Feelings

Gone to colours! (Conclusion)

By Jing Villamil

AMONG the children of the subdivision who learned the basics of acrylic or oil on canvas from the artist-in-residence were these high school kids who were primarily sent to fetch their younger siblings home to lunch, dinner, or a nap. Eventually, the teeners stayed a little longer, intrigued then entranced, too, with the sight of colours marching, dancing its way across the canvas! The sun glared, winked; blue, green waves waved. Beckoned; the sand a dash of diamond sprinkles. She was so good with her brush; she was as good with her touch. The audience gaped open their mouths, their eyes; and their minds to a world beyond their ordinary here and near! And this fifteen-year old teener was touched more; it was escapism at its most enchanting! He was a mid-child, fourth of seven boys, and the last two were twins. And the lawyer-mother was still waiting for a girl! Their father was an engineer-contractor. (The mid-child syndrome is never a joke; you are not taken seriously; you are passed-by or simply ignored. You are just one too many. Often, the mid-child escapes the indifference of home and family to a more caring, creative, exciting world where one is important, a person; not just a shadow, a ghost.)

In the artist’s home, the walls were soon filled with the painter- aspirants’ amateur tries, a lot of these amazingly promising. When the dark-eyed painter daubed paint from her pallet to the canvas, the children daubed same. These copycats produced near-perfect copy arts!

The boy got to staying longer and longer. He even brought his books and assignments to finish there. And brought home uniforms daubed with paints and turpentine smells. For the first time in his life, he felt alive! His cheeks were blushed pink, his steps were brisk, his shoulders straight, and his head high. He even stammered less.

It was Utopia made in heaven!

Until the clouds burst, and the subdivision dropped to earth. And reality hit it harder than hard.

When all the hundred paintings were all in place on the walls of the almost a hundred hotel rooms and the rest framed along hallways, the artist held a farewell and thank you feast, of special cakes and cookies and fruits and juices. The pretty mommies’ tears fell, and hugs were profusely dispersed. The baby howled still. The next day the artist loaded herself and her baby into her Volks, her things to be hauled later.

At the end of the day, the home has emptied into a mere house. The children went through the blanked spaces, and heard the echoes of their steps. And their sighs. With their help, she had cleared the place; they had accomplished a lot here, it deserved a proper closing. The kids’ miniatures now hang proudly on their own walls at home.

The mid-child was last to leave. He clicked the gate firmly shut. He walked briskly to his home. He clicked shut their gate, their front door, his bedroom door. His toilet door.

Next day, a school day, when a maid finally realized one of the seven sons had not eaten his breakfast, she went looking for him. The mid-child had hung himself with his father’s belt hooked round the thick shower curtain pipe.

He really could not go back to his former colorless life. Not a parent had a clue he needed to be told a more colorful life waits for him later, but not yet, not know. He could not wait. He, too, had gone. Gone to colours.

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