Title: The Picture
Author: teh j-chan
Author's note: this really sucks...I wasn't exactly happy when I wrote it
It was just a child’s picture, something to be taken home to show a proud mother of her child’s work. Color came together to create a pattern of images, connecting together as one in a total. The child must have used colored pencils first, for they seemed to be the least noticeable with their lighter patterns of scratches. Crayons followed, their deeper feel covering the colored pencil enough to make another layer. Markers were attempted to be added next, but their liquid feel would stick to neither crayon nor colored pencil. A thin layer of charcoal was the last covering, spread on just enough to cast a shadow over the picture, as another layer into the imagination of one child.
The teacher praised the child, saying that the picture was beautiful and that the mother would love it very much when it came time to go home. The child, happy in the teacher’s praise, sat back down to draw more pictures, one for each member of the family and class. Six years of age, and the artwork talent was already showing through the small scribbles on the sheets of paper. A promise of a fine artist, with works up in every gallery around the world, did not seem like such a long way away for this small child.
Lifelike homes and animals were rapidly getting better each day. They were out of proportion most of the time, but other future artists couldn’t compare. A rabbit looked like a rabbit, a bear looked like a bear, and a garage looked identical to a garage. One might possibly mistake the drawing of the six year-old to that of an eleven year-old.
The child did not like drawing lifelike drawings, though, preferring the scribble the other children did as to not look better than them. She, as the child was a girl, loved her classmates, and hated to think they were jealous or envious of her artwork. She wished to be normal; to not have any great talents like that of art. Her family, teacher, and classmates praised her, but rarely did she take the praise.
The child, proud of her obscure and “normal” artwork, decided to show it to the class for the weekly show-and-tell. She explained each color, each stroke, and each corner. Her classmates sat silently as she pointed out her house, her yard, her family, and her friends. The students were silent as they watched and listened, wondering why her drawing was so simple.
The first question out of their mouths was “why.” Why had she drawn so below her ability, why had she not drawn lifelike, and why she wanted to give something so ugly to her mother? The girl looked out at her class, confused to why they were being hateful. They had always loved her artwork, cherished it, and hung it around the classroom. Why the change of heart now?
She was not discouraged. She would go home and show her mother the picture, and her mother would love it. Her mother always loved her artwork, even more than her classmates did. Frames with pictures in them lined the walls of their home, almost like framed wallpaper. Each picture clashed with the one next to it, but in the end created a beautiful scene of color and abstract design.
The little girl had to walk home from school that day for her mother had a meeting at work and her father wasn’t around. The father was too busy with his own business in another state to even bother with his wife and child, leaving them to fend for themselves. The child hadn’t ever seen her father, except in pictures still lying around.
Sometimes, the girl would draw something for her father. On Father’s Day, Christmas, his birthday, and even her birthday she would sit down and draw him a picture. Her heart would not be in it, but she would do her best. Every now and then, he’d send back a thank you card, but it would be store bought and extremely cheap, like he had somebody else get it for him. The little girl didn’t care, though, as long as it was a message from her father. Walking home brought the little girl’s father into her head again. She did not hear the yell, nor did she hear the squeal behind her. There was just sudden pain.
It was just a child’s picture, something to be taken home to show a proud mother of her child’s work. Colored pencil, crayon, marker, and charcoal came together to create an image the mother will never forget: a picture of love and happiness. The picture now sits on a gravestone, marked with the child’s name.
Her classmates stood around the grayish stone, crying and holding onto each other tightly. Not one had ever faced death before, and their hardest hurt was their first. Each brought a single flower, each student having a different kind and color. They lined around her resting place, making a picture of their own: their last gift to her, their picture to draw for her.
A car pulled up and a man walked out, dressed in black with the red around his eyes the only other color. The girl’s mother turned and spotted the man, her tears becoming stronger. The man said nothing, only wrapped his arms around the woman to hold her tightly in his embrace.
The man looked beyond the woman to the gravestone and cried, finally coming to the realization that his only little girl had died and he never once had seen her. The inscription below read, “Here lies a child so well loved, so cherished that God wanted her sooner than we were willing to let go.”