"The Purest And Most Thoughtful Minds Are Those Which Love Color The Most."
- John Ruskin
I continue stroking my blue finger across the canvas, leaving behind a blue line to complete my painting. I use the back of my hand to push up my glasses and nod feeling proud of myself.
Finger painting is indeed a wonderful way of creating art.
I'm not sure why people don't consider doing that more often.
I study the painting for a moment more, thinking to myself as I set the paint palette on a small, wooden table next to me.
I'm surprised I made the oranges look like oranges.
I wanted to add more texture but for some odd reason, I couldn't seem to get it right last time. I was pretty much over it and wanted to throw away the whole painting, but Mom insisted that she keep it.
Now it hangs on the wall above her bed as a constant reminder that texture is one of my greatest weaknesses to date.
But then again, Scott Adams, artist/cartoonist, did once say-
"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep".
Quite an endearing quote if you were to ask me.
One of the many reasons I continue to paint even when I feel like I could've done so much better-
I jump and whip around to find Eric standing in the doorway of my room, hands-on-hips. I let a silent sigh of relief, being sure not to bring my hand to my chest.
My shirt is yellow and if I get paint on it, it will forever be ruined.
Plus, this is my favorite shirt.
I will be devastated.
I raise a brow, pushing up my glasses with my free, clean hand, "Oh! Hey Eric! Um...if you don't mind my asking, why are you yelling my name??"
"I've been calling your name for the past 20 minutes! Just came to see if you were up here painting still," He snorts, a slight smirk on his clean-shaven face.
Good to see him without a beard.
It was getting itchy to hug him...
"Oh!" I reply, grabbing a dirty rag covered in paint from my pocket to wipe my hands, "Well, in that case, I apologize. I was lost in thought."
"It's no big." He says, walking over and standing next to me. He stares in awe at the easel and canvas in front of us, "So, whatcha painting today??"
I grin, becoming extremely excited, "Only my favorite thing in the whole world!!!" I look back at it, bouncing excitedly, "Oranges!!"
My name is Connor Aria Smalls.
I'm 17 and...
I'm not sure what else to say about myself other than I like oranges.
And the art of fruits.
And crime shows.
And the colors yellow and orange.
And the rainbow except for a few colors here and there.
I don't like Blue, it makes me think of Sadness from Inside Out and Sadness makes me feel negative.
I don't like Pink, it reminds me of Barbie and Barbie is the epitome of unrealistic, feminine beauty standards.
And I don't hate the color Black, but I need to be in the mood for it. Most of the time though, it makes me think of the Boogieman and other scary things that go bump in the dark.
So many things-
Wait, I'm getting off-topic...
Eric Damon Smalls is my older brother. He's 20 years old, and currently in college. He still lives with us but just until he's finished with college.
Which will be 3 years from now.
"I swear you have an unhealthy obsession with fruit..." Eric chuckles, shaking his head.
"I wouldn't say so," I reply, shrugging, studying my painting, "According to scientists, most fruits are excellent sources of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and C. If anything, this obsession is super healthy! Although..."
I pause, thinking, bringing my index finger to my chin, "Having too much of any of these vitamins could potentially land you in the emergency room, but the only way to do that is by taking supplements...and supplements are available anywhere, so..."
"All very true facts, Connor," Eric agrees, looking down at me; his loose curly red-brown hair falling in his face, "But let's not overthink this, okay?"
I nod, staring down at my hands thoughtfully, "Yeah. I get a headache when that happens..."
And it's not a mild one...
It almost feels like a migraine...
"Exactly, now get washed up and come down for breakfast," Eric says, a gentle look in his eyes, "Mom made your favorite."
I nod, as he turns and walks out of my room, "Okay."
As stated before, there isn't much for me to tell about myself aside from the fact that I don't think of myself as a normal human being.
But then again, what is normal?
Does anyone know what that means, and does it actually exists??
Because I sure don't know...
After cleaning myself up and putting away my painting materials, I grab my black, yellow spotted backpack from my desk near my window. I look at myself in the mirror and fluff my deep red-orange hair, and adjust my thin, metal glasses.
I nod, feeling pleased with my outfit, and walk downstairs and into the kitchen. As soon as I walk in, I'm immediately greeted with the smell of oatmeal, bacon, and toast.
"Good Morning, Connie," Dad says sipping on his coffee as he reads the newspaper. " 'Morning, Dad," I reply, walking around him and taking a seat at the end of the table, sitting my backpack next to me.
This is my favorite spot to sit at. It has a nice view of everything in the kitchen plus a look into the living room.
