The Canvas

February 24, 2008
By
A long forgotten friend would constantly draw pictures for this girl. He was known as Jason. Jason was a simple boy, who was misunderstood by the world. But there was one girl who saw him through it all; Hannah.

Everybody knew, even Hannah herself knew that Jason was destined to be an artist. He had the knack for art. He had the mind for art, and above all, he had the soul of a true artist. Hannah loved seeing the way Jason had a burning passion, when he was drawing or painting, and she loved it when he drew pictures just for her.

Along with each and every picture he drew, Jason made up individual stories to describe them. He felt that a picture wasn’t one sided, there were many dimensions and views to a single piece of work. There was never a drawing, where there wasn’t symbolism in it.
“Why is it snowing in his bedroom?” Hannah asked Jason, as they were going through his unorganized sketch book.
“Because that shows how cold his personality is.” Jason answered. When Hannah didn’t respond, Jason struggled to think of conversation; something smooth to say, so that he could lessen the large gap between them.

With ever-changing shades of reluctance, a void grew within Jason. He could not put his finger on what was turning his mind into mush. He was relentlessly filled with a deep pain of temporary happiness.

Hannah and Jason spent a bright summer beneath the sun-baked trees. They swung high on the swings, and gazed up at the bright constellation of stars. One night, Jason asked her the big question.
“Hannah, where do you see yourself in 10 years?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Probably traveling…Doing something good. Maybe changing people’s lives in Africa or something.”
You don’t have to travel to Africa to change someone’s life. You’ve already changed mine. Jason had thought to himself.
“What about you? Where do YOU see yourself?” Hannah had emphasized.
“I see myself having my own studio, where I can display all the artwork I’ve created.”
“That sounds like a good idea. Can you promise you’ll remember me when you’re big and famous?”
“Don’t worry Hannah, I’ll always remember you.” Jason promised.

The two of them did everything best friends did together. Hannah and Jason were slowly growing up. Teaching each other lessons, they knew that they could never replace each other. He loved how Hannah understood his imperfection, and easily accepted it. Hannah liked how Jason was different from all the other boys at school.

Jason drew all sorts of pictures for Hannah throughout their time together. He mainly drew intense war and fighting scenes. But then, as time went on, the pictures gradually changed. They grew softer, and more delicate. Hannah made him draw certain places, and unusual faces so that he would never forget the wonderful things life held. He drew her an old and fragile man, clutching something small. She never could quite figure out what it was that he was holding onto so tightly.

Hannah got a chill down her spine, when she gazed at any of Jason’s paintings. Their friendship had somehow blossomed into a beautiful rose. And clenched within her grasp, Hannah had something she hadn’t known she had. Something that she had taken for granted.

The teenage idiocy kept them hanging on, fearful of what life would have been like, without their benevolence. And after a while, Jason knew the only real thing he could offer her was himself. He confessed his undying love for her, and told her he had always felt that way. At first, they’d exchanged awkward glances. Hannah thought for a second, allowing the moment to soak in, rapidly rendering her speechless. A moment later, she replied with a slight nod.
“Do you like me back?” Jason had asked. His conscious rose, and his spirits fell. There was a tiny fragment of time, where no words were exchanged.
“I’m sorry, Jason. You’re my best friend, and nothing more.” The gentle twinkle in his eyes, and his quivering lip, made it clear that he was devastated. He drew one last sketch of a girl who left him battered and bruised.

Along with fall, the days became darker, and more crisp, with a touch of summer waiting to break free. The bitterness of winter not only made the air feel stale, but it also tainted innocent hearts.

It wasn’t that Hannah didn’t love him back, there was no doubt there was love for Jason, deep down inside of her. But Hannah was afraid of what other people would think. She was popular nice, and smart. She had been Jason’s only friend. She walked out of his life like he had meant nothing to her. And no matter how much she tried to deny her love for Jason, they would be entwined forever.

She remembered back to when he had asked her if she liked him back. Did I make the wrong choice? Hannah thought silently. The question lingered in her mind for a while. Maybe, just maybe, he was worth it all along.

The friendship they once shared unraveled in the blink of an eye. Jason gave up on love, because he knew he would never be good enough for her. When word got out, and he discovered that Hannah didn’t like him back, his thoughts flew towards an undecided destination. He knew he would soon be forgotten. Jason couldn’t blame Hannah for his heartache though, because high school was full of unavoidable disappointments.

Days, months, and years passed by, and that same young girl walked into his art studio. Stunned to see his childhood crush, Jason let loose, and scurried passed her. Two lifetimes ago, he would have grabbed Hannah’s hand. Two lifetimes ago, they had been friends. Two lifetimes ago, they’d been walking down the same paths. But like all things, they had changed.

Hannah had stood there staring in astonishment, gazing at the painting of a familiar face she had grown away from. Underneath the painting, she read a little plaque written by Jason which said, “I was almost certain this was the love of my life, that one special someone. She was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, because when I held her, I knew I had everything I had ever wanted.” A sharp pain shot through her chest. Tears formed, and blurred her vision. Everything came rushing back to her. Summer. Butterflies. Compassion. Heat. Laughter. Realization. Sorrow. Dreams. Promises. Vulnerability. Lies. Memories. Love. She had taken a second to think. Jason reappeared and stood right beside her. Hannah stumbled, and turned to another recognizable picture; the old man--holding something in his pale, wrinkled hand. It took her years to finally realize the poor man was grasping onto his heart.

Soon, they were both drenched in tears. Hannah looked up into Jason’s eyes. And she had pointed directly at his chest, right where the loud unpredictable beating of his heart was. It had hurt much more than he had expected. And then she had quietly said, "You’re not going to give that away again. You'll keep that, won't you?"





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