Crisis This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   She had a tiny crisis.

She had a beautiful spring day - sun like a fire on a brilliantmirrored pond - and an assignment.

Color the outdoors onto paper? It wasludicrous in her mind. Color the outdoors streamed in italics on the membranes ofher eyelids - a special and cynical emphasis. Not a hope. She looked out thewindow and rolled a crayon between her three-inch clenched fist and her desk,which was flat and brown, with no outdoors left in the wood at all under thevarnish and glue spots and marker-stain battle wounds.

"Color whatyou see outdoors." It rolled in her mind, and tumbled, and she played withit like skipping stones on that brilliant pond that embodied the day that was theoutdoors at that very minute. She felt the succulent blue pulsing through herfingers, toying with her senses; she could taste it like a tawny brush of copperwire on her tongue.

It swelled in her gut until it was almost unbearable."Color the outdoors," it sang, teasing like a maypole swinging in thewinter winds, asking her to come play.

Her eyes were closed and insidethem, between the rods and cones, she was writing hymnals and prayer books,silently worshipping that color outdoors. And a tiny flame danced on a wickbehind her eyelids. It burned in the church her eyes built, warming the altar andicons within it. A candle danced in the breeze that came in, because that churchher eyes built had no walls.

Cold metal pressed her elbow where herarm lay on the desk. It takes steel bars to hold a drawing surface steady. Therewas a hand clenched on her shoulder to remind her, as well. She had anassignment. "Color what you see outdoors" was 30 minutes long, and herchurch, it had taken 29.

The hand tapped twice on the paper that layblank and white on the dead wood on which her crayons rolled, not quite stable."Thump-thump" on the desk, and she saw matches behind her eyelids,matches striking hard against the sky.

Her church burned to the ground.The altar going like a pyre, and the candle melting down one side, not the other.Yes, those hymnals, those Bibles, they burned and their covers flapped likebroken pigeons in a gust of sordid wind that smelled like trouble.

Thatgreat fire swirled and engulfed, it embraced the color that was praised there,and in that minute, it took the color from her and left her tiny head spinning inthe wind that carried soot and ashes into her wide open eyes.

And now,with the day, the assignment, over, she walked to the front to present to thathand clenched on her shoulder the Outdoors, a pond of tears so beautiful that itdefied color, defied crayons and defied the outdoors itself. A miracle pond withtraces of charred scripture for the offering.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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