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"Beneath the Paint"
Transcript of "Beneath the Paint"
Before I knew it, I was drowned into the silent realm of sleep.
As I awoke I was hanging in the thin line between sleep and awakeness. The man and the woman stood there staring at me, as if they were afraid that if they didn’t I would disappear. They leaned forward. Then the man said “Angela, my name is Henry and this is Helen,” the woman's lips started to quiver and I was afraid she would cry again. “We are your parents, you might not remember us.You were ill.” I looked at them - my parents - and their eyes seemed familiar bringing back memories.
“What was wrong with me?” I asked quite innocently, as I was in this conversation.
My mothers eyes started to water and soft wails erupted from her throat, then my father's strong hands grabbed my mother and she leaned on him. As my mother’s wails silenced, my father spoke loud and clear.
“You were dying of Anorexia.”
Everything came back to me, colors blurred before my vision and I felt as if I had drunk 3 double shot coffees. My parents closed in on me shaking their heads in disagreement, then my mother’s voice mixed with the background asking me to promise her one wish, her only wish.
“Promise me honey, promise me you will never become anorexic again.” she pleaded hopelessly. I nodded before I was once again asleep. Page 3 First there was silence.
Then a low hum started ringing in my ear.
Slow at first then turning into a steady beat.
“Beep...beep...beep” echoing in my ears, my conscience swimming around it.
Then I felt the pumping of my heart, simple.
I remembered when it had stopped, then a sickly voice whispered in my ear.
“Angela, Angela can you hear me?” It sounded familiar, but at the same time I felt a sort of rejection towards it. Like if it knew something lethal, something it was never meant to know. My eyelids fluttered open to meet clean, white walls. The smell of medicine and coffee created a warm atmosphere around the room. Then it came again:“Beep...Beep....beep”My head slowly turned to its side and I stared, dark and long, at the machine were the sound seemed to emerge from. Then I turned around again to meet the weary, gray eyes of my mother. Cold and stale like a winter day, the color of withered clouds that already had their storm.“Angela?” my name lingered in the air, bouncing off the cold walls and blending into the warm atmosphere.“Yes, mother?” I was capable to whisper. Her eyes began to turn misty, thin tears slipping down from her exhausted eyes down her face. “Oh my daughter, your okay, your okay...” her words became stuck in her throat and she leaned down enveloping me in a pleasant hug. Then she began to shout outside to the door a foreign name that gave me the same repulsing feeling I had when I first heard her voice. An older man came in, his deep brown eyes covered in a dark atmosphere of tiredness but like her they had mist surrounding them. Only they had something more, fear... Fear of losing. And I knew I was to blame for this inconvenience.The rest is a blur, all I knew is that at some moment I left the warm atmosphere of coffee and medicine. The End
A few weeks later...
The bell rang sharp through the campus as a flock of students rushed through the halls to the array of the blue lockers. I struggled through the crowd, viewing the faces I had grown up with who I had only remembered in the last few days. Soon I was standing in front of my locker, I took the piece of paper from my pocket and tried to open my locker. By the 2nd or 3rd try I was able to open it. I took out my books and headed to my first class, it was oh yes Astronomy! As I slipped into class just before the bell rang an awkward atmosphere filled the room. Soft, but cruel whispers flow across the room. Hush enough for me to hear, but secretive enough to leave the teacher in his ignorance. Shyly I gave the teacher the Principle’s note and he told me to sit in the table on the far left of the room. I proceeded, but every step was painful for it was like a slap back to the reality I had left behind.
“Oh god, here she is again I though she had left for good,”
“Huh, look who has lost some weight...” chuckles rumbled across the class.
Finally I made it to the table, I gulped and tried to stop the tears that were tempted to leave my eyes. Then I heard a creaking sound cut a gash through the floor and I saw a boy trying to get away from me. He was thin and long with squiggly arms, greasy red hair with albino colored skin covered in freckles. Crooked glasses lay at the tip of his nose, thick glass shielding his eyes from mine.
Then he croaked at me “If you are going to torment me, could you please only do it at the start and end of class.” His eyes glazed with fear, an uncertainty of pain lifted from his body. Silently... I decided to ignore this, though this treatment from my peers was rude and uncomfortable. The rest of the day went along like this: lonely, mysterious, unfair. Only at lunch time did I truly realize what was the real reason for this. Page 4 The bell rang, once again only with a different sort of cheerful tone to it. Student’s tired faces, were illuminated with relief knowing that finally there was a moment of freedom in the long, endless day. I made my way through the crowd, pushing to get to the lunch line. Passing through to meet the lunch lady gasps erupted across the halls. The lunch lady’s beady black eyes stared at me with disbelief as I ordered a plain hamburger. But then she relaxed and calmly said “It’s good to have you eating again, Angela.”
