With Allison as my muse, I finished Life (in obvious places) on the day we left for Winter Break. I handed her the first copy. She was eager to go. I was looking forward to coming back from break, spending long nights together wallowing in her admiration for my work.
When I was a senior in college (before Al Gore invented the Internet), I set out to write a book. To accomplish this, I needed a muse. I had three requirements –
1) She had to be beautiful.
2) She had to be smart.
3) She had to be passionate about creativity.
As if by divine decree, along came Allison. Allison was a lively young woman with wavy shoulder length hair, an athletic build, and a wonderful smile. Her eyes sparkled with hopeful curiosity as we talked about God, music, and mostly writing.
Every night after dinner I would turn to her and ask, “Can I follow you around like a puppy dog?” She would smile. We would walk to the Point (overlooking the Ohio River) and I would tell her about my story. Her body reacted with each scene, she listened so attentively.
Some nights we snuck into the chapel and lay on the floor looking up at the ceiling. I wanted to reach out to her, but she was already touching me with her soothing words, her boundless energy, her hope-filled faith. We lay beside each other and let the light between us fill the darkness.
The next time I saw her, a serious expression had replaced the smile on her face. She reached out and handed me a note. “I want you to read this,” she said simply. And she walked away.
It was a note about love. She said she wanted to break off our relationship. I was crushed. We never once talked about my book.
One day, I found Allison on Facebook. She is still smiling, now beside her adoring husband and two beautiful children. Her oldest looks just like her. There is so much joy inside her.
Some weeks back, Allison sent me a message to thank me for introducing her to the music of folk singer John Prine – who is now my muse. I figure it’s much safer to have a muse who is as close as a button on my keyboard.
P.S. I sent an earlier draft of this reflection to Allison for her blessing to post it and perhaps a picture of her in college. She wrote back while her youngest was making a delicious fruit salad. She couldn’t oblige with a photo, but she did offer her blessing and had some very nice things to say. In spite of our mutually selective memories, I think we can agree that ours is a fond one.