Saturday, 14 September 2013

Volume 20: Horizontal Lines

When Juliana was five years old
She liked to look at the big tree picture on the hallway wall
She liked the way it showed her mommy and her daddy
And her grandmas and grandpas
And aunts and uncles and cousins
She used to reach up as high as she could
And trace the black lines all the way downwards and sideways
At the very bottom
Her fingers landed on her own picture
It hung at the end of an up-down line
Which came from the middle of a sideways line
That ran from her daddy's picture to her mommy's
She thought it looked like the letter T
She liked it

When Juliana was seven years old
Her aunt and her uncle got married and had a little baby
Her mommy and daddy hired a man to stand in front of the big tree on the hallway wall
He had a plate with lots of colours of paint on it
He drew a line called horizontal from Juliana's aunt to her uncle
Then he drew a line called vertical right down the middle of the horizontal one
And at the end of the line he drew a picture of the baby
Juliana wished the baby were bigger so she could show it the tree
She wondered if the baby would like all the lines
If its favourite would be the horizontal line between its mommy and daddy
Just like hers was
Juliana smiled at the tree
She liked it

When Juliana was nine years old
Her mommy and daddy started fighting
They fought at the dinner table
They fought in the car
They fought over everything
Every time they fought
Juliana would sit in the hallway
And look at the big tree
She would look at her favourite horizontal line
And sometimes
When the fighting was especially loud
The line would become a little bit blurry behind the tears in her eyes
It might have been her imagination
But every time it did
The fighting seemed to get less noisy
She wasn't sure if she liked it

When Juliana was eleven years old
Her mommy and daddy stopped fighting altogether
They started packing boxes instead
And they hired the painter man back
But this time his paint plate only had one colour on it
Like the wall behind the big tree in the hallway
So Juliana took her own little paintbrush
Dipped it in the white paint
And carefully traced the same horizontal line she'd traced with her finger
When she was five years old
But this time
It disappeared completely
And her picture was left to float all alone
In a sea of silent white
She didn't like it at all

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