I took my tray and made my way across the cafeteria, the red-head boy was the only friendly face in the whole crowd, so I decided to sit next to him.
He was alone anyway...
I sat down, he ignored me. I tried to say hi, he was busy reading his physics book. So I decided to take a bite from my hamburger. Slowly eating the hamburger was as comforting as my father’s ice cream. Then my pleasure was shattered to the floor, laying their luring people to be cut by it. This was caused by a girl named Rachelle, my ex-best friend. She arrived at the table, moving her hips back and forth in plain smugness. She leaned forward towards me then pushed the hamburger back and said.“Really Angela, don’t you remember we have cheer-leading practice?” “Cheer-leading?” I asked in a whisper.“Well, yeah... Oh just because your out of the hospital doesn’t mean you can make a pig of yourself” This silenced me and I left my hamburger on the table, reluctant to look at it.“Well, see you at practice Angie,” and she left with a cruel smirk on her face... Page 5 Practice
“Come on girls one, two, three.” A flip over here, a cartwheel over there. There was no ending to the endless arrays of pigtails and skirts flying in the air. I stood there, awkwardly not knowing how to react until Lori, another of my so called friends started giggling at me. “Oh, Angie don’t you see what that hamburger has done to you, your uniform barely fits you.” Another shiver of giggles passing through the field, I had to stop this. So I threw myself forward in attempt to do a flip but I landed on my back. Everything ached all over, my throat burned and the sickly sweet taste of my cherry lipstick filled my mouth.
All I wanted to do was stay there, unmoving and ignorant to the world. All I wanted was for these tears not to come out.
All I wanted was to be left alone...
“Well, I guess anorexia was better for you, this is what you get for being a pig.” laughed Rachelle which was echoed through the other girls. Through my friends, my friends. Tears streamed down my cheeks, bitter tears. Burning my eyes in their pure contempt to show my melancholy. I struggled to stand up and ran back to the lockers leaving behind a life that would never be mine again, that never was. Later...
The tinkling of a bell echoed through the room, alarming the office with great humor. I wiped away the last of the tears and hoped my eyes weren’t too bloodshot that they would ask me any questions. However, I made my way to the desk quite calmly and looked at the pudgy teacher and pleaded “Could I please get out of cheer-leading, I’ll go into anything else that is open.”. She shuffled through her papers until she found the one she was looking for. She licked the tips of her fingers and quickly pulled it out of the pile. Then she handed me the piece of paper and said that I would have to sign the billboard at the far end wall of the office if I was interested. I thanked her, then I started reading the paper.
“Welcome To the Random World of Mr. Arthur,
This art course will teach you about the brilliant Pablo Picasso!
You will be taught not only his work but his peculiar techniques!
Where beauty is nothing more than a trick of the eye.”
The last quote caught my attention, “...beauty just a trick of the eye...” well physical beauty seemed very important to my ex-friends. It had been extremely important to me at some point, if I had starved myself trying to reach it. And what if I went back to the way I was! This new fear charged me with raw energy and I made my way to the billboard, took the light blue pen and wrote my name... Page 6 Page 7 The art class
As I made my way inside the room the stench of turpentine filled my nose. I felt the little bumps of the raw electricity pass through my body. Finally, I entered. The first thing I noticed was Mr.Arthur, his wild gray eyes like a storm. His hair, greasy with gel stood up in all directions possible and his ragged blue jeans were stained with multicolor lines. His figure was so peculiar, so random that I felt once again filled with the energy, the raw energy relaxing this time and I took a seat. Almost instantly the red-head boy ran into the room, sweat running down his forehead and a crumbling science project in his hands. He moved across the room awkwardly and sat down next to me, catching his breathe in short periods over and over again.
A few more people entered the room, but one could see that this was not the most popular class in school. Though the interesting part was the different individuals that came in. There were only a few, but their variety was impressing. Punk, with their countless piercings and ripped clothes. The nerds, sweating over their various science projects. And the lone jock and ex-cheerleader which was me. Mr.Arthur started talking about the philosophy of beauty, how people take it and how the media sells it. Then he began speaking about bulimia and anorexia, how peer pressure and fake ideology destroy beautiful young people not yet in their prime. He motioned for me to get up and he lead me to the front of the class, he then cleared his throat and asked:
“Why was it Angela that you stopped eating?” His voice rang loud and clear, but not loud enough for me not to hear my heart. Beating, nervously for this was the time to confess the reason for why I had thought of beauty. I took a deep breath and said...
