Drama Coming of Age Contemporary

'Rocky!!!', screeched my mother from the back of the musty old drawing room. She has been there for days now, 'finishing' her masterpiece. I was surprised to hear her voice after so long. She doesn't usually like to be disturbed,talked to, looked at or even waved at during her intense 24/7 working hours.

"Coming Ma..", I screeched back (almost reluctantly).

'What does she want me to do now?' my mind probed. I had already fulfilled most of her quirky desires through my life. 19 years of 'Yes ma', 'Ofcourse ma', 'Sure mother'...and so on.

I was racking my head over tesselating images of art becase She wanted me to study design and become 'one with the world' as she so poetically put it. If only she knew...

The familar choking smell of spilt oil and pigment embraced me. My eyes used to water at the thought of this unusual punishment but 2 years into one of the most boring courses in university, I was used to it. My mother sat erect on her favourite three-legged chair with an apron that was once around 16 years ago the colour of snow, now it just looks like it embodied mustard and mold together. Her ebony hair was cruelly curled into a haphazard bun that jumped out into the air. I smiled.

"Yes mother", I said trying to sound sincere.

"Ahhh there is my artistic lad"..

I winced.

"What do you think?", she asked gesturing at a huge, and I mean HUGE sheat of canvas that she has before her. Surprisingly, I just saw it. Every inch of the canvas was intricately detailed with florals and crystals. A multitude of enchanting shades beckoned me towards it and that's when I realised that it was the girl...

My mother had spent weeks crafting an extremely skilled potrait of the young girl using floral patterns and designs. As I caught my mother's hard blue eyes, I gasped. She was holding in her arms a smaller sheat of canvas. A blank canvas. It was the replication test. The test to see if I'm worthy of taking care of the family business. I had heard about it from my mom countless times. Th great Dupont Test had been in our family for nearly a centennial, and here I was, a useless teenager, about to break family tradition, history and culture.

Fear gripped every inch of me and guilt coursed through my veins, for I knew what she was going to ask me to do. She wanted me to replicate her work. She wanted me to show her my 'artsy' skills. She thinks I'm born to be her, only she doesn't know that I cry myself to sleep after every long day. That my brain calculates all the numbers and figures in the wold fatser than it can drw a stick figure. That I'm failing my design course that SHE picked for me, when I begged to do Accounting. She didn't listen.

"Come on my child", she tried to say in a soothing voice. But excitement got the better of her.

"I think you are ready to handle our work, I think I want to give you the keys to our shop, you are going to be the heir to the most famous gallery in Brooklyn, starting with this piece...Aren't you thrilled? You know what to do, come on.."

I don't think she knew how terrfying her voice sounded. I don't think I could tell her either. But neither could I draw, and neither could I do something I hated for the rest of my life. My heart was running wild. It dind't like this, my mind was already contemplating the scenario of after she sees my 'SKILLS', the ones I completely lacked.

But I had to.

"Mom.." a frail whisper got out.

She nodded.

"I need to tell you something". My pale face, shaking fingers, trembling eyes, how could she not know? How could she not see that I am a klutz? How did she never notice that my fingers didn't elegantly glide over paper like hers did? My blue eyes always reflected fright, never craft.

Hers stung me as she gazed my way.

"I can't do the business", my eyes were fixed on the floor. I wanted to stop but couldn't. Everything that I had bottled for two years broke out, the monsters that I had so painfully caught shattered their molten cages and made their way out.

"I can't do the business because I don't like art.." My lips were quivering but I still went on.

"I don't like anything about art Ma, I can't draw, I can't paint and I am failing my design course that YOU forced me into"

My pain materialized into anger now. It was too late to take anything back and so I went on...

"I wanted to do Accounting because I love numbers, but you said I was a 'born artiste', well guess what Mom, you were wrong. You said that you knew best,but I'm sorry to say that you didn't know anything. Not one thing about your 'lad'. And I swear, I tried...

I tried SO hard. But I just can't... Mom, I'm nothing but a fraud"

I really couldn't go on. My eyes were still fixed on the floor but the ocean had started to leak. One wave after the other, rammed into the surface and poured out. Soon enough, I was on my knees begging,praying doing everything I could to stop it from hurting. But it did. I just shattered my Mother's dreams. I just let out the deepest recesses of my soul, the ones I forced in. Of course, it will hurt. The writhing pain numbed my entire existence into absolute nothingness.

In all my numbness I felt a familiar touch on my shoulder. Painfully, I looked up at her. Her eyes were darting at mine and her shore collapsed onto mine. We were both flooding. We were both crying. And I think this was the only time where we were doing something together, naturally.

"Let's get you something to eat.." she said in a husky whisper. Her voice trailed off soon, her gaze still fixed.

My heart broke and I could see hers had too. But, I think for the first time in forever we found each other somewhere in between. Somewhere where art exists with numbers and pain with joy, a mother and her distant son shared a warm embrace.

November 26, 2020 05:00

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