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"Elaiza, this is your room?"
I was shocked the first time I entered her room. Since she was a girl, I always expected her room to be something really girly, you know like neat and pink and white. But this, woah, she sure is taking it into a new level.
"You must be shocked at how I decorate my room," she chuckled a little bit and cleaned a space in her bed, enough for me to sit down. "So what do you think? It is what?" she twirled her hands around, as if displaying her room like it's a magnificent castle.
Unable to think of anything, I said, "Your room... it's uhh... unique."
"Totally different from what you expected huh?" she headed over to what I could call a small kitchen, but tripped on a stack of books she had placed on the ground. "Oh shoot," she muttered under her breath and put the books above the small paper bin, which apparently is also overflowing with crumpled papers.
"You okay? Let me help you with that," I rushed over her but she stopped me and gestured over somewhere outside a curtained window. "Im fine Elias, just go over there. I'll be back with the cookies and tea for a minute."
"Uh, okay, if you say so..." walking towards the curtain, I was pretty sure it would be the same as her room, but she does surprise me from time to time.
Instead of something like a graveyard, I found the castle I was looking for. Cream wallpaper adorned with small roses, like a background, stood out, and the tiles were shelly white, spotless except for a few drops of paint. The window on the far side was streaming the room with sunlight, the breeze whipping the small white curtains away. Yet it wasn't its difference with the other room that surprised me. It was her paintings.
I've always known that she loved painting ever since I've gotten quite close to her. But I didn't know it would be to this extent. Just in front of me was an almost-finished portrait of Mona Lisa, yet instead of the usual picture where only the shoulder above was shown, it was Mona Lisa's whole body.
It was eerie yet at the same time breathtaking to see that she actually copied the Mona Lisa's face so perfectly. I was entranced by her painting's beauty that I haven't notice another painting in the room, a painting of me.
"Hey Elias, you okay? You haven't said something for a while." She appeared out of nowhere carrying the tray of teacups and cookies. Looking around and then coming closer after setting the tray down, she looked at me and said, "Are you sick? Hello? "
After a while, I snapped out of my entrancement and finally said a word. "Wow."
"Huh? What's wow?"
"You did all these paintings? These are like, a masterpiece. Especially this Mona Lisa your version-whatsoever. I didn't know you could be this talented."
"Oh that silly fan-fiction over there? Don't be so shocked. I told you I love to paint some things that interest me. Here have some." she held out the cookies to me and talked for a bit. "I told you already that I love painting right?" Without waiting for my reply she continued on."My grandfather and grandmother on my dad's sides were painters. They always loved to paint whatever they think was interesting. Sadly, the never sold any, claiming that they put too much of themselves on it to display it in a museum. And they never have done anything except painting. They didn't even know how to carry a livelihood, like farming, or even the simplest things like sewing.
"Eventually, they found out that life was getting harder and harder, especially with two children on tow. Yet, they couldn't stop painting. Everyday they would start a painting, without ever finishing it. And then the next day they would finish the painting, except for one little detail, they wouldn't put the eyes. As if it was such a big deal, as if they were blinding their own paintings to reality. That happened on and on. They took care of their paintings, yet never their children. My dad's younger brother grew weaker and weaker, and then died at the summer of 1974. I remember my dad saying it to me. It was like a simple passing, a simple day of goodbye. And then, that was the time that my grandparents started putting out the first eyes of their own painting. But it was indeed only one eye. They never made the second eye. My dad didn't like the whole situation at all, and so he ran away."
I pondered at her story, her face a stoic stone, as if she's shutting her emotions out. "What happened then?"
It was that time that her voice did waver.
"My dad, well, he became successful. He did some things and then became a businessman. Then he met my mom, my real mom, who also happened to be a painter, yet she didn't want anyone to know. I was still five at that time, when I heard them fighting. when I opened my bedroom door, dad was hurling a huge suitcase to my mom. When my mom left, the maids cleaned up the room, I saw a little painting, like this small," she held her hands apart like the the length of a bondpaper. "It was a picture of two people, two old people, with their own painting of just one eye. It was a painting of my grandparents and their own masterpiece. At the back was written 1975, a year after my dad's brother died. The day after my dad left. It was my mom's first painting, and the masterpiece in the picture was my grandparents' last. My dad was pretty upset at that time. So I clutched the picture and it was then that I started to paint. L:ike the real painting stuff. I went to the attic and I saw some of mom's paintings and dozens of canvases and stacks of paints, and I started drawing."
"I've painted ever since that day, even after my dad threatened and actually did disown me, leaving enough to cover my needs for 5 years."
She didn't notice it, but she was already crying. I edged closer to her and laid her head under mine. It wasn't a comfortable postion, yet at least I was comforting her. I thought the story was over, but she continued on.
"My room, this place, I've always tried following my mom, y'know. I was here because I finally found the place that mom stayed over the years. Now, even if she has a new family, even if she had forgotten about me, I never can.
" I always had that habit to keep my room dirty. It's like a remnant of her. When I was like really young, she'd allow me to play and play, I didn't even have to clean." she gave out a little laugh. "And even when she left, I guess it's like having a part of her, no matter how small it is."