Eric sits next to me and shoots me a happy smile as he begins eating his bowl of oatmeal and bacon. "Good Morning, Sweetie!!!" Mom sings, tapping my shoulder as she walks by me to the other side of the kitchen.
" 'Morning, Mom," I reply, looking over at her as she washes her hands. After turning the faucet off, she turns back to look at me with her gentle blue eyes, "So, what did you paint this morning? More fruit?"
I nod, feeling excited again, "Yeah! More fruit! It was different than yesterday though. I painted bananas and grapes yesterday, but today I was able to try oranges again! I think I'm getting better at textures."
"That's good to hear, Connie! I'm glad that you were able to try that again!" Mom replies, a sweet smile on her face.
Suddenly, the sound of a mower is heard outside next door, and I jump at the abrupt, loud sound. I bring my hands to my ears, whimpering at the noise.
"Looks like Tanya and Cedric are mowing again..." Eric sighs, eating his toast.
I wonder why...
This makes the 4th time this week...
I don't have anything against my Neighbors being the way they are. I'm pretty sure Tanya struggles with OCD, so naturally I wouldn't blame her for being a bit of a perfectionist in a sort of way.
But, because of these perfectionist habits, she sure likes to keep a routine that tends to happen at impeccable timing.
Immediately, Dad sighs annoyed, his bushy, brown/grey brows furrowing with disapproval. I look over at him, wondering how angry he'll get today.
He's a very short-tempered man, which is fitting for his short, stubby, stature. Mom's taller than him by a few inches. Mom's 5'10 while he's only 5'7.
I guess somehow I met the mark, being 5'4, almost 5'5, but not quite.
I'm not taller than Dad and not taller than Mom.
But, of course, Eric had to be the one to grow past the expected, and reach new heights.
He's 6'0, and Dad is often jealous of his son for being the one to grow past the average unlike himself.
"Honey, guess who's mowing their yard for the thousandth time this week?" Dad asks eyes narrowing as he aggressively turns the page to his Newspaper.
They've actually only done this 4 times this week, but I guess anger leads you to over exaggerate things...
"Is it the Franks again?" Mom asks, sitting a bowl of oatmeal, toast, and bacon in front of me.
"Yes! Those damn Franks!" He retorts, slamming his newspaper down on the table, his piercing brown eyes screaming rage, "Always mowing. What the hell for??"
"I think it's great to form a routine suitable for your needs," I stat loudly as I nod, not once moving my hands from my ears, "It's a great way to instill self-discipline, responsibility, and higher functioning mental stability."
"Yeah, starting a routine is great, but not when you can't even enjoy breakfast because of it," Eric adds, motioning to my hands on my ears as he brings his spoon of strawberry oatmeal to his lips.
I shrug before Mom walks over with headphones, "Here you go, sweetie. Maybe they'll stop before Elijah comes to pick you up for school."
Elijah Lee Martin is my friend from childhood. He lives across the street from me and usually in the mornings we meet up in front of my house. Mom, Dad, and Eric love him a lot and Mom likes to think he and I are dating.
Which is far from the truth.
We're just good friends.
I'm lucky to have him in my life.
I nod, grabbing them and quickly slip them onto my ears. The harsh sounds of the mower outside soften, and I feel a little at ease.
I glance over at Dad, seeing the discontentment on his face as he stares at me for a lingering moment. Silence falls over the table, Dad's face becoming progressively tenser.
He shakes his head and stands up, tipping his chair over, "That's it! My daughter can't even enjoy her breakfast without wearing headphones! This is bullshit!"
"Aw, Scott, don't do this. It's too early to be starting a fight with the Neighbors," Mom sighs tiredly, as she takes a seat on the other side of me next to Dad's fallen chair.
She sits her bowl of oatmeal, toast, and bacon on the table, watching as Dad stomps through the kitchen into the living room.
"I'm not, Monica. I'm just going to talk to them, that's all." He reassures, sounding everything but reassuring.
He swings open the front door and storms out, leaving the door wide open.
"Great, he left the door open," Eric whines, before sneezing. "Bless you," I state, finally able to start eating my oatmeal.
He sniffles, "Thanks..."
We continue to eat in silence, I trying to remind myself to grab my lunchbox before I leave.
I always seem to forget it and end up just eating something small or nothing at all. It's usually a pop tart from the vending machine that Elijah buys me if it's something small.
The silence ensues between us, we all casually enjoying breakfast on a lovely Wednesday morning.
You know, lots of people consider Monday the worst day of the week, but if you were to ask me, it's Wednesday.
It's literally in the middle of the week.
You've gotten past two days of school, but you still have two more so it's honestly like a, "when will this ever end" type feeling.
