“What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I was always asked when I was young, just like most everyone else had been.
“Maybe an artist,” was my usual unsure reply.
It was all I could think of because I was such a poor student.
For it was only in Art, that I had received my first A.
I had wondered if maybe I had chosen it because I just liked colors.
Like on a set of crayons, or on a color-filled painting.
Because drawing itself did not seem to flow naturally for me.
I had never had the urge to sit down and break out a sketch book.
Or to quickly recreate a scene with a piece of charcoal.
But even still, I continued to collect art tools for years upon years.
Under my bed, I had shoved them all into my Art Supplies boxes.
With each paycheck received, another tool to draw, paint, color, and create with, I had purchased.
Them pastel crayons seemed always to be tricky.
But them acrylic paints, more “workable with” for me.
Years went by, and yet, nothing.
The artistic urge seemed dormant within me.
Only very small achievements that had come about, here and there.
Two school projects in my older years, I had incredibly A’ced.
And one, I had won.
For years, I had assumed that one would know their career for certain before entering college.
But ah, it had been as I had feared.
Entered, I did.
But it was the Eeny-meeny-miney-mo Method which I had taken.
Then one somber day, a posted sign had caught my attention.
“Art Show” were the words that had made me stop.
As many as 3 art pieces would be accepted.
But could any of my artwork truly be worthy?
With great reluctance, I had taken 3 of my pieces.
With great relief, I had found where to go.
Then the first day of the event had finally come.
Would they possibly choose any of mine to display?
Just one of them, was what I had hoped.
Walking slowly, I stared at the walls and boards.
In and out of them, I had nervously searched.
Then hulloa, there was one!
Then another one!
And could it really be, a third one too?
But wait, what is this?
What is this ribbon? “SPECIAL”?
On one of mine?
“Golly gee,” was all I could whisper.
At the end of the week’s event, I had picked up my pieces.
Quickly as I could, I had packed and bubble-wrapped my piece with the ribbon.
“I won! I won!,” my letter to my folks would announce.
“Please keep this treasure of mine for me! For it is my greatest achievement!”
Some time later, I had returned home.
With much eagerness, I asked for my art piece.
“Did you receive it? Did the frame stay intact? How did y’all like it? And where is it now?”, I had quickly asked and asked.
With a sad appearance, the sis said, “Aunt K had taken it. And she most likely had thrown it away.”
Questions swirled within my head.
“But why would she take it? And why would she throw it away?” I had asked.
“Because she had walked out with it under her arm in a hurry. I could not stop her because I was too far away,” the sis had replied.
I sat myself down, not believing what I had heard.
Surely, my art piece was okay. And in some storage, it had probably remained.
But deep, deep within me, I knew the sis was not mistaken.
Because knowing our Aunt K, it’s only the worst, we could always expect.
The Pops had gone with me.
“Where is my painting?” I could not help but ask a little too loud.
No reason for niceties. Just hand over what’s mine, was all I could think.
And exactly as the sis had predicted, “I had thrown it away,” she so calmly replied.
I stared at her face, as my mind and self flew into a rage.
“Why would you throw away what’s mine?!” I had yelled.
“Because it was evil,” she replied.
With my eyes aflare and my breathing amok, I looked around me for something – anything – of hers to take and to throw away.
But there was nothing. Nothing at all in that room.
Just a mattress that the Pops had given to her, and some books, and a Bible.
Nothing at all, that I could throw away.
Before the tears could not be stopped from flowing, I quickly left her apartment.
The Pops usually has no care for such things as artworks of mine.
But knowing how I had been so anxiously searching for it, it was his face of sadness as well,
which had helped me to recover.
You may be wondering, how could a drawing be considered to be “evil”?
It was one that I had made with a pencil, color pencils, crayons, and acrylic paints.
It was of a face, that was turning from one side to the other.
And while it was turning, it was appearing to change.
From being whole, to being torn.
For the Art Show, it had been titled as “Rip”.
Aunt K must have believed that such a drawing, must surely be evil.
Taking it upon herself, she had rid it from her brother’s abode,
which she had basically stolen, and then discarded.
And it had become the very last attempt at art for me thereafter.
In a sense, she had ripped away my one very small ray of light of a talent.
And oh, how much more she continues to do again and again today.
With one too many visits to our abode she comes,
and tonight being another.