Leo & his paintings
Seventeen year old Leo sat at his desk, when the bright morning sunlight bringing out the colours of his unfinished painting more than ever. The abstract splashes of red, yellow, blue and green and somehow showed how cluttered his mind was, albeit with talent and constantly changing thoughts.
With his brush in hand, his groggy hazel eyes stared hard at the canvas, as he pondered on the question of which colour should he use next to sober the painting down, When he heard his mother screaming for him.
“LEO! Get down for breakfast, you will be late for your school”, she shouted.
“I am coming!” he shouted back and sighed. He would have to clear up everything and start again in the evening, when he comes back from the school.
Somehow after washing his face and brushing his teeth, just for the sake of it, he wore his school uniform—- a boring but sharp black trousers and tie, with a white Shirt.
As he came down the stairs, he found his father raising his eyebrows from behind the morning newspaper and staring grimly at him.
“How much did you study last night?” asked his father. The question was expected considering his school leaving exams were barely three months away.
——-I didn’t. Not last night.” Mumbled Leo, in low tones.
“Not last night? Do you mean to say you have actually done something productive other than your useless paintings on all the other nights? Or even the whole year?” he almost screamed as he reached the end of his sentence.
Leo winced. Somehow, his parents, especially his father, was unable to appreciate his paintings. To them being special meant being able to get full marks in Mathematics paper. Being special meant being able to top the class, at least, if not the entire batch. Being special only meant special academically. What will an artist accomplish in life, compared to a brilliant scientist?
Nothing worthwhile, ever, according to them.
He sighed. It was no use arguing with his father. His mother was also of the same opinion.
“Of course, they would be”, he thought.
“After all, how could the child of two pioneering college professors be inclined to a career in anything other than academics?”
Leo off to his school
Avoiding the continuous gaze of his parents, Leo left for school. On the way, he thought, not about his unfinished physics syllabus or his chemistry homework, but about the art classes in school. They were the only classes that he looked really forward to. There was no point paying attention in science classes. For he didn’t understand a thing anyway. It was not his forte. Painting was.
Art, Literature, Culture, history—–that’s where his interest was. But gone were the times when people studied a subject because they loved it.
No, all that mattered was whether a job would be available at the end of it or not. And that’s why, art was as good as useless to his parents.
The blaring horn of a car jolted him out of his thought, and he saw that he was almost near the school gate. As he walked into the school building, he saw more boys and girls like him.
“Well, not really.” He thought, if they really had been “just like him”, he would have friends. But at school Leo was an considered an outcast. No one barely spoke to him, except to may be borrow an extra pen or enquire about the homework for the next day. Sometimes, even that was a rarity.
He was poked fun for his long hair. His parents had tried hard to make him change it into something “normal” but Leo had not relented.
“You look like a girl!” the boys would laugh at him.
The girls would stay away from him anyway. He didn’t speak much and was branded a “creep” for his reclusive attitude.
Leo being bullied at school
It was the same story today as well.
He walked into the class and cried out in pain, as he felt someone has tugged hard at his hair from the back. His eyes filling quickly with raging tears. He turned back and found a group of boys laughing at him. Mark who was the bully of the class and the size of a bear was laughing the loudest.
“Oh, did that hurt, Leo?” he ridiculed in a high voice.
“Are you going to cry like a girl now?’ another one sniggered, and they all started their laugh riot again.
Angrily slamming down his bag on the desk in front of a group of alarmed girls, Leo sat down.
Another day at the School had begun.
Leo and his terrible fate
By the time it was afternoon, Leo was completely exhausted. The day had somehow seen him being bullied more than ever. They would even come up with a new name for him.
“Leo.”, said quietly to himself.
He walked on the road without paying too much attention, for his mind was constantly echoing with the high-pitched ridiculed laughter of “Mark,” and everyone else. He had long ignored it, for all these years but it has now surpassed his level of toleration. Each day seemed to be making him more and more weaker. How long would he have to endure this? ALL HIS LIFE?
It seemed someone had heard his question for as Leo crossed the road, still submerged in his thoughts, he didn’t see the truck that was speeding towards him. He realized it a moment too late, and that all it takes.
He was crushed under its wheels. There was no way he could have been saved. People rushed to the scene like bee hives, but it was a mess.
A bloody, sorry, mess.
Leo’s parents arrived at the scene of the accident an hour later. His father who had cried the last time for his son when little Leo was born, now cried in shock and pain, his tears unending, his arms embracing his wife who simply had a blank look that gave an inkling of her broken spirit.
Their only son was gone.
His Funeral was held the next day. His body was too mangled to recognize his innocent , young face. But one thing that had remained intact was his hazel eyes, lifeless, though they were. Once those eyes had bubbled with the sparkling ambition of becoming a renowned painter. He was talented enough to have been so.
Sadly, his parent’s hadn’t been aware. May be things would have been different then. May be, if everyone had accepted him or her for who he was, his thought wouldn’t have distracted him, and he would have been alive.
At home, Leo’s painting lay untouched, unfinished, just like his dream of becoming an artist. The Patterns or colours looked almost like his blood that had been spattered on the concrete roads, only a day before.
God had definitely played a cruel game.