In the Shoes of an Eight-Year-Old

Trying to fit myself into the shoes of an eight-year-old. Just a little story to keep me (and you all) from going insane. Been a while since I tried something like this, so I hope you enjoy it. : )

 

– Puteri –
by Mari Anjeli Lubrica
March 2, 2010

Our class has an assignment – Teacher gave it to us this morning. In my mind’s eye, I can still see how she wrote those startling white words across the school blackboard:

“Standard 2 Assignment Number 1: Draw a picture of yourself and bring it to class next week.”

I wanted to protest. I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Teacher, can you give us another assignment? This one is too difficult.” But I didn’t. All my other classmates looked very excited and I knew that, though Teacher would smile kindly at me, she would just say, “No, Puteri. That is your assignment. I will not change it. Bring the drawing to class next week.”

I wanted to cry when Ayah picked me up from school. He gave me a gentle look, and when I put on my seatbelt, he asked, “Is everything okay, Puteri?”

“Mmmm.” I did not want him to know how worried I was about school and my assignment. I tried to give my Ayah a smile but he just raised his eyebrows.

“If you say so.”

I hurried out of the car once we arrived home and ran to my room, looking for a box of crayons. Though the assignment was good for one whole week, I wanted to finish it quickly, so that I would not have to think about it anymore.

But I did not find any crayons in my room. Of course, there weren’t any THERE. I didn’t draw. I couldn’t. My Ayah drew, and he even painted. So did my big brother. So did my big sister. But not me. I couldn’t draw.

So I went to my big sister’s room and saw a box of beautiful crayons. But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to touch it or use it. I was afraid that I would only break the beautiful set.

I went back to my room and took my writing pencil from my schoolbag. The lead was blunt because I had used it the whole day. The eraser was almost gone, and the body had bite marks all over it – I chewed on my pencil whenever I got sad or nervous.

That would have to do.

I brought my writing tablet out (I could not bear to draw on a nice white piece of paper) and started to draw. Or tried to draw.

First I tried to draw a circle and put in two small dots that would have to do for my eyes. Then I drew a line in the place where you would probably find my neck.

Ugly.

I ripped the paper out from my tablet, crumpled it up, and threw it across my room.

So I tried to draw another picture. An oblong – I had seen my big sister draw it this way. And then lines for hair. Small half circles for eyes.

Ugly, ugly, ugly.

I ripped out the paper, crumpled it up, and also threw that one across my room.

I had seen my big brother use squiggly lines to make people’s faces. He said that THAT was the proper way to draw. Maybe I could try that. I tried to do a squiggle – but it did NOT look like a person.

Ugly, ugly, ugly!

There were now three crumpled up pieces of paper lying on the floor across my room.

Tears were filling up my eyes as I angrily scribbled hard black lines on my tablet. If I submitted that big, black mess to my teacher, it would be okay, because I was like that mess anyway. The drawing didn’t look like anything because – fiddlesticks – I wasn’t good enough for anything anyway. I was just a tiny, tiny mess of a person who doesn’t know how to draw.

I did not hear my Ayah come in.

“Puteri, is everything alright?”

I did not answer.

“Puteri?”

I looked at my Ayah, bursting into tears. “We’re supposed to draw a picture of ourselves for our assignment!” I showed him my picture. “I can’t do it! I cannot draw!”

Ayah smiled at me gently and came to my side, a box of brand new crayons and a piece of white paper in his hands. “Here, Puteri. Let me help you.”

With one hand, my Ayah wiped away my tears, and with the other, placed a brown crayon in my right hand. With his right hand guiding mine, he helped me draw the shape of a girlish face. He took a red piece of crayon, placed it in my hand, and helped me draw a smile. He took a purple one, let my fingers hold it, and helped me draw a beautiful dress. He then took a yellow one, placed that last crayon in my hands, and helped me draw a crown.

“There you go, Puteri. There’s your drawing of yourself.”

I was amazed because I was holding in my hand a beautiful drawing of a princess.

I looked at my Ayah, saw his loving smile, and smiled back at him.

“Thank you, Ayah.”

“You’re welcome, my Puteri.”

I looked at the beautiful Puteri and felt very excited to hand in my beautiful, beautiful assignment.

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