Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Half of Me: Chapter 4

Half of Me
by Paul Diaz

Chapter 4: Denial

A whole week passed, Darlene, Kristine and Henry had already moved in with Adam to give the young man company. The two ladies were busy cooking breakfast when suddenly Adam came down and was singing loudly. Everyone looked at him as he swayed and sang with full emotion. As Adam finished his song, he bowed and Henry started clapping so the two ladies did the same.

“Good morning everyone!” Adam happily said. “Did you have a good sleep sir?” Henry asked. “Oh yes, and now I feel so hungry so could you speed up the cooking girls?” the young man pleaded. Kristine and Darlene were surprised, they turned around and were still in disbelief. “What’s happening?” Kristine whispered. “I don’t know but he seems to be in a good mood so we better not spoil it” Darlene responded.

Breakfast was served; Adam who barely ate the past few days was really different. All eyes were on him for he was eating like a pig. “Don’t mind me I am just so hungry” he murmured with a full mouth. In ten minutes he was full while the three barely touched their food. “I think Aimee won’t be eating breakfast with us so just go ahead and eat” Adam said and the rest didn’t know how to respond.

“Where do you think did she go and buy your gift?” Kristine suddenly asking resulting with a light nudge to the rib from Darlene. Adam smiled at them and happily said, “Oh I don’t know, but I am excited to see what that gift is. It may be late but as long as it’s from her it won’t matter” the young man replied. He suddenly stood up and walked towards the refrigerator and grabbed some chocolate bars. “What the hell are you trying to do?” Darlene whispered. “He is in denial, it’s best if we keep his mind busy” Kristine whispered back.

“Oh Adam, why don’t you continue your story. Sorry about last time I feel asleep. Why don’t you continue the story so everyone could hear it” Kristine said and Adam stood still and looked at them. They were worried because he wore a slight frown but everything changed when he smiled and got back at his seat. “Okay, Darlene and Henry knew what happened the first day anyway so let me tell you the days after then” he gamely said. Adam started telling their story as the three listened intently as they ate.

Two Years Ago

It was a sunny Monday morning, Adam and Darlene were walking down the hall of the art school. They were thirty minutes early and today was the sixth day of Adam’s class. “Tell me why you chose to wear jeans and shirt again?” Darlene asked and Adam laughed. “I want to look normal. I want to be me, just like the old days. I feel comfortable this way” he replied. “You look better wearing something more decent” his assistant told him. “Why? Don’t I look decent? You know what I really love this art class” Adam said.

“And why is that?” Darlene asked. “Hmmm…my classmates don’t pay much attention to me. It is as if they don’t know me and that is how I like it. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the attention but with too much attention I feel like being choked” the young man said. “Your classmates are lawyers, doctors and one celebrity like you” Darlene said as she grinned at him. “Celebrity? Really? I didn’t know that because I don’t pay attention to them too” Adam told her and Darlene laughed.

Adam stopped and looked at Darlene, “Why are you laughing?” he asked. “Oh nothing, are you sure you don’t pay attention to your classmates?” she asked. “Yeah, but not in a way I am being a snob. I do smile at them when they look at me. I do ask questions or you know casual talk here and there” Adam replied. “Aimee Patterson, the pianist, you classmate” Darlene dropped the bomb and Adam smiled. “I knew it, she looked familiar. So that’s her name…Aimee” the young man uttered as Darlene raised an eyebrow and grinned.

“I can help you” Darlene suddenly uttered and Adam froze and looked at her. “Help with what?” he asked. “You never had a girlfriend, right?” she asked. “Yeah so what?” he replied. “I can help you” his assistant said. Adam played dumb and laughed, “You are acting strange today Darlene” he commented. “Seriously Adam, I can help you. Five days of classes and you even didn’t get to know her name? I can help you. I know your problem” Darlene told him and the young man just laughed even more.

All of a sudden Adam looked at his watch even if he wasn’t wearing one; he reached inside his pocket and pretended to search for something. “What is it?” Darlene asked but the young man turned around slowly. Darlene wondered why he was acting that way but as she turned around she saw Aimee walking towards them. The assistant hid her smile and tricked the young man. “She went in already” she whispered and Adam faced her only to see Aimee in front of the door looking at him. He froze as their eyes met, his hands began to shake. “Are you coming in?” Aimee asked and all Adam could do was smile at her and nod.

