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by Sonja Mattison
9/20/2017 / Short Stories
Dennis stared at the blank sheet of paper that covered his mahogany desk deciphering what he should draw. He wanted to empty his cobweb of ideas and form a masterpiece. He mused until he became weary of thinking, and finally plopped his head on the desk to rest, but drifted off into a deep coma-like sleep.
During his nap the Sun gleamed through his window. It was so bright that it awoke him. When he awoke he yawned, and stretched and looked out his window. He thought about the Sun, and how he idolized it with admiration. It often clarified his thinking such as the muddled thoughts that were confronting him at the moment. The Sun grew even brighter, and then Dennis’ mind unraveled with an idea of what to sketch.
He chose to create a timeless forest, so he picked up his pencil, and maneuvered it like a graceful feather blowing in the wind. He drew with confidence assured that this piece would be beyond originality and perfection, and incomparable to none. He paused and observed his incomplete sketch, and smiled. He was very proud.
Dennis labored in love, and then reminisced about how his passion for drawing had begun. He recalled how his insecurities were once his worst enemy. As a troubled adolescent, he craved for attention, friends, and to be accepted by his peers. But, instead he seemed to find himself surrounded by a sleuth of bad influences that were uninterested in school, yet enthusiastic about drinking and truancy.
He followed crowds for a support system to avoid loneliness. However, he only encountered more loneliness. In order to try to “fit in” he drank and ditched classes. Soon, he was headed for self-destruction. His drinking and unhealthy so-called friendships led him into a deep depression, but he continued to behave the same.
Life, to him, was passing him by. It was like an illusion. He was not focused, and failing every course in school. Since he was failing, he thought in order for him not to worry about passing or failing, the best solution would be to drop out, which is what he did. This made his life worse.
He now felt really withdrawn and his friends were no longer around. Dropping out of school made it even more difficult to mask his pain. His negligence later resulted in many regrets. Graduation came quicker than he expected.
On the day of graduation he went to the auditorium and stood outside for the whole ceremony until his fellow colleagues came outside. They were rejoicing, jumping up and down in jubilee celebrating their accomplishment(s). Huddling in circles they planned for parties and made arrangements to celebrate. Dennis watched them. He was unable to fathom why he made such decisions to forfeit this great opportunity. He resented the happiness that flourished through the graduates. He was embarrassed, disappointed, and miserable. Thinking about his bad choices he wanted to instantly start over and receive a diploma right then. Unfortunately though, it was not an option, and too late.
He shook his head in awe, sulked and walked home in tears. When he arrived home he tried to escape seeing his parents’ faces, and the scorn they would have in their eyes. As he attempted to skate around the corner up the stairs from the entrance of the foyer, he stumbled into his little 8 year old sister. She greeted him with a “Hi Dennis! I love you!” He battled holding back more tears as he reached down and kissed his sister on the cheek, and returned, “I love you too!” He looked into her innocent eyes, and was more mortified than ever.
He had set such a poor example for her while he loved her dearly. What a disappointment. Finally, he could make his way up to his room, but he did not escape the look of his parents’ discontent on their faces. When he entered his room he ignored the junk that lie before him. On the floor lied liquor bottles, cigarettes, and dirty clothes. He stepped over the mess and sat on his bed.
Putting his head between his knees he dwelled on how irresponsible he had been. He then lay on his back and studied the ceiling. He noticed its dullness and colorlessness; it was just like his life – clouded without ambition and negative dispositions on life. He stared at the ceiling one more time, and abrasively jumped up and punched the wall. He melted down again with unstoppable tears.
With a few breaths in between he looked at the punched-in wall and scanned his room. He could not remember the last time he had seen any school supplies. The only school supply he found was a black Sharpie felt-tip pen. He wanted, at last, to use his mind opposed to drinking and being lazy.
He picked up the Sharpie and decided to draw on the wall. The picture that he produced was an angry man. He stared at it. It was him all over while it was also a magnificent drawing. This inspired him. He could actually do something intellectual. Insecurities or drinking did not need to play a part in his life anymore. To replace them he would sketch every day and also read.
Sketching everyday turned into a hobby for Dennis, transpired into a lucrative hobby and finally a prosperous career. Dennis looked at his picture of the forest. It was not only beautiful, but a significance of his faith. It dawned on him that drawing near God saved him from self-destruction and graced him with a resting place in his soul. He also realized God had always been his guider and protector. He would never look back or give up.
Sonja Mattison currently resides in Clarkston, Georgia. She is an inspirational writer and the author of Thoughts of Mattii40. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia.
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