1. a reception at a gallery for an artist whose show is about to open to the public.
  2. Also called varnishing day. the day before the opening of an art exhibition traditionally reserved for the artist to varnish the paintings.

“Matthew,” Adam called as his 6-year-old started running down the hallway. “Slow down, buddy.”

His son ducked into a classroom on the right.

“He’s just excited,” Maria whispered into her husband’s ear, smiling. “He’s just like you when you’re proud of things; you just contain yourself a little bit better than he does.”

“A little bit,” Adam asked, feigning hurt before kissing his wife on her temple. They strolled hand in hand toward Matthew’s classroom for their meeting with their son’s teacher.

As they entered the classroom, Matthew instantly turned into a tour guide. He showed them his desk, where he liked to play, and the class pet lizard.

“Her name is Maria, just like you, Mommy,” Matthew said with a huge smile on his face. “But she doesn’t move fast like you do.”

He guided them to a nearby wall of class assignments. The impromptu vernissage had begun.

“This one is mine,” Matthew pointed with a huge smile on his face.

The drawing had his name scrawled at the bottom in red crayon.

“This is nice, Matthew,” Maria beamed. Their son nodded, as they confirmed his own beliefs.

Adam read aloud the sentence under the drawing.

“‘I love my family.'”

Matthew’s parents looked at him quizzically.

“Um, buddy, this drawing is really great,” Adam said, “but who are these two other people?”

A look of disbelief crossed Matthew’s face as if the answer should be obvious.

“That’s our family,” he said, rolling his eyes. “That’s my little brother and sister. They’re twins.”

His parents were amused by their son’s imagination.

“Matthew, you want siblings,” Maria asked. “I didn’t know that; you’ve never said anything.

“I really want an older brother to play with,” Matthew explained, “but I had a dream that you had more babies.”

Adam and Maria began chuckling at the cute story, but the amusement dissipated the more Matthew spoke.

“I’ve had dreams about them,” he said, his tone and demeanor matter of fact.   “They don’t come until next year in September, but then I’ll be the older brother. And I’ll teach Richard and Abigail Lucy lots of things, like how to play and skip stones on the lake, like Daddy taught me. Richard will be fast and fun, but AbiLu will not like to play in the dirt. You’ll have to play with her more, Mommy.”

Matthew’s attention was quickly diverted to his classmates around him before he realized he hadn’t shown his parents his math work on the other wall. His parents were silence.

“Come this way,” he said, running across the room.

His parents looked at the picture and then looked at each other.

“Children have vivid imaginations,” Adam reasoned aloud.

“Yeah, that’s true,” Maria said, “but my grandmother on my father’s side, the one you never met, her name was Abigail Lucy and we called her AbiLu…”

“And my grandfather’s name was Richard. He had a younger twin sister…”



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