It was simple really, as a child James had been in love with drawing. He drew everywhere, on the walls, in the kitchen, under doors, in his math book and on his mother’s clothes. He drew pictured that told stories, pictures that didn’t and pictures that made no sense. His parents were always there to tell him to draw some more. They thought it was cute. Until his grades started taking a turn for the worse. He seemed to be unable to concentrate on anything else because of his passion for drawing.
The back of all his books were covered in one doodle after another. His class teachers all had the same comment. “James is a bright student, he just can’t seem to pay attention.” That’s when the beatings started. They were stern warnings at first, delivered to him by his father. Encouragement to stop drawing. When the warnings failed the punishment began getting physical. A raining of blows everytime he picked up a pencil to draw. He was beaten thoroughly and methodically.
One remarkable memorable beating occurred after James had just gotten his first term results of class 5. He was in the living room doodling in the newspaper while watching tv when his father walked in with the roar of the gods in his voice. He had a stick way up in the air and in his eyes vengeance could be seen. “Number 26?!” “NUMBER 26?!” James pleas to his father’s better nature fell on deaf ears. All that could be heard was blow after blow landing on his back. James tried running but you can only go so far when you are beaten by a whole meter on every single stride.
“All you do, all day and night is draw those stupid pictures! Do you think those pictures will put food on the table? Take your children through school? Do you?”
James had no idea what to say in response and his mind was more occupied with trying to dodge the next blow, with limited success. By the time his father was done with him his eyes were burning red with tears, his back was blue with scars and his heart was black with fear. It seemed almost irrelevant to say that he was 26th out of a possible 200, and that he had done one less exam because his asthma had been acting up on the day it was being done. Nothing mattered except that the seed had been planted and his art extinguished.