I was 17 years old when I first met Alexand Merek. Yes, you heard me, I didn’t invent or conceive her, she came up to me and started talking, very quietly at first, in my left ear. I could hear her through my head phones. I remember listening to Cindy Lauper’s the World is Stone, after bunking off a Theatre Studies class at college that day. I didn’t like the noise, couldn’t take the drama, so my teenaged self decided to be alone.
I was sitting on a bench in a park called Borelli’s in Farnham, a rather disconnected and moody teenager. Alexand asked me if she could sit with me and listen to the song, as she needed a break from her world for a bit. The song reminded her of her life, and she asked me if she could talk with me, so she sat beside me, an invisible woman, who seemed somehow familiar, and I started to listen. I’ve been listening to her for the past 22 years, and haven’t stopped. She’s introduced me to her friends and family, and I’ve drawn them, written about them. I’m so glad I decided to sit on that bench in Borelli’s park that day, because I’m not sure I’d have met her if I hadn’t. She chose me to write about her, and I’m so thankful, as she has become my life. This is the very first drawing I sketched of her. For some reason I would only draw in black ink on lined paper back then. How weird was that?