Wednesday, 4 June 2014

HOT SOUP


One of the winning stories from my recent writing comp over on www.cathycassidy.com - Holly's story on the theme 'Broken' - we've called it 'Hot Soup'.

Today is the 10th January 2014, and the weather is coarse and dry with a chance of bush fires, fuming mad principals and assorted members of school staff. Oh, and because I kind of forgot it's wrong to paint giant murals of bloody roses on school property, I am also in hot soup. I walk towards Mr Mack's office, swirls of red and flakes of crimson staining my hands and blurring my vision.

'Caught red handed!' An oddly familiar voice cuts through the thick, stuffy air and I spin round, almost losing my balance. Someone grabs my hand, steadies me, and I look up and recognise Ray Carlton. He's always been the quiet kind that grabs your attention - foggy grey eyes, shaggy, dirty blond hair, a profound distaste for school cafeterias and maths homework. His touch feels like fire against my bare skin.

'You painted the rose on the garage wall,' he states. 'You're in my art class and I recognised your painting style.A lot of red and black, thick strokes along the sides; too little emotion and too much pain.'

'Nice analysis,' I mutter. 'It was a mistake - I don't want anything to do with it any more, so step aside and let me go to the principal's office and accept my punishment.'

'Oh, come on... the principal can wait.' He leads me outside, back to the garage where the janitor has splashed on a coat of whitewash to hide my painting. I can feel the rough strokes of my paintbrush still as I trail my hands across the wall, but there is no beauty for me - all I see is my childhood, bathed in shades of red. Red for the perfect little bows on the dress my mom stitched for me when I was little; red for her lipstick on a hot summer day; red for the roses she once helped me paint. Red, too, for the bloodstains on the bathroom floor that left my six year old self wondering what I could have done to make my mother stay.

'Red is my mother's colour,' I whisper. 'I'm never touching it again.'

Ray steps into the garage, shifting boxes, looking for something. 'I'm sorry,' he says. 'I heard what happened when you were a kid.' 

'Nothing happened to me,' I tell him. 'It was just my mother. She thought I was too young to understand, but I think somehow her broken pieces fell and shattered me too...'

'Look,' Ray says, pulling a cardboard box from the garage shelves, opening the lid. 'I've been working on this during lunch periods and while I should have been doing my maths homework. It's a mosaic - made entirely of broken pieces I've collected...'

For years after my mom's suicide, I resented how she left me. But all the shattered pieces in Ray's masterpiece were once part of a bigger whole, too. I run my fingers along the splintered surfaces, drawing blood. I can imagine the way his fingers picked out the broken pieces to make a heart shape.

'Will you paint it for me?' he asks. 'It's for all the victims of suicide and their families, to show that broken things can still be made into art. It may not be perfect, but that's fine, because art isn't supposed to be pretty, it's meant to make us feel something.'

By now, Mr Mack is probably sending out fuming mad search parties to hunt me down, but I don't care any more. I pick up an old paintbrush from the bench, prise open a tube of paint. I used to let my pain bleed onto the canvas in black and red, shades of suffering, dead colours. This time, I choose the colours of life, to honour the fight I am making to mend my own broken pieces in the form of art.

I start with a fresh petal radiating under watery sunshine...

Did you enjoy Holly's emotional story? COMMENT BELOW and share your views!

11 comments:

  1. Fab!!! Holly has a similar writing style to you, it's extremely good. Five Stars.
    Emma :)

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  2. That has a lot of feels. I like how Ray took the broken part of her and used it to help her rebuild her spirit. It's really nice! Good Job Holly!!! :o)

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  3. Great story I wish I could write like that

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  4. I love it! It inspires me in a million different ways! It makes me want to write something like that, something amazing, something powerful!

    - McKenna

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  5. Brilliant! I could never write like that! Well done Holly!!!!!:)

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  6. Wow! I loved that story. So many emotions, in such a short space of time. I wish I had your writing ability Holly! Well done! Xxx

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  7. Write a book already!

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  8. There are no words to utter about this story at first I was just shocked at how amazing it is. I love your style its like cathy cassidy. I agree with Starry just WRITE A BOOK!

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  9. Beautiful! (I agree with the person above!)

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  10. WOW thats amazing! <3

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  11. wow! you should definitely be an author when you're older!

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