When the children were very small the parents bought an art print. It was simple: a red mouse with a big tail and an inviting smile. They put the mouse in the bedroom of their son, who was two. They were spending a lot of time there in those days, as he still took naps and bedtime rituals were lengthy.
Very quickly the mouse bewitched them all. They called him Mr. Mouse, of course. The family talked about Mr. Mouse in the morning, first thing, wondering about his sleep and what he would have for breakfast. They discussed him at naptime, reading whatever book he liked to read. They went over his nightly habits - toothbrushing, twirling, tugging on his tail - every evening as the son and daughter prepared for bed. The mouse’s image became fodder for so many things: routine, love, imagination.
Many years later, the family moved to a new house, and Mr. Mouse made his way from the son’s bedroom, where images of athletes had begun to reign, to the kitchen. He continued to captivate us from his new perch, but in a quieter and more subtle way. His image - the print - became part of the fabric of their lives and part of their family history. The kids, caught up in their homework and their lives, stopped explicitly remarking on him like they used to. But every once in awhile the parents caught the no-longer children with their eyes fixed on Mr. Mouse, remembering, dreaming.
Detail of "Circus" by Lucila Biscione
Chaela Pastore is a writer for Lux Art Institute in San Diego, California.