He did not talk until his was seventeen. The doctors his parents brought him to said he was not ‘retarded,’ as the word was; he simply did not want to speak He was a particular child, had no friends and refused to play with his brothers and sisters. He did, however, like to draw. With thick red crayons in his hands, he drew lines all over the sheets of paper his mother provided him. Short lines. Long lines. Heavy strokes and wispy flecks. It was just him and that crimson instrument.

As he grew older, he kept red writing utensils clenched in his fists, graduating from boyish crayons to more adult Sharpies and ballpoint pens. Silent through out the years, he wrote on parchment tablatures, tabletops and walls. Line after line. Thick lines. Thin lines. Frustrated by his lack of communication, his family ignored him, leaving him to his thoughts and feelings. Lines were his only comfort.

The once bare walls of his bedroom were etched forever with red ink. Notebooks his mother gave him lined up against the wall, soiled with scarlet dashes. Everything in the room was covered; what else was there to write on. Crying with woe for himself, he brought the red pen to his arms and drew. Pressing hard, a thin sliver of red appeared and flowed gently down his amber-colored wrist. He, with his unopened lips, was relieved and happy again as he slashed pink rows into his skin.


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