The boy, maybe more than 8 years old, sat with his back to all of us. On the floor, near his knee, the tin of colored pencils sat open. On the chair, situated like a table, a small notebook was open and propped up against the back of the chair, a handheld Nintendo DS was open to a game screen. His fingers held the colored pencil, and he examined closely the screen, and then he began to once again color.
He was oblivious to the rest of us in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office, where I was sitting with my son, waiting for our turn to get called to the exam room. The only sound other than the chattering of the office staff was the gurgling of the fish tank. All of us were watching the back of this artist, mostly absentmindedly. Just something to stare at during the waiting.
I watched him, too, though I suspect I was more interested than others, for whatever reason. As I had walked past the boy artist, I had noticed the game on his DS open and his illustration underway was stunningly beautiful, a painstakingly detailed imitation of the screen. I was intrigued. I watched as he slowly, carefully, methodically put away one colored pencil and then carefully, slowly, methodically chose the next color. There was nothing random to what he was doing. It was all very deliberate.
Then, a bit of panic. His fingers searched for a color. Moving pencils back into place. Fingers. Fingers. He glanced around, and I could see something in his eyes. He quickly looked at the ground. He looked on a nearby bench. He put all the pencils away and stood up. He checked himself, hands on pants and in pockets. Glanced around again, for the first time seeming to acknowledge other people in the room, if only to silently accuse us of theft of a pencil. I almost wanted to say, I didn’t take it! I didn’t steal any of your pencils! Do you want me to help you look?
But his mother and older brother came out of the examination room, and he quickly packed up his art gear, gave one last look around, slammed shut his DS, and in seconds, he and his family were gone. Me? I kept looking around for that boy’s lost pencil, for what if that were the exact color he needed to finish his drawing and it was nowhere to be found?
What then? And I could not help wondering later, what color?
Peace (in the artist),