When I opened the book I ordered on-line, the thing I noticed immediately was neither the beautiful photography and the carefully crafted knitting patterns nor the lyrical language of the stories accompanying the patterns. What I noticed was the lack of white space. Paragraphs bumped into each other like commuters in Toronto and margins were narrower than country roads. Photos worthy of singular exposure were lost in a visual melange. There was no place for my eyes to linger or rest.
I felt like a Panini pressed between paragraphs. I wanted a moment to breathe and think. I needed space to digest what came before and what was coming next.
My husband has a gap in his front teeth. It looks dramatic, like he was in a doozy of a fight but the truth is one was removed six months ago in preparation for an implant. He opted out of a fake tooth to get him through these months of healing before the final stage. He grins like a Halloween pumpkin. The change in his appearance is startling and every time he smiles I have to remind myself that his IQ was not removed with the tooth.
The tooth will be replaced next week, just in time for our youngest daughter’s high school graduation ceremony and the many photo opportunities the occasion will present. The gap will be closed and he will be himself again.
Our daughter, however, has entered the space between ending and beginning – a margin so wide a Broadway chorus line could perform in it. She’s got a plan for the fall which entails more education with a tight study schedule designed to cram her brain full of stuff she’ll use in a career when she graduates. Maybe. Or maybe she’ll take a breather part way through the program she’s chosen. Maybe even her path will change completely.
In the meantime, as she approaches final exams and graduation, she is relaxing. She hasn’t stopped studying entirely but she’s pulled back. I’m trying not to panic as I worry that she’s given up in favour of developing a busy social life. Perhaps, I think, what she needs right now is time to breathe and live in this white space for a while.
I think she knows this is a period of change and that once high school is over her life will take on a different focus. Maybe she’s worried, too, maybe even a little scared. She worries the decisions she makes now are irreversible, that she’s a Panini flattened between choices.
When I broach the subject she says “I find that annoying,” so I back off, aware this is her space to navigate. Somehow, though, I want to help her understand that whenever she needs it, she can create her own gaps in her story. And that those gaps are important and necessary – and okay.