The crayon portrait

Posted: 2011 in Post 2.1
Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, March 22, 8:11 p.m.

Jack shifts the wedding photo to the bottom of the stack and pulls out a scrap of fragile, holey paper. This one isn’t a photo. He gently unfolds it.

“I accidentally made a tear in it last year. Be very careful,” he says.

He hands it to me.

A big red blob dominates the construction paper. It has wild green hair and broom-like arms and no legs. Its eyes are askew like a Picasso. A series of letters, unconnected and jagged, spell out…something.

 Crayon drawing

“Did your daughter make this?” I say.

He nods.

“When?”

“In preschool. Maybe a week before the murder,” he says.

I look at the paper to hide how uncomfortable I am. If I had realized that today is the day his wife was killed twelve years ago, I would never have sat down at his table, laden with empty booze glasses and pictures from his dead past.

Or would I?

“What does this say?” I ask.

“‘HI I LOVE YOU MOMMY! LOVE LUCY!’” he spells out, tracing the text with his finger. The nail is nipped down so far it’s painful to look at. I’ve seen hands like his before. He must chew his nails mercilessly.

“Very sweet,” I say.

“It took me three of these days, three years, to figure it out,” he says. “It’s the only picture Lucy drew as a little kid that I have.”

“Did you throw the others out?” I ask.

Jack shrugs.

“Things turned bad after she died. Things disappeared. I have no idea why this didn’t.”

He signals the waitress. He’s already so drunk. He looks at me in a way that makes me shrink.

“Things went very, very bad after she was murdered,” he says.

 

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