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Patience

patience.jpg

Eveningtime, after dinner has been eaten and my brother and sister have settled for nightly cartoons I walk up the steps to my neighbor’s house. I duck under the curtain in the doorway—tashi delek—come in, come in. He or his wife will be stirring vegetables and noodles in a pan; their baby sleeps or giggles in the corner. The room is warm and bright; I sit cross-legged on the couch and my teacher makes an easel with a pane of thick glass and the low table in the center of the room. First, I show him the Buddha head I have drawn for homework. See here? And here? He points to my mistakes, smiling kindly, voice gentle. A few quick, dark lines and suddenly the face is symmetrical, the eyes properly arched, the ears and lips the correct length. Good. Try again. Carefully I take his ruler and draw the grid, the proportions the same as they have been drawn for a thousand years. Perfect—well, almost perfect. I try again.

Caitlin