My Daughter Draws

No one really knows what's wrong with my daughter.

I mean, I shouldn't say it as plainly as that. I know I'm supposed to dance around the subject. I have to use safer language, and insist there's nothing "wrong" with her at all. People are simply different from each other, and that's all there is to it. She's just different.

I can't keep that up.

The word "wrong" was invented for situations like this. There is something W R O N G, "wrong", with her. It's not that she never speaks, or the fact that she's either staring intently at you for hours or ignoring you for whole days. It's not even the fact she barely eats and will hide in the strangest places, forgoing all activity, until you find her.

My daughter draws.

That's what's wrong. She draws with anything she can get her hands on, from the crayons, pens and pencils you'd expect to eyebrow pencils and "improvised paints". That's safe language for "food and condiments".

At first, the drawings were nothing to be concerned about. The awkward-looking ponies, slanted houses, and giant yellow Suns that radiated purposeful squiggles. I tried to praise her for this one expression of what she thought or felt, tried to hang the drawings up and give them places of importance… but soon there were far too many.

Then, her artwork took a turn.

Men of all shapes and sizes started appearing in her work. Tall, short, round, thin, I could go on, but you get the idea. They were the imperfect little creations of a silent Deity who seemed to have no particular fate in mind for them.

Some had one arm or leg shorter than the others. Hell, a good number of them had an extra limb or two. One eye would bulge while the other was merely a speck. Noses and mouths were a rare addition, especially on the same face. Every tiny man wore the same scribbled black outfit. Long sleeves, long pants, and occasionally a random hat thrown in for variety.

Their skin… it was never really "skin" colored. I'm not talking about the disappointingly singular "Flesh" color that comes in a box of crayons. I mean, the colors were never any sort of skin tone. They were purples, blues, greens, never pink or brown or anything between.

After a while, I tried to make her stop. I hid every drawing utensil I could find, and kept anything even remotely resembling "paint" in a cabinet where she couldn't reach it. I wanted the drawing to end.

It HAD to end.

At this point I'm sure I seem uncaring or even cruel toward my child. I don't blame you if you think that. I caught her etching an image with my lipstick, and I must've screamed at her for an hour… Truth be told, I'm not even sure if I AM being cruel, now.

It's just that I can't look at the men anymore.

They're always there. They watch me, even in my most private moments. Being two-dimensional, they have no problem simply sliding under a locked door or through it beside the frame.

The men that hiss are the ones that disturb me the most. It's a sort of electronic static squeal that just brings to mind some degraded transmission that persists despite the complete failure of the message.

Those that mumble aren't much better. They speak ceaselessly, always at my back or standing in circles around me… but at least I can understand them.

"She is hungry."

"She is afraid of the thunder."

"She wants to draw again."

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