It was the Boy who conceived me.  He sat at a squat table swinging his legs, the laces of both shoes dangling.  His tongue stuck out at the right corner of his mouth. 
I started life as a piece of orange construction paper pressed up tightly against the other colors in the pack—green and pink and yellow and blue.  The teacher opened the pack and fanned us out upon the table.  The Boy chose me.  The Boy changed me.

The Boy cut me into what you humans call a heart.  Coated me thickly in glue.  And then, he covered me with a white paper doily and rubbed at it with his thumb to smooth out the glue.
“Mommy will love this,” he told me as he affixed two eyes crookedly to me.  The boy filled me with purpose and intent and slowly, I began to take shape.
He painted on a green nose and a smile of yellow.
He shook glitter over me-gold and silver and red and blue.
He attached a thick stick to my back. 
“You’re beautiful,” the Boy whispered.
* * *
At eleven o’clock, you picked the Boy up from preschool.  His face was beaming.  You had your head bowed over your cell phone.
“Look, Mommy!” The Boy held out his gift to you.  “Look what I made for you.”
You glanced up.  Frowned.  “Hearts aren’t orange, silly.”  You took me in your hand.  You placed a thumb in my wet yellow smile.  “Oh,” you said.  “Thank you.”  You painted on your own smile as some of my glitter spilled across your pretty white sweater. 
You looked at another mother.  Spoke through your teeth.  “Why the hell does she let them use glitter?”
You took me home and posted me on the refrigerator, where I’ll remain until another messy project replaces me.   Every time you look at me, I can see you considering: Is it too early to sneak that into the bottom of the trash can?

You find me too gluey, too glittery, too messy. 
I know you don’t want me.  I know you don’t love me.
But the thing is, the Boy knows it too.
This prompt was written in response to GiftedDam Burst – Since many of you don’t appear to be being challenged enough, we’re going to step our game up a little for the Dam Burst prompts…starting today. You get to play the part of the gift (Mwah ha ha!) Write a piece in which you, the gift, have fulfilled your destiny—to be given to someone… only they don’t want you. Good luck!

Story Dam

13 thoughts on “Gifted

  1. Oh my goodness you messed with my emotions here! The you really hooked me with the opening line. I loved the little boy and the valentine. I could see him picking out the perfect piece of orange construction paper. And then came the mom… I was so mad at her and then I was afraid I had been like her now and then with all the hundreds of art projects that come home every week. And that last line? Hearbreaking and true. Kids know.

  2. You hooked me, too, and then brought me down with the way the mother treated the gift. Sadly, there are many parents like that. I guess that knowledge makes this even sadder. Fabulous job!

  3. That was just too damn sad! I will never throw away another one of my kids creations again . . . of course, we typically don’t 🙂

    This was really great!

  4. Oh, that just hits you right where it hurts…damn, I always try to make sure my kids know I love whatever they make me…even if I am plotting on ways to get some of it into the trash 😉 There is just WAY too much art created in my house.

    Loved this!

  5. Oh my, that is heartbreakingly true.
    Beautiful, thoughtful, insightful and frank. Every parent who forgets what happens when their kids’ art creations are being created should read this one.

  6. Hi, Kelly. Is that your name? I’m too impatient to go looking for it. I’m bouncing around looking at WriteOnEdge blogs. And you? I love yours best so far. I don’t use the word h-a-t-e often but I’m really close with regards to a mom who is a color nazi. Poor baby. I will hug Boy and tell him his heart is beautiful and will be on my fridge FOREVER!!!!

  7. Reading this a second time, it still makes me feel guilty…

    One small piece of constructive criticism for you: the boy is talking to the art through most of this, except the one part where you say “Mom will love this” – with this POV, have him be consistent and say she will love “you”.

    Aside from that, this is great! Awesome take on the prompt. Very heart-felt.

Comments are closed.