Short Story: The Sketch

The living room is painted in a bright beige color, correlating with the cream colored carpet. The sun is setting outside; slanting through the white, transparent curtains, which try to shield the view from the window. Little light seeps through the curtains, so the overhead lights are turned on, making the room have more effervescence than it actually has. A couple of yards from the window is a big, plushy, yellow-green couch. It’s so new. Eddy can smell its freshness while laying on it to draw his picture. It didn’t smell like a book’s pages like their last sofa; it smells like the linen scented Febreeze. How well did Ikea know Febreeze, Eddy thought? Did people who work there spray it to make people buy it? Hey, it worked, if they did.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the old couch, but Daddy said it was time for something new. Eddy didn’t have a problem with that.

Daddy was coming home from work soon; maybe he would like a present after a long day. Mommy has been saying how stressed he’s been lately, so this ought to make him feel better and relax.

“Can’t he get his old job back so that he can relax again?” Eddy asked Mommy. That was a week ago, and they were both sitting on the couch to talk before Daddy came back.

Mommy smiled warmly, rubbing Eddy’s shoulder. “It’s not that simple, baby,” she said.

Eddy takes his black crayon to shade in a mustache on his sketch’s face. It was oval and apricot. It is too late to draw an apricot neck, because a blue jacket and blue pants are already attached to the body. And Eddy was too focused on finding the correct red for a tie, like Daddy’s tie. Was it red, scarlet, or burgundy?

How furry is Daddy’s mustache? How hard does Eddy have to dig the crayon into his paper to make the sketch look just like Daddy?

A lot of people say how Eddy looks a lot like Daddy. He wishes that were true sometimes. He looks at his tan hands and back at the apricot hands he drew. Well, at least he has hair. Daddy doesn’t have any hair. He used to have a little before his new job, but not anymore.

Suddenly, hands a little smaller than Eddy’s cover his eyes, making him drop his crayon upon the couch. He knows exactly who’s interrupting his drawing from behind.

“Guess who!” the so-called mystery person yelps in a higher pitch than her own.

Eddy laughs and lightly pushes her hands away from his eyes, then faces the culprit.

Little Gracie, with her long, blonde hair and rosy cheeks. She sticks her pink tongue out at Eddy.

“Do you want me to chase you?” Eddy asks his friend.

“You’d never catch me,” Gracie taunts, already sprinting towards the window.

Eddy leaps from the couch, causing Gracie to shriek as they scamper around the big couch.

“Can’t catch me. Can’t catch me.” Gracie chants.

“We’ll see about that!” Eddy proclaims as he yanks her arm, causing them both to fall on the floor.

“Ow!” Gracie says, surprisingly giggling as she rubs where Eddy pulled.

“You’re it now,” Eddy says, excitedly jumping up.

“No, I am,” a distinct voice calls to them, causing both children to stand up straight. A female voice, firm, yet sweet, as if soaked in honey with a single bee stinger to keep you in line; Mommy.

“Gracie, your mom is waiting for you outside,” Mommy announces, entering the room in her blue jeans with her dark hair placed in a sloppy bun. If Eddy drew her, he would mix mahogany and brown together for her hair. That would get her color just right to be pretty like her. The lighting in the room makes her tan skin more golden. “You may want to get your things together.”

Gracie nods. “Yes, ma’am.” She turns to Eddy. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“See you,” Eddy farewells.

Gracie walks over to the white door, where her small, tie-dyed book bag was, against the wall near the exit.

Gracie reaches for the golden doorknob, only to see it turn to the right on its own.

A tall man comes in, unbuttoning his blue jacket, and stretching his scarlet tie from his neck. He nods at Gracie, wishing her a good evening.

“Tell your mom I said hello,” he says gruffly.

Is Daddy ever okay? Does he always have to sound stressed coming home?

Gracie shuts the door behind her, and Daddy sighs loudly, taking his jacket off, throwing it on the couch.

“How was work, hun?” Mommy asks.

Daddy looks down to shake his hand at Mommy, almost shooing her. What did Mommy do?

Mommy would usually give him a hug, a kiss, or a rub on his shoulders or feet each time he looked down like that. For the past month, it’s been different. Does Daddy not want her to help him anymore?

Trying to make him feel better, Eddy grabs his drawing from the couch, and runs to Daddy.

He lifts his drawing up in the air and smiles.

Daddy bends forward, squinting his eyes at the drawing.

“Is that supposed to be me?”

Eddy nods feverishly, grinning.

Within that very moment, Eddy’s pride is crumpled up, like the sketch Daddy immediately crumples after snatching it from his tiny hands.

Mommy gasps before the paper hits the carpet.

“Edward!” she yells, rushing to the floor, picking up the paper.

“What?” Daddy shrugs at her. “If I wanted a girly gift, hell, I would have asked my assistant.”

“Oh, is that what your family is to you now? Your assistants?” Mommy asks forcefully. She massages her temples with her right hand’s nimble fingers. “God, what is the matter with you?”

“The boy has to learn what’s good, and what’s not.” Daddy points to himself, furrowing his eyebrows. “I did.”

“I didn’t ask you to take the job, Edward,” Mommy seethes, unfolding the paper.

Daddy shakes his head, groaning.

“I’m going to bed.” Without looking back, he says, “Night, son.”

Daddy’s been doing that a lot lately. Eddy didn’t think he would dislike his gift, though.

Mommy walks slowly towards Eddy, and hands him his drawing.

“Give it to your daddy this weekend,” she soothes. Tussling his messy hair with her long, soft, caring fingers, she adds, “He should be better then…Promise me you won’t cry, okay?”

“I’m not going to cry, Mommy,” Eddy promises.

“Give it to your daddy this weekend,” she soothes. Tussling his messy hair with her long, soft, caring fingers, she adds, “He should be better then…Promise me you won’t cry, okay?”

“I’m not going to cry, Mommy,” Eddy promises.


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