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My fingers tap to a rhythm on the binder, randomly changing from one tune to the next, beating out the disjointed nature of my thoughts. While one hand taps, the other draws. Effortlessly the vision in my mind grows on the page, lines gradually taking recognizable shapes. It’s not always this easy, but today I’m in a focused artistic mode where everything seems to make sense. Or at least, the art makes sense, not much else does. It’s not until I look down at the page that I realize what I’ve been idly drawing.
“Gatsby…” I breath, then laugh quietly at the irony. He stood at the top of a staircase, gazing into the distance at the green light that marked where Daisy was. His expression was wistful, and yet full of hope. Not unlike mine I suppose. I filled in some more detail, drawing out his features more so that he’s more lifelike. I keep drawing, adding more and more realistic touches to him, imagining I can actually see him he’s so realistic.
“What are you doing?” a voiced asked. I jumped and looked around, but all my friends are eating lunch, enjoying the sun, not paying any attention to me.
“Claire” I call.
“Yes?” she turns to look at me.
“Did you say something?” I ask.
“No…?” she replies, “I haven’t said anything.”
“That’s strange…” I mumble and I go back to my drawing again.
“I said, what are you doing?” the voice asks again. I jump again now thoroughly sure that I heard the voice. There is still no one around me, I am sitting on a bench away from the others.. I glance down at the page and nearly fall off the bench from surprise. Gatsby has turned to look at me and his arms are crossed in from of him, crinkling the freshly pressed pink suit I had drawn him in. I watch the page cautiously, wondering if I lost my mind. Gatsby was moving inside the page, almost like a movie, as if the page was a screen.
“What do you mean, what am I doing? I would have thought it was obvious,” I reply in amazement, then blush at the thought of being caught talking to a drawing.
“I don’t mean drawing, although I like the job you did on me, you appreciate my taste in clothing,” Gatsby says. My eyebrows rise unintentionally, it is a somewhat new experience being complimented on your drawing ability by the drawing itself.
“What I meant,” Gatsby goes on, “is why are you drawing? Isn’t there something you should be doing?”
“I don’t understand what you mean,” I say evasively although it is probably a futile endeavor. He is my drawing after all, he is inside my head and probably knows what I am thinking. Gatsby glances suggestively and I look in that direction for only a split second before staring down at Gatsby again, cheeks flaming bright pink.
“Shouldn’t you be talking to him instead of moping in the corner doodling your daydreams?” he demanded of me.
“I.. I don’t know what to say,” I protest.
“Oh come on old sport! You’ve been daydreaming about the conversations you would like to have with him, you know exactly what you want to say to him and what you want to talk about,” Gatsby admonishes.
“But… I just don’t want to embarrass him and we’ve been doing so well as friends…” I trail off realizing how feeble all of those excuses sound.
“Haven’t I always said you can change the past? Well the way you’re acting you won’t even be able to change the future!” Gatsby says exasperatedly, then softens his tone, “You hope just like me, I can see it. It’s sad watching you admire from a distance.”
“Yeah, I’m hopeful, look where that got you,” I shoot back venomously
“I tried to change myself. That’s why you’re afraid, you’re afraid of being told you’re not enough. But you’re exactly enough, nothing more nothing less. Too much and you end up like me, too little and you want to become like me. Go after him,” Gatsby encouraged softly. I cannot deny that I have been wanting to for a very long time, held back only by embarrassment. But now it seems silly that I should waste time on that when the opportunity is right in front of me.
“You know, I think I will! Thank you Mr. Gatsby,” I say, genuinely glad despite the fact that my advice just came from a talking drawing.
“Call me Jay.”
“Okay, thank you Jay.” He smiles. I leave my pencil and drawing sitting on the bench next to my things and go to join the conversation. Gatbsy watches satisfactorily as my face lights up when I am invited to sit next the boy I have been watching. Anyone looking at the page would see the slight smile appear on his face as he gazes out into the distance where I am. But they tell themselves, they must be imagining things.