Read the intro to Words In Color here.
Delerium featuring Sarah McLachlan – Silence
Words In Color – Chapter 2
In the still of my world, when the turmoil called my life seems, at last, unbearable, I wrap myself in the one saving grace I own. One day, they’ll take me far from here, show me truth, teach me love, give me peace.
Dustin stood over his drawing in the parking lot reading the words for the umpteenth time digesting every syllable as if it were the water of life. He hadn’t expected her to reply, except for maybe a “Hi,” but she had and written a poem no less. A smile parted his lips as he read her name, Amity. It reminded him of the horror movie. He shuddered to think a parent would name their kid after such a horrible thing. “Poor girl, no wonder she’s like a hermit,” he thought.
He’d noticed her a few months back when he moved here. Another apartment to add to his sketch book of broken promises, right behind the promise of a house with a yard big enough for a dog, a bike and set of oil paints, but that was before everything went to hell. Before his mom left.
Dustin didn’t half blame her. If she would’ve asked him to go with her, he would have, tired of the screaming arguments, the tension, the sadness. Now there was just sadness mixed with the occasional tension about his grades and why they weren’t higher than their regular A and B status.
Turning toward her apartment Dustin wondered if Amity were even there, maybe watching him out the window. Not that he knew which window was hers, but guessed it was the one upstairs, just like his. He squinted trying to get a better view through the darkness, but quickly decided it was too late for anyone to be up doing anything, much less observing the grounds.
This was his favorite time to be out, eleven or later. No one to bother you, no over bearing heat to make you wish you were dead and no sound. The silence was his peace, not that he didn’t get it at home, but this was different. This silence made him feel alive as though within his being began to grow the person he really was, wanted to be.
Visions of paintings, sketches, sculptures floated through his mind each distinctly different, but all his creation. He took out his chalk, knelt to the ground and studied the surface. The sidewalk was smooth. Better than the carport, but more foot traffic. He could only hope the dyslexic dog didn’t choose this spot to leave his deposit, a horror Dustin discovered a few weeks ago when exiting his apartment in a rush to get to school. He still couldn’t figure out why the dog went on the sidewalk instead of stepping four inches into the grass.
He remembered how the day stunk, literally. Without an extra set of shoes he was stuck. Wiping it in the grass didn’t help except to push it further into the grooves on the bottom of his Vans. Even turning the hose on it seemed a waste of time given the water pressure wouldn’t go higher than a dribble. So off he’d gone to school, soggy shoe smelling of dog poo. If there was anything that said, “Stay away from me,” louder than that, Dustin didn’t know what it could be.
Pulling an orange piece of chalk from a small case he began to draw. For some reason he thought of his mom. He wondered where she was. Thirteen months and three days ago she’d sent a postcard from New York. Her words seemed light and airy, “Getting to know the city. It’s so beautiful! Can’t wait for you to come visit.” Visit. The word made him feel less a part of her life than he ever had. Did she really only think of him as a visitor? The thought made him pause remembering the picture on the card, an aerial shot of Central Park. Sure it looked pretty, but there were lots of parks where they lived in Oregon. Heck, who needed a park when the entire forest was your backyard, Dustin wondered.
Putting a knee down and stretching his arm as far as he could to the left, he finished the outline of the drawing, which now spanned two and a half sidewalk squares. Next he grabbed white and started another sketch in the center. His hand flowed freely as if he were tracing lines already on the ground.
Dustin wasn’t sure why he could draw the pictures in his mind, he just knew that if he didn’t he couldn’t focus on anything else. They were like firefly’s trapped in a jar aimlessly throwing themselves against the glass until someone let them out. Sometimes he thought it a curse, up all night drawing until his hand hurt so bad he couldn’t even do his homework. Yet he felt somehow fulfilled if not relieved, to give them life.
The cool air felt good on the back of his neck. He leaned on his hand and looked up at Amity’s window. For a second, he thought he saw the faintest flicker of light, but decided it was a reflection of the street lamp in the window. Grabbing a handful of chalk he began to fill in the sketch using various colors. He liked this chalk. It actually stuck pretty well without smearing.
Dustin worked peacefully filling in details and accents from his vision. Finishing the final touches he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning from his work he strained to see who or what it could be. The light was horrible and his eyes were having a hard time adjusting, but whatever it was couldn’t be bigger than a cat.
“Probably after a mouse,” Dustin thought returning to his work. Not more than a few minutes later the noise maker made itself known running across the chalk art leaving muddy footprints in its wake.
“Damn it!” Dustin whispered under his breath looking after the cat as if it might offer an apology.
Licking his finger he began to rub the mud off wiping it on the grass. Luckily it was mainly across the top of the sketch, but still annoying. He managed to get most of it off then colored over it using the orange chalk again, which didn’t entirely hide the obvious paw prints, but he hoped she didn’t notice.
Dustin sat back and looked at his creation. He nodded, a grin on his face. He was pleased despite the cat’s contribution. He laid back on the grass, his hands behind his head, and looked up again at Amity’s window. He wondered what she might do when she saw it and wished he could see her when she did. For a minute he debated spying on her, but decided it was dumb since he had no idea when she woke or came outside.
Laying in the still dark night Dustin was reminded of his home in Oregon. It wasn’t odd for him to sleep outside in the summer, alone, under the stars with only a blanket. After getting the hammock it was even easier. He could fall asleep right now if he wasn’t afraid Amity would find him under her window in the morning, drool running down his face.
The thought spurred him to collect his chalk and head home. As he stood to leave he looked toward her window one last time and smiled as if she were watching him through the curtains. He turned to leave contemplating when he should come back to check on his drawing and not for more paw prints.