College Essay

Prose by Sharon Venezio. Photo by Kees Terberg.

Is it just that I’m leaving home or has my bedroom always been this beautiful? My walls are earthy green. A black and white print of Audrey Hepburn hangs above the piano, magazine faces stare out from the closet wall, and there are words sketched in sharpie on my desk; each space is a contradiction.  I can’t draw, but if I could for my mother a sketch of Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms with their soft hesitant life for all her looking inward, and for my father a picture of a red fronted macaw perched on the cliffs of Bolivia for all his looking outward.
My brother is a Buddhist. He’s 23, says he will soon live in the forest in Sri Lanka, like a monk. He will name flowers, then unname them. He will not contact our mother. The bird in his heart does not feel hunger; it closes its soundless wings and dreams. He doesn’t like his ego, tries to kill it nightly in his room. My ego would like to go to your college. I will call my mother every day. One day I will visit Sri Lanka, find my brother sitting somewhere in the Sri Pada Wilderness, bring him food, tell him all I have learned at your college. He will tell me to forget it all, and I will.

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