“Beauty was always made plastic in the conversations with my friends, they said the only way anyone was going to look at you was if you were the skinniest of your class,” tears started, “That it was the only thing that mattered, for that is why we put ourselves at risk by not eating anything but a piece of lettuce a day and over exercising to lose those pounds we thought we saw,” the tears were thicker now. “That was the base of our friendship, and even today I wonder if people see me as if I am fat and if I can still make it through this day.” I wiped the tears away from my face “If I will still be here tomorrow...”
There was great silence in the class, then a roar of clapping of admiration. I wiped the last of my tears away proudly, then I walked back to my desk and sat down next to the red-head boy. Mr.Arthur took a deep breath and tried to hide the tears that were drying on his face “That was a magnificent, you see that real beauty...” the rest of the class was fairly interesting but it seemed to just drag on a bit longer than I expected. The boy next to me I found out was called Tomas, he was inspired by my presentation. We talked a bit about astronomy, he was such a gentleman he was careful not to touch on the subject of anorexia and the life I had lead before. This I was thankful for. Soon the bell rang again and I made my way to my locker, chatting with Tomas, quit ignorant of every one's reactions as they saw us walk together. Once I reached my locker, Rachelle closed in on me, still in her blue cheer-leading outfit holding her pom-poms, her cherry lipstick glossy and fresh on her lips. I ignored her completely, started to take my books out when she slammed the locker shut right in front of me. Her eyes filled with betrayal she spoke to me venomously “Why Angie, why are you destroying your reputation and quitting cheer-leading? Why are you eating so that you become fat, and a loser?” I lowered my head, trying not to meet her eyes and a feeling of regret filled me completely that as I looked down I saw an over-weight figure wearing my clothes. I ran away from the scene, unable to face my own ex-best friend, unable to fully leave behind my old self. Pressured by reputation, anorexic, cruel, a cheerleader... This was not me, but I could find no way to leave it behind me. Permanently... Page 8 The End of the Second Art class
The bell rang, with that cheerful tone that announced the start of lunch. Tomas motioned me to leave with him but I rejected him, telling him that I would meet him later. His face was written with disbelief and I knew he didn’t trust me enough for me not to ditch him. But still, I stayed behind waiting to be able to have a word with Mr.Arthur, a private word. I headed for his desk while he was shuffling through some art projects viewing them with that critical eye of an artist.
“Mr.A, there is something that is bothering me and I wondered if you could help me,” he leaned back on his chair as to motion me to continue. “Well, as you know I have only left the hospital a few weeks ago and well lets just say the reputation I had left behind me has come to “bite” me again and again these last few days” Mr.A didn’t seem to be surprised at all and if he was he sure didn’t show it.
“Your old friends, have they been tormenting you about your eating ways?” It seemed as though he had read my mind by only looking at my eyes, I nodded embarrassed. He cleared his throat and looked at me with those wild, stormy eyes that had been a safe heaven I had found the first day I walked through his door. “Angela, real beauty isn’t just something a person has but the whole,” he took out a portrait of the music teacher “Bright blue eyes may be considered a beauty but what would they be without the smile, but none of this would hold any importance if it wasn’t for her personality,” He stared longingly at the picture. “For you see, what really matters is what’s behind the paint , what holds those beautiful parts together.” You see the people who are really worth it are those who don’t judge you by the colors and textures God or Nature have given you, but what is behind those colors that can be as bright and amazing as they can be rotting black.”
His words seemed to flow down to me, filling me with a new realization of life, of myself. I thanked Mr. Arthur for the talk and sprinted through the hallway to catch up with Tomas. Page 9 As I made my way to the cafeteria I saw Tomas in the distance waiting for me at the table with other students in Mr. Arthur’s art class. He had reserved a seat for me next to a Punk girl who smiled at me and motioned that she had gotten me a salad for lunch. Then, as I made my way over there, Rachelle pushed me, nudging me hard on my stomach then giggled her sickly sweet laugh. “Oh look, fat girl is hanging out with the Punks,” then Lori and Heather echoed “Uuuuuu.” I stood my ground, standing as tall as I could ,staring at those blue eyes and said “Look Rachelle, we were friends but now I would like you to get out of my way and I will get out of yours,” I shouted at her, calmly and definitely clear. Rachelle’s eyes clouded with fear, with an uncomfortable confusion then she whispered something to her friends and she continued on to her table. My face brightened with joy and I walked to the table with my head up high and a smile.