I look at the pencil in my hands and I wonder why I do this to myself. The pencil is green, with yellow dots decorating it. Suddenly, my hand and pencil start to move, as if on their own. They begin to draw a face. A face of a girl they have drawn so many times they no longer need my permission to draw her. They draw her the way she looked the last time I saw her. Her graduation cap is slightly tipped back and her golden hair spills out from underneath it. Her small, delicate mouth is smiling. A wonderful, angelic smile that brings joy to all it falls upon. But it is a smile that never quite reaches her eyes. Her eyes, a beautiful dark green, tell a different story. They have a certain empty, hollow look, yet they are filled with a deep, crushing sorrow. A sorrow that no matter how hard I try, I can never take away.
Finally, my pencil and my hand stop, their drawing complete. They have drawn her face. The same face they draw every day. The same face that I loved and cherished for my entire last year of school. The same face, with the same smile and same eyes that belonged to a girl who laughed and cried with me, went with me to the prom, and was the top of her class. The same face that was taken away from me the day after graduation, by an idiot driving so fast in a blue car that he couldn't stop from hitting this wonderful, beautiful girl on her bike on her way to the library.
My hand, holding my pencil, now enraged through the grief in my heart, hurls the pencil across the room. My feet and legs make me stand, leaving the drawing of her face on my desk. They walk me out the door, past my blue car with the mangled front, and to the place six blocks away where she is now at. Once they find her, they force me to drop to my knees in front of her. My head presses itself against the cool, rough surface of her gravestone, and I weep.
As I weep, the world weeps with me, drowning out my cries and tears with its own, soaking me to the bone. The world and I, we cry together for the one we lost. We cry knowing that tomorrow, my hand will find that green pencil with the yellow dots and, without my permission, they will draw her face again.
Practice makes perfect, or so they say. I sit down at my desk, pick up my pencil, and draw her face.Her delicate, smiling mouth, her sad hollow eyes, her small, pert nose, and her golden hair spilling out from a slightly tipped back graduation cap. I draw her the same way I have been drawing her the same way she looked the last time I saw her. I sit back, my drawing complete. As I look at it, I smile. They were right. After months of practice, this drawing is perfect. There isn’t a line out of place, or a detail missed. Carefully, I slide it into a picture frame, then hold it out in front of me to look at it again. The memory of that day still hurts, but not as bad as it once did. Somehow, nobody but me knows that I was the one who caused the accident that took her life. I loved her, more than I knew I did, and by some cruel twist of fate, I killed her. But that is in the past now, and I have to force myself to move on.
I sigh, then place the picture on top of my clothes in my suitcase lying open on the floor. I zip up my suitcase, then, as I walk out the door of my room, I look back one last time. It looks so empty now, but that is good. I’m leaving, and no part of me needs left behind. I close my bedroom door for the last time, then head outside. When I get outside, I smile. My parents are waiting for me next to my new red truck. They help me with my suitcase, then tell me goodbye. My mother is crying, telling me that I had better be home for Christmas. I get in, pull out of the drive, and drive away.
Abruptly, after about six blocks, I pull over and park. I get out, and walk into the cemetery.It doesn’t take me long to find her grave, and when I do, I kneel down and rest my head on her headstone. I place one hand against her name, and I sigh. This will be the last time I come here. I pull a pencil out of my pocket, and lay it down next to the flowers her parents must have brought. It was a green pencil, with yellow dots. I get up, walk back to my truck, and quickly leave. I get out on the highway, and turn on the radio. My first day of college is this week, and I’m headed to the campus dorms so I can get my room key and unpack. The dorms are furnished, and the first thing I’m going to put on the desk, is the picture of her face.
© Avery, 2018. All rights reserved.