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!