The pretty red head entered the classroom and other people enrolled to the class followed. Adam took a deep breath and shook his head while Darlene was laughing at him. “I can help you” she repeated. “Why do you keep saying that?” Adam asked. “Because you like her” Darlene said and Adam laughed. The young man walked towards the door but turned to look at his assistant. “I don’t know what you are talking about Darlene but if ever I like someone, I am going to do it my way” Adam told her. “Talk is cheap Adam” Darlene quipped and the young man grinned at her.

Inside the classroom everyone was seated in front of their easels, and at the center was a one red shiny apple on top of a stool. A grey haired man walked around and fixed his tie looking at every student’s accomplishment so far. “Alright, let’s continue from last meeting. Take your time; art is not to be rushed. Never compare your work to others, work at your own pace. Everyone can improve at their own rate. So go ahead continue, I will go around and give you suggestions and corrections” the old man said.

Derrick Milton was the art director of the school, he wanted to teach this students because they were the high paying ones so he said they deserved the best. Adam was staring at his sketch, a set of water color was in front of him but he could not start painting. “Let me tell you a secret, you have the best sketch in this class but this isn’t a sketch school. You may sketch well but there is a lot left for the imagination. You have to give life to that sketch. But I must say you do sketch well, now you have to add color, add life to it” Derrick told him. The old man took a brush, dipped it in water and on the color red and he started to do the edges.

“You see it is starting to breathe, a while ago it was just a structure where you used your imagination to guess what its color was. Now you tell them what color of the apple is, show them how you see it so they can see the apple through your eyes” Derrick said and he handed the brush to Adam. The young man continued painting and the old man patted his back as he moved along.

Thirty minutes later the professor left the classroom and Adam quickly stood up and tore his work. Everyone looked at him as he threw his unfinished art in the trash can. A new canvass was set and a pencil at hand, Adam started to sketch, this time he wasn’t looking at the apple. Ten minutes later the sketch was finished and Adam was so proud of his work that he stood up and did a little dance. His classmates looked at him and started to laugh so Adam sat back down and took the brush.

He lowered his voice and imitated the art instructor; he repeated every word the old man said while he gave color to his sketch. Most of his classmates kept on laughing and could not do their work so some gathered behind his back and were amazed at Adam’s work. “It isn’t an apple” said the lawyer. Adam grinned and looked at him, “Who said I was doing that apple? I don’t get it, why does it have to be apples anyway?” he replied and Aimee chuckled so everyone looked at her.

“It’s her, but it’s just a face. No eyes, mouth, it’s just her face” said the doctor and Adam panicked. “What are you talking about? I just imagined this image” he told them. “Yeah right, just imagined” said another man as they all looked at Aimee. The sketch was exactly her image minus the specific details of the face. “You got her face and hair correctly thought” the lawyer commented and Adam had his face all red.

Aimee stood up and walked towards Adam; the rest moved away but patted the young man’s shoulder bidding him good luck. The singer froze, his hands shook hard and he wanted to cover his work but it was too late. The red haired woman stood beside him, she stared at his work while Adam could not even move his head to look at her. “You sketch well” she commented and the young man turned and looked at her. “It isn’t you I swear” he said and Aimee just smiled at her.

Adam looked at his work again and started to rant. “Well who the heck am I kidding, yeah it’s you but I am sorry I am not really good in details” he said but as he turned Aimee was not there. Professor Derrick Milton was stroking his beard and staring at his work. “You don’t understand why I am teaching you the basics. Are you in a hurry? Rushing wont do you any good. Look what you have done, it looks good but it would look better if the image had Miss Patterson’s eyes, lips and all facial details. I told you to focus on the apple and she isn’t an apple” the professor told him.

“To my eyes she is” Adam boasted and everyone tried to hold back their smiles and looked at Aimee. The young lady was blushing, there was a faint smile on her face but she was holding back. Adam grinned and looked at their professor who had his two eyebrows raised. “Okay then mister Bowfield. I will let this incident pass if you are able to complete the face on your work. If you can’t then I would ask you to drop this class. I have no time to deal with wise asses like you” he threatened and Adam fell silent and embarrassed.

The professor walked towards Aimee, she sat frozen for a while and then looked at the old man. Professor Milton took a deep breath and rubbed his forehead then angrily shook his head. Adam saw everything, he even saw Aimee bow down her head. He wanted to know why but as he turned to his work he had a bigger problem waiting. He had to finish the details and if he couldn’t he would not be seeing Aimee again.

