The Trigger

It is a crude drawing, done in orange crayon – the kind with the tick tip and pasty wax that seeps into your fingers and leaves them sticky until someone comes along and stretches your hand into the basin to wash it all off.  The figures are clear; two adults and a child.  Not a family though, not even resembling one.

I remember drawing that picture.  I was four, sitting on a low red plastic chair.  Miss Jane was hustling like a nesting hen, yammering that we were going to be late for the Christmas play rehearsal.  It wasn’t the nativity that year, for a change.  I was to play a tree; I can’t remember what the rest of the act was about.

All the other children gathered their things, but I lingered on my picture.  There is an orange uneven line still, to the side of the left figure where Sammy, that little busybody, tore the paper away from me; ‘Miss Jane told us to stop drawing!’ Her piping voice still rings in my ear, as clear as the image of that pig-like nose she had.  I hated that girl!  I remember the fury that twisted my stomach into tiny moth balls when I saw my masterpiece ruined, and I remember the feel of the moist pig-like nose flattening against my fist.

‘That’s it!’ Miss Jane had screamed in my face, but then she paused when she saw the orange figures on the white page and her face changed.

It was all headmasters and social workers and foster parents after that.  They tried to help, of course, but I didn’t want them to, not for a very long time.  For years I didn’t even know what had started all the meddling and I resented it, all of it; we were happy, I thought, and they should have left us be.  Only now I remember why it all had changed.  Now as I hold this yellow, dog-eared drawing in my hand… I understand.


For Trifecta.  The word this week is CRUDE.  I am missing too many of these challenges lately, but work is like bitchy hag on hormone pills right now. I’ll try to keep up where I can though.

Have a good week!

24 comments on “The Trigger

  1. Gabriella says:

    I like this. I love the way you make this child remember the scene and the drawing.

  2. This is beautiful in its simplicity and heartbreaking in its complexity. Really well done.

  3. Cobbie's World says:

    Your “voice” rang very true in this story. How complicated the lives of children sometimes turn out to be. You captured that extremely well.

  4. jannatwrites says:

    I like that we don’t know exactly happened or was depicted in the drawing, but we know enough to know that it affected the child deeply and alarmed the adults.

  5. TheImaginator says:

    The scene was quite vivid; I can easily imagine how tragic this character’s story could be and what the drawing might have depicted.

  6. I was left with a harsh mental picture of what the drawing must have been.

  7. jwilliams057 says:

    One little thing can make a world of difference. Great job.

  8. I would love to read more! Great story.

  9. Christina says:

    very intriguing. great voice.

  10. lumdog says:

    It is amazing how you got into the head of that child (a feat, even if that child was you) and then communciated those thoughts so sensitively and vividly. I almost felt like I was that child, right then and there. Brilliant and very well written.

  11. Draug419 says:

    Something about a sad image in crayon is always heartbreaking ):

  12. kallanannie says:

    A beautifully layered and sensitive story. I like how this moves from ordinary, commonplace childhood confrontation, into something darker and more tragic, but what I especially love about it is how you’ve succeeded in conveying a child’s persistent innocence in the face of very much not innocent events.

  13. kdillmanjones says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine what was in the picture (and maybe I’m glad that I don’t know). It’s such a powerful story, even without knowing the details. The child’s voice is so clear throughout.

  14. Bryan Ens says:

    well done!

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