Art was the one redeeming hour of the morning. Instead of talking, Mr. Hudson gave us each a huge sheet of white freezer paper and told us to paint our summer. This was so much better than the “write an essay about the most fun thing you did this summer” assignment that our elementary school teachers had always given us. I happily took my paints and brushes from my bag and set to the task.
I used all my beautiful colors to paint a collage across the entire paper. I painted Kallie and Stephen and Celia and Brooke. I painted Dad and Kurt. I painted myself. And I painted Mom. I painted the ocean waves lapping up on the beach. I painted the woods behind our house, the sun coming up orange and yellow and red over the trees. I painted puppies, and I painted the library. I painted our house, the front porch overflowing with people. I painted a crowd of people standing around a hole in the ground with a casket next to it. I painted Mom’s closet. I painted us all together in the upper left hand corner, laughing. Then I painted all of us except Mom in the bottom right hand corner crying.
“Wow,” Mr. Hudson said softly as he walked behind me at my table. “Very expressive, Kaedyn. Very alive.”
I nodded my thanks and waited for him to pass by me.
Then I opened the lid to my black paint.
And I painted black over the entire paper.
I noticed Mr. Hudson, now standing at the front of the room watching everyone work, raise one eyebrow as he watched what I was doing, but I pretended not to see his reaction.