A Flick of the Wrist
A blank sheet of paper, a pencil, and a picture of my mom were all that I needed to escape.
It had been that way since I was a baby. It wasn’t something I had learned it was a talent, something I had naturally. With one movement I’m lost in my own world, entranced in a web of detail.
I could tell you how I feel when I draw and what it’s like all day. People ask me all the time. But I can’t tell them how it feels. It’s like trying to describe how you breathe or how you move. The simplest I can do is tell you that it’s all in a flick of the wrist. Just one flick of the wrist and I’m lost, gone, far away from here.
Drawing is my life. But I only draw for my mom. Hoping that maybe she’ll see it one day and come back for me.
My name is Kate and this is my story.
She was beautiful, with striking green eyes that seemed to look straight through you. She was a red Zafara, just like me. Her face was soft and always smiling and I wish that I could remember her by memory, not by the picture I’ve had since I was a baby that now sits next to my bed.
I can remember going to school all those years and seeing all of the other girls, being picked up by their mothers, who would hug them and they would walk off hand-in-hand. I can remember myself walking home all alone, no mother’s hand to hold. Just a big, empty room in the pound to look forward to.
But that day, that faithful Tuesday, was different. I walked home with a skip in my step, ignoring the other girls as they snickered at my old shoes and torn backpack. That day walking home, I didn’t even feel sorry that I didn’t have a mother. For once, I had something to look forward to.
As I climbed up the steps, a piece of paper in my hand, I ran to tell Nancy the Quiggle, the only friend I had, the exciting news. She was two years younger than me and therefore got out of school earlier and she was waiting faithfully at my door, just as she did every day.
“A drawing contest,” I squealed, slapping down the paper on her desk. She was just like me, alone in this world; her owner had abandoned her. That was the only thing we had in common, but somehow it was enough.
“A drawing contest! Kate, that’s perfect!” Nancy squealed, grabbing the paper.
“I know! My teacher announced it! Oh Nancy, this could be it! I could finally find her! My mom!” I nearly screamed.
I noticed Nancy’s face scrunch up and then it was gone, but I could see it. That look that everyone gave me whenever I told them that I was going to find my mom.
“You don’t believe it, do you?” I questioned. She just sighed. “Well, you don’t. But I’m going to find her. I’m drawing her. I’m going to win and she’ll find me!”
Nancy looked forward, a sad look on her face.
“But Dee’s entering the contest too.”
I held my breath and my heart skipped a beat. Dee went to my school. She was Miss Popularity, Miss Everything. She could also draw.
“She’s going to be your only competition,” Nancy replied quietly.
“I know. She’s... She’s really good,” I whispered.
And thus began the hardest week of my life.
For the next seven days leading up to the competition, I did nothing but draw, picture after picture. But of course, picture after picture ended up in the wastebasket.
To make it worse, I suddenly couldn’t draw. I had never drawn under pressure before. It had always been by choice and I had always done it slowly and beautifully, never worried about who would judge it. Now, I was nervous. This could mean finding my mother and that meant the world to me. I had to win, especially since Dee was now in. To make it worse, she was bringing the heat.
Every day, she was there, breathing in my face, telling me I didn’t have a chance, telling me that she’d ruin my life if I didn’t drop out. It made me feel good that she was threatened by me, but at the same time she seemed so confident, the way she walked and talked, the way she looked at me.
The picture of my mother was never out of my sight and there was almost always a pencil in my hand, a piece of paper in the other. Everything would start perfect, my hands carving her face, making her come to life, but somehow it always came out wrong. It was either two uneven eyes or her nose was slightly sideways. There was always a small imperfection, but to me it was huge, as if it was flashing on and off in neon lights. My mother HAD to be perfect, just like I had imagined for all these years.
As Friday crept up, I felt as if I was going to faint. I couldn’t face Dee, and Nancy was becoming annoyed with my growing obsession to make the perfect picture.
“Nobody’s perfect. We all have our flaws and it’s what makes us beautiful,” Nancy would tell me as I crumpled another piece of paper.
“Yeah, but my mother IS perfect,” I would reply, shaking my head at her as if she was a confused child.
On Friday was the art contest. I was jittery, my stomach in knots. My drawing was clasped in my hand. Finally, it was finished, after I'd stayed up until midnight. My mother was perfect. Her face, her eyes, were all colored and outlined neatly and she looked gorgeous. There were art judges coming to our school that morning. They would come from class to class and judge, choosing two finalists from each class. The final winner would be published on the front page of the Neopian Times. Then my mother would find me.
As I was walking into school, though, Dee was waiting. I held my breath and tried to breeze past her.
“Not so fast. Did you really think I would just let you win?” she asked, suddenly breathing in my face. Dee was a big Uni and I was a tiny Zafara. She was towering over me, cornering me.