Not to say I hate school, but it isn't really my favorite place-
"Hey, is it just me or is it too quiet outside?" Eric suddenly asks, pulling me out of my thoughts. "It's dead silent," He continues, sounding uneasy as he sits his spoon down.
We all pause mid-bite or mid-sip, listening very closely. The harsh-sounding lawnmower has finally stopped, but there's no one talking.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!! GET AWAY FROM THE MOWER!!!" Tanya suddenly screams, sounding hysterical.
"Jesus Christ..." Mom groans, sitting her spoon down on the table before standing up and heading out of the kitchen. Eric and I soon join, dropping our eating utensils.
I stand up, pulling my headphones off and sitting them on the table. Grabbing my black and yellow lunchbox from the fridge and my backpack from next to my chair, I quickly follow Eric. We make our way out of the kitchen, through the living room, and eventually outside.
I step outside onto the porch and my eyes widen.
"I'M SICK OF IT!!!!!" Dad yells, trying to break the neighbor's undoubtedly expensive mower with a wrench.
His lucky pink wrench at that.
I bought it for him a few months back and now he uses it for just about anything.
And now to add to that list, breaking the neighbor's fancy lawnmower.
"SCOTT!!" Mom shrieks, running into the neighbor's yard.
She runs up to Dad, her fawn brown hair falling on her face as she tries to pull him away from the mower. Cedric also jumps in to try and stop Dad, but even though Dad is a short guy, he's really strong.
He used to be in the military and had been for 15 almost 20 years. So, for much of my and Eric's childhood, he was serving.
And in case you're wondering, my Dad is 56 years old.
"THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM, YOU MANIAC?!" Cedric yells as Dad continues banging his wrench against the machine and unbolting its parts, "I GET WE NEVER ALWAYS GOT ALONG BUT THIS IS TAKING IT TOO FAR!!!"
"SERIOUSLY, SCOTT!!!!" Mom shouts, grabbing his arm as Tanya continues screaming hysterically; pulling her black coily hair to cover her deep brown eyes.
"NO, YOU POMPOUS ASSHOLE!!! YOU AND YOUR PERFECTIONISTIC WIFE MAKE IT HARD FOR ME AND MY DAUGHTER'S BREAKFAST!!! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!!! ALWAYS MOWING!!! YOUR DAMN GRASS!!! THE SHIT DOESN'T GROW BACK IN A DAY!!!" Dad protests and Eric sighs, an embarrassed look on his face.
"I can't believe that's our Dad..." Eric sighs, brows furrowed, "I'm related to him..."
"Yep, that's Dad. He's definitely an interesting person," I reply, watching in amazement.
"I see Mr. Smalls has lost his mind again."
I look over my shoulder and find Elijah standing behind me, hands shoved into his jeans pockets. His light brown hair is slightly brushed back out of his face, a few locks falling in his soft blue eyes. He watches the chaos in front of us with an amused smile on his clean-shaven face.
"Yep," I nod, looking back at Dad, Mom, and the Franks desperately trying to resolve the problem.
In different ways of course...
"Hey, Elijah..." Eric mumbles as Elijah looks over at him and chuckles. "What up, Eric," Elijah smirks, "You're having a good morning I can see. I could hear the joyous laughter and playful banter from my room."
"Fuck you..." Eric huffs, flashing Elijah the middle finger without looking back at him.
Elijah belly laughs, "I'm kidding!!! But, in all seriousness, do you guys need help getting Mr. Smalls back in the house again??"
"No...Mom, Cedric, and I got it." Eric replies, shaking his head as he turns to look back at him.
They're nearly the same height, just Elijah is a bit taller.
As is to be expected, most basketball players tend to be tall.
"Well, if that's the case, we'll head out!! C'mon, Connie." Elijah chirps, as he nudges me and I nod.
"Bye, Eric! Good luck!" I wave as I turn on my heels and head to Elijah's car which is now parked in front of us.
I need to be more observant...
"Bye, Connor!" Eric replies, before turning around. Suddenly gasping, Eric yelps, "DAD!! LET GO OF THE DAMN WRENCH!!!!!"
"I love your family..." Elijah says as we walk side by side to his car.
"Yes, they are an interesting bunch of people, I will say that."
We reach the car, and I extend my hand out to grab the car door handle, but Elijah cuts in front of me.
I jump surprised, and he smiles softly at me, "Connie, I'm pretty sure I've told you this before but just in case you forgot, I always open the car door for you. Okay?"
"Oh! Right! Sorry." I reply, stepping aside to allow him to open the car door.
