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They lived in adobe houses…
We were all given rulers and shared chalk. The instructions were to draw a town, a grouping of homes that Indians lived in. I took my time, making sure of straight lines. They were over lapping rectangles carefully colored in light brown, hinting at clay, with a richer, darker color distinguishing the borders.
Finally, it was time for the sky.
Done with the ladders and windows and walls.
The one part I could choose for myself.
Soil doesn’t come in various colors.
I scanned the options, like sorting through flavors of freedom.
I picked purple. I picked red, and orange and pink. A little bit of yellow, just a touch, and blended them in.
Fingers covered in dust, I took a step back, looking at it all.
I smiled at it, just what I’d meant it to be.
I felt warm and sunny all over, inside.
Satisfied, I now parted my focus, only to discover nearly the whole class had finished while I’d been immersed in my own little world.
Feeling slightly guilty at making everyone wait, I carefully lifted the piece in my arms and hurried my pace towards the teacher.
She took it without mention of my timing.
I searched for a sink, relieved.
Before I started heading in another direction, I heard her voice, talking to the class. Anything Teacher had to say was important, we needed to stop and pay attention so as not to miss instruction. Teacher shouldn’t have to spend her time repeating herself. She deserved respect, so did they all. Quickly, I turned back around, looked up, and listened.
Then I wished I’d moved away, hadn’t stopped.
She was holding up my picture, showing it to the class. Pointing out my choices, my colors, my sunset. Saying maybe next time they could be more like me, more creative, more artistic.
She may as well have been staying mine was perfect, and theirs’ weren’t.
At this, I wished I could crawl up into my cubbyhole and go unnoticed.
I liked my sunset. I loved my sunset. My sunset was perfect to me, but it was mine.
I didn’t want to impose it on them. I didn’t want them to think I was better. I hadn’t meant for them to call it better.
I hadn’t made it for them, I’d made it for me.
Teacher didn’t get this though. Teacher was there to teach. Now she was trying to teach us to consider our choices. I respected this. She meant it as a compliment, she hadn’t meant otherwise, she didn’t realize. I only wished she hadn’t mentioned my name to the class; but she meant it as a compliment, so I took it as a compliment and observed the granite tiles intently.
Choice of colors… Mine was different. Unique. Special. Curiosity.
I glanced over at the table nearby, filled with all the other pieces.
I noticed the similarity between them, the difference in mine.
The sky, solid blue, repeated like mirrors, over and over, through out.