Inspired by: H.P. Lovecraft
Future Plans: Working on a novel
It was quiet in class. Only the monotone sound of her voice filled the space surrounding me. I looked at my classmates and most were asleep or in a pseudo-comatose state, trying desperately to appear to be involved and paying attention.
Me? I doodled on my paper. The same drawing I’d always drawn. A handsome man, not a boy… as my fantasy should dictate because of my age, but a grown man. He must’ve been in his late twenties or early thirties. The time era was the twenties or thirties, by the look of his perfect black suit, his pocket watch adjusted just so. He was the center of the drawing… always. Every time my pencil hit the paper, I would begin sketching him, in the same exact stance and always surrounded by the same images of childhood nightmares. The picture never changed, only I did every time I drew it.
I reached to shade the edge of the page and smudged the corner of his eye, the look going from one of horror to concern, as if he’d not only witness a death, but in a moment’s notice, it became my own. I wanted to reach into the drawling and touch him. I wanted to crawl into the fine lines of the paper and save him.
I loved him. Not sure when it happened that I’d fallen in love with someone ten plus years my senior, but I didn’t care. He didn’t exist, but I spend day and night wishing he did. I wished I could draw myself in the gray shading of his arms, but no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t alter the fabric of the piece. I’d tried so many times to draw something lovely around him, to surround him with the image of a cafe or a park, but the pencil never listened and my hand was its obedient slave.
I finished and looked down, staring into his concerned gaze. My heart lit on fire and I knew I was a freak. In love with a drawing from my head. I sighed, put the picture in my binder and leaned back to listen to Mrs. Marcias finish instructing us on our next physics project. I looked over at my best friend, Sidney and smiled. She was such a brain, and an overachiever, that I knew she’d have the notes from class. We’d partner up, like we always did, and she’d once again save my butt from failing.
She smirked and shook her head at me. “The door to nowhere,” is the name she’d given my drawing many years ago. It was an incredible fantasy that didn’t exist… hence the doorway in my soul that led to nowhere. I smiled back. My retort had always been that I’d love to go nowhere if my dream guy was driving the train. It was an ongoing joke between the two of us.
The bell rang and I stood, filing out behind my fellow class mates, my vision muted by the memory of his new smudged expression. That’s the first subtle change I’d seen in the drawing in the better of two years. Why was he concerned? Did he know me? Would we ever meet? How would I find this door to nowhere?
I ran into a tall guy in front of me, Jonathon Kerig. He was on the soccer team and most girls swooned over him as he passed in the hall, but he seemed down to earth, oblivious to them. We weren’t friends, but more acquaintances. Heck, I was only acquaintances with everyone.
“Hey, Jess, if you wanted to touch me, just ask. No need to mow me down as a cover up.” He smirked and fell in line beside me. “Besides, these are my new shoes you’re stepping all over.”
I scoffed, “And then you woke up.”
We both laughed and walked into the hall, people moving around everywhere. We made small talk as he walked me to my locker and then left. Sid came up and jumped in front of me, a ridiculous smile on her face.
“Well?” she said.
“Don’t play games with me. What did Jonathon want? Walking you to your locker, laughing together… tell me, tell me, tell me,” Sid sang.
I chucked. “When there’s something to ‘tell you,’ believe me I will, but really I’m not interested, and neither was he. We were talking about his shoes, Sid.”
Her pretty features crinkled up in a funny face. “Oh, well… darn. I was hoping for something hot to have occurred.”
“Sorry to disappoint,” I said and got my stuff out of my locker. We turned to walk down the hall and something caught my eye.
Amongst the colorful hallway of students and teachers, was a man – tall, well filled out…. sketched? My heart stopped. He paused to look at me as he turned the corner to the gym, his eyes full of concerned fear… for me? My breath caught in my chest. I was officially losing my mind. I froze in my spot as Sid continued to jabber away about nothing. I just started at him. He was a figment of my imagination, not real, but a drawing come to life.
His mouth moved, and a whisper carried down the hall and wrapped around me, “Jessica…. my love… find me.” As quickly as the breeze carried the message, it died down and he walked around the corner. I felt the air swoosh from my lungs and I took off in a sprint. I might be crazy, but I’d been thinking about this man for as long as I could remember, and sketch or real, if he was findable – I was going to find him.
I turned the corner and stopped, looking around. I placed my hand on the wall next to me for balance, my heart threatening to beat out of my chest, my spirit on fire for the possibility of his existence, and my mind threatening to snap at the insanity of my thoughts. I sighed at his absence, and pulled my hand back, looking down at it. It was completely covered in lead, pencil lead. I looked at the wall. My smudged hand print smeared on its glossy white texture, and a slightly bigger one just above it. His.
Sid rushed over to me, “What in the hell are you doing? We’re going to be late to Algebra.”
I felt like a fool, but honestly I didn’t care. I’d follow my sketch anywhere. Sometime, a long time ago, I’d drawn my heart in the picture, deep in the dark grey jacket, in the chest of a man I didn’t know and hoped I’d someday meet.
“Sorry, thought I saw something,” I murmured and followed her to class. I sat down with a sigh and opened my notebook. I had hundreds of sketches of him, most of them at home, under my bed, away from the concerned eyes of my parents, who thought I lost my mind or was slightly autistic with my incessant drawings of the same man and same setting. I only had a few in my notebook.
My heart almost stopped, and I gasped as the folder slipped out of my hand and spilled on the floor. I slid out of my desk and hit my knees, my hands spreading the sketches frantically. They were just as I had drawn earlier today and yesterday and the day before, but one thing was now missing… him.