Elijah said he wanted to be able to spoil me as much as he could since he got his license over the summer. Before, I was the one driving he and I to school and back since I had gotten my license when I was 15. Although Mom and Dad didn't/don't really like the idea of me on the road.
I don't blame them, I'm forgetful sometimes, and my sense of direction isn't exactly perfect. But nonetheless, we'd make it to school and back in one piece!
He grins before pulling open the car door for me. I step inside, tugging my bag in with me. I plop my bag on my lap as well as my lunchbox as Elijah closes the car door.
He runs over to the other side and hops in. He buckles up, and I do the same as he asks, "You ready?"
I nod, "Mhm. OH!!! Also!!" I suddenly become excited, grabbing his arm as he plugs the keys into the ignition, "Let me tell you what I painted this morning!!!"
"Hm, you down to hang this afternoon?" Elijah asks as we walk through the crowded, overwhelming halls of the school.
I grip my textbooks close to my chest, thinking, "Well, if you'd like you to watch another crime documentary with me, then yes."
"You know I'm always down to watch a crime documentary with you! You know so many things about them already, it's interesting knowing the psychological factors that play in a serial killer's mind." Elijah grins, nudging me.
I nod, smiling a little, "I'm glad I could inform you about the mental health of serial killers and how that leads to whether that person is truly mentally ill or just a ruthless killer. All very interesting factors that play in that."
We're currently heading to lunch. Elijah and I share a few classes together so we always end up meeting each other. Then, we go outside to our favorite picnic table.
Right next to the cafeteria window.
It's the perfect spot.
"You don't think I'm exhibiting any of those factors, right?" Elijah suddenly asks, worried.
I shake my head, "No. Although, I do find that you exhibit signs of obsession when around Joslin Frank, my neighbor-"
"PIPE DOWN, WILL YA?!" Elijah yelps, his cheeks flushing, "Not everyone needs to know that, plus, she could anywhere in these halls..."
Joslin Frank is my neighbor. The daughter of Tanya and Cedric, she plays volleyball. She's very good at what she does, the game becomes very immersive when she's playing.
No, I don't know much about volleyball, I do know that you hit and slap a ball over a net as hard and as fast as you can so the other team can't catch it.
That's all I am aware of...
Anyway, Elijah finds her to be very attractive and likable. Even though, the most she's ever said to him was, 'Hey, good morning', and 'Have a good day'.
"It's okay to have a slight obsession over someone. It is not, however, okay to be slightly obsessed with someone who hardly knows you exist when you have opportunities stacked up in front of you to change obsession into passion. I say you talk to her again and try to get to know her while these opportunities are available." I state, thoughtfully.
He falls silent as we arrive in front of my locker. He becomes lost in thought as I pull open my locker door and place all of my belongings inside. I pull my lunchbox out and close my locker before turning to face my eerily quiet friend.
I stare up at him, unsure what's wrong, "Are you alright? I'm not sure if I'm reading your face right."
"Connie, that's a brilliant idea!!!" Elijah chirps excitedly, grabbing my shoulders.
I blink a few times, noticing the overwhelming joy on his face. I freeze, uncertain about how to react to this emotion he's producing, "It is?"
I'm not very great at understanding emotions as well as reacting the right way. I tend to either become confused or simply appear 'stoic' as a few people have told me.
In other words, feelings are nonetheless foreign to me, but only to an extent.
I can understand them sometimes if I'm able to apply the right description of the person's feelings along with a proper reaction fast enough.
For example, Elijah is very joyous about my idea. However, I do not know what to say let alone, how to react.
And since that's an issue, I can't even decipher emotions that fast. It usually takes me a minute or two...
"Yeah! All I gotta do is talk to her!!! Like you said!!" Elijah explains excitedly, grinning widely, "Thanks, Connor!!"
I continue to stare at him, understanding the joy on his face, but struggling to think of a proper way to respond.
"Oh! The advice I had given you...yes! It...it was very honest and...clear advice I hope! I am glad to help!" I reply quickly, feeling a little...
Anxious is a perfect word to describe how I feel!!
I feel a little anxious about this.
"Yeah!!! It was!! Thanks again!!" Elijah grins, rubbing my shoulders, and I nod. He lets go of my shoulders and sighs dreamily, "I've got to talk to her!! I've just got to!! The only problem is-"
"If it isn't Elijah Martin and Connor Smalls!!"
We both look up, only to find Anthony Stevenson, the school's star football player, and as Elijah puts it, 'Golden Boy', heading our way.
"Fuck..."Elijah sighs tiredly, and I simply frown, "He's here..."
Merci pour la lecture!
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