest part of this picture. Our home we first lived in together, the animals we raised, the fence we built in the yard. It would include the neighborhood we lived in - families with stories we didn't take the time to know well, only experienced from the outside. It would include the basketball hoop we bought for the neighbor kids who made us feel nostalgic in ways we didn't know we could feel about our own childhoods; and the way we rolled it to their home in the middle of the night so they wouldn't know who it was from. But these pieces - they would be the small parts.
If I could paint you a picture of our home town, you would find parents that own apologies and growth, and those that refuse honesty and accept hatred. Most of all, you would see the long wine nights, the music played in the shed, my eyes opening wide with the love that families can give - as adults, forging their way through life together, even after long breaks and heart aches and all the moments that make families hate each other. You would see more patience than hatred, more love than stubbornness.
If I could paint you a picture, you would see the friends I've known longer than anyone else. The best artist I've ever known, who gives the best hugs, forever meets me at my ugliest, and probably knew I'd marry Ian before I ever knew. The man I met "wet hair, braces in the kitchen" who has shaped the person I am, and brings out the best in me. You'd see how he introduced me to the woman who I didn't know how to love at first, turning into the woman I text almost every day about plants and recipes and books because I don't know how to tell her I miss her even though I didn't cry when she left California. The dumpster fire that loves and gives more than most people I know, even when he's at his worst (we'll always be the same, baby). The woman who moves around and grows her hair long then cuts it short, never able to decide because she changes like the leaves in the best ways and is the best at spontaneously crying over smoked bones. You would see the man my husband grew up with that loves him better than I think I'll ever know how and gives him the most room to grow and has given me the love of an older brother I've never had. The woman he married who has the gentlest soul I've ever known, the most beautiful eyes, the person that can always get my negative brain into a positive space. You would see the ones who had kids and grew older, but hold special places in my heart forever and ever. You would see the artists that are fighting their damndest to create honestly in the claustrophobic space of the Springs. You would even see those that moved away to create new and better things.
We hold a small part, but I hope we always hold a spot in this painting. Near or far, our souls are connected to these people. this place, these stories. If I could paint a picture of the Springs, we would be a small part, but we would sure as hell be a part.
photos by: Levi Tijerina