Lines (Part Two)
By Artelle Lenthall
Then I saw the teacher and principal right in front of me. What could I do?
I ran out, down the stairs. Someone grabbed my arm. I pivoted wildly again. She showed me my sketchbook. I let her lead me into the library.
"You draw birds really well, Liam," Mrs Nguyen said.
"You know it's a bird? Not just...lines," I spat. I raised my chin, my eyes hard. Cold.
"That's what they call me....Lines".
"Yes," she said with a sigh. Do you like to draw, Liam?"
I nodded. She smiled and showed me a piece of paper. It had the name of some place on it, where kids can draw and stuff. She looked at my drawing of the bird, took a pencil and showed me how to make some lines darker.
“To give it definition,” she said
Then she called my teacher on the intercom while I practiced.
”Yes he’s fine…No, he can stay here for a while…”she said, smiling at me.
I smiled back.
“Of course I don’t mind…. No trouble at all”.
Then she hung up, sighing again.
I went to the place on the piece of paper. I go every week. I like it there. There are other kids there. Other kids like me. Some can draw. Some are really good at Math. Some know all about stuff like aeroplanes or trains or Star Wars. Ask them anything. They’re really smart. (About certain stuff anyway). They’re all like me though. They don’t need to talk all the time. People want you to talk all the time. To explain why? I can’t give them any reason they like. Here, there are lots of ways to communicate. And information all around the walls. I can pick pencils, paint brushes or punching bags and I can find out stuff. That’s where I found out about the competition.
It’s cold now. All the birds have flown away. Mrs Nguyen put a crimson curtain on the fence with a banner over it - Winner of the Mayor's Drawing Challenge. My sketches are under the banner. They are all impressed. "Hi Line... I mean Liam, those are awesome drawings".
“Thanks…. Mark,” I say, I’m trying to use people’s names.
"Wow, the local newspapers and TV News crews are here," some kids in my class shout. It hurts my ears. I stay anyway. I’m getting better at that. A hand is placed on my shoulder. "You're a fine artist, young man,” I don’t think I flinched. “We're all proud of you," the Principal continues.
“Um…. thank you, Mr. Tranquil,” I mutter.
He moves off with Mrs Nguyen, talking about my work. About me. I give her a secret smile. Lots of other people are also looking at my sketches and talking.
“Yes, what incredible detail. I’d never have noticed that… it’s amazing!”
I stand on the finish line, listening. Really listening. Hopefully now, they’ll listen too.