“Dee, please let me through. I really need this so I can find-” I started, but she cut me off.
“Yes, yes, find your mom,” she said in a mocking tone, “but too bad you’re not going to win, because you won’t have a picture to submit.”
All of a sudden, the picture of my mother, the one I had worked so hard on, was out of my hand. Suddenly, everything froze. Dee unrolled it and then the world fell apart. All I remember is the sound of tearing and suddenly my picture was in shreds on the ground, lying next to my feet.
“Why?” I asked, looking up, tears welling up in my eyes. “Why did you do that?”
“So I can win, of course,” she replied smugly and then she was gone, leaving me to pick up the pieces.
I just sat there and sobbed until I was all cried out. My beautiful picture was gone.
But all my hope wasn’t.
Somewhere inside of me I was Mad. Angry. Furious. This is exactly what Dee expected me to do, cry and sob and practically hand her the trophy. Not so fast.
As I entered the classroom, I could feel Dee burning a hole in the back of my head. I stared at her, grinned smugly, and sat down at my desk to draw.
I was sneaky and quick. Throughout the whole day I did nothing but draw. Suddenly, I wasn’t nervous; I was relaxed and everything was coming out perfectly. My hands and mind did all the work and I was relieved as I finished. It was gorgeous. Simple and easy, but so beautiful. I tucked it in my desk. The best part was that Dee had no idea that I was back in the running.
As the day passed on and one o’clock came, the judges entered. I could feel my heart beating as I laid out my picture. I could hear Dee’s gasp as she saw my picture lying out on my desk. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
It wasn’t a surprise when the judge announced Dee and I the class finalists. I could hear the applause as we followed the judge out of the room and into the Semi-Final round. Here was where the real challenge began.
I was in a daze as the judges analyzed us. Each time I held my breath as they dismissed the ones they didn’t think were good enough. I always thought it would be me, that mine was too simple.
As I had expected, in the end it was Dee and I. My heart was beating faster than a racing Cybunny and I felt dizzy. The whole school was now watching us. Waiting to see who would take it all. And waiting to see who the big fat loser would be.
“Miss Kate, please step forward and briefly explain your picture,” a judge asked me. My legs were jelly as I gulped one last time and opened my mouth.
“Ever since I was a baby I’ve lived in the pound, and I think this picture showcases it all. From whom I was then and to who I am now. I’ve always wanted to find my mother and a single picture exists that I hold onto with all my heart. This picture shows me fast asleep in my bed, my mother’s picture held tight to my chest. Next to my bed on my desk is a kit of colored pencils and a blank sheet of paper, waiting to be drawn on. And above is my mother, peering down at me from above in space. She’s somewhere out there, and she doesn’t know me, but she still loves me and she’s glad that I’m safe. I’ve always wanted to find my mother, but now I know she’s been with me all along.”
I could hear clapping and I closed my eyes. Now that I knew the truth, it was almost better, yet somehow worse.
Just yesterday, before I went to bed, my counselor had called me to her office. She had told me that she had done some researching and my mother was, unfortunately, dead. She had given me up because she knew that she could never raise me right and she knew I’d be better off in someone else’s loving arms.
In the end, I won and it felt good, but not in the way I had hoped. I knew that my mom couldn’t come find me because she was gone. I would just continue to live in the pound, as it had always been. Nothing would change.
“Kate. Visitor,” a counselor called.
A visitor? For me? I put down my game of Go Fish that I was playing with Nancy and made my way down to the office. I was confused, seeing as no one would want to see me. Things had died down since the big art competition one week ago. The trophy now proudly sat on my drawer, right next to the picture of my mom. Then my picture was hanging on the wall, something I could look at every day that would give me a sad smile.
As I entered the office, a green Zafara jumped up and hugged me, nearly knocking the breath out of me.
“Oh! Kate! I’ve been searching for you for such a long time and then I saw your picture and... Oh, Kate!” she shouted, squeezing the life out of me.
“Mom?” I asked breathlessly as I pulled away. My mother was here. Oh, she had come! She really wasn’t dead after all! Tears flew to my eyes. I couldn’t believe it.
“Not quite,” the Zafara replied and my heart fell. I should’ve known this wasn’t her. Tears continued to fall, although they were no longer happy ones. I shouldn’t have got my hopes up.
“But I am your aunt.”
I looked up into my mom’s sister’s eyes. They were just like mine, just like my mother’s. She had Mom’s soft face and that same warm smile.
“Let’s go home,” she whispered.
It wasn’t Mom, but it was close enough. It was family.
I grasped her hand and she squeezed it back. I had a feeling that things were going to get a lot better.
And it had all began with a flick of the wrist.
Hey guys! (And girls too^^) Thanks for reading. :D I love comments and please look out for more of my works of art. :D