Adam took his pencil; he wanted to try to finish his work. Aimee saw him and didn’t move, she was trying to help him and Adam knew she was. No matter how much he wanted to he just could not, he knew his weakness so he let go of his pencil and just looked at Aimee. This was probably the last time he could do so for he did not have the courage, at this moment he thought of Darlene’s offer. The bell rang and the young man bowed his head in defeat.

Aimee and Adam were the last ones in the classroom, the young lady was still holding her pose but Adam stood up and packed his things. “It’s okay I just can’t do it. Thank you” he said. Aimee stood up and packed her bag, she looked at Adam and she saw the sadness in his face. “Maybe he was just kidding” she told him. Adam looked at her and smiled, “If he was still I am a man of my word. I know my weaknesses and I don’t want to beg. I know I was wrong but I just couldn’t help it” Adam said while scratching his head.

“You did it because you wanted to right?” Aimee asked but Adam felt embarrassed so he bowed his head. “Finish it” the young woman added and Adam looked at her. Aimee sat back down and regained her pose, “Take out your phone and take a photo of me” she commanded. “Say what?” the young man asked. “Take a photo of me and finish that” she replied.

“But I am not good with details” Adam told her. “Take a photo of me and finish your work” Aimee insisted so Adam quickly took out his phone and took a photo of Aimee. “If you started something that you believe is right then be ready to finish it. You say you are not good in detail but who is there to judge you when in your eyes you believe what you made is good” the young lady told him and those words penetrated his brain completely. “Yeah, I am going to finish this” he said and Aimee smiled at him. “Good luck, I wanted to stay but I have an appointment” she told him.

“Ah, Aimee…thanks” Adam whispered. “See you tomorrow Adam” she told him and they smiled at each other. At that moment he was so happy, an emotion he rarely felt his whole life. With his phone in one hand and a pencil in the other, Adam just could not start sketching for he could not stop smiling.

“Wow, that’s not a fake smile” a female voice said. Darlene was standing by the door looking at Adam who still flashed a wide smile. “Let’s go, we have lunch arrangements” she said. “Cancel them, I have to finish this” Adam told her. Darlene happily dialed her phone and looked at the young man, “You know what I am getting a hang of cancelling appointments already” she said and they laughed.

After the call Darlene went to get lunch. An hour later she came back only to see Adam sitting at the floor and staring at the ceiling. “What are you doing down there? Are you done?” she asked but the young man remained silent. Darlene walked towards the easel and saw nothing was added to his work. “Adam I can see you could draw well but she should have a face” she commented.

“I can’t! I just don’t have the talent for details. I should have stuck with the apple” Adam replied and slouched back. Darlene walked around the room checking the other easels, “Hey Adam, they all have apples” she joked but the young man closed his eyes and sulked. “Hey Adam, you should see this” his assistant said. “I don’t want to see an apple” he replied. “No it isn’t an apple, come quick” she told him. “Just tell what it is Darlene, I am not in the mood right now” Adam said. “It’s you!” Darlene said.

Adam opened his eyes and looked at his assistant; she was standing in front of Aimee’s easel. He quickly stood up and rushed to Darlene’s side and he could not believe what he saw. “See! It’s you. Look, those eyes, pointed eyebrows, your nose and your lips. She drew you!” she ecstatically said. “That is me? It looks like me…yes it is me!” he shouted with glee. “But I don’t understand why it’s just the eyes, nose and mouth. It’s just like your face is bursting out of the canvass” Darlene said as she burst in laughter.

“So I am the apples of her eyes too” the young man whispered as he stared at his own reflection on the canvass. “What did you say?” Darlene asked. Adam rushed to his seat and followed the pose of Aimee’s work. “Take out your phone and take my picture, sit down on the stool. Do it quick!” Adam commanded. Darlene didn’t ask questions but followed what was ordered. Adam got back at Aimee’s easel and started to finish what was started.

“She is good in details while I am not. What I excel in that is her weakness. So I am going to finish this for her” he said. “Ah should you be finishing your own work?” Darlene asked. “No, I don’t care anymore. I want to do this for her. I want to complete what she started. I want to complete what she could not. I don’t care if I get kicked out, I just want to know that she smiled seeing this even if I don’t get to see it” Adam said as he stroke his pencil magic on the canvass.

Two hours later and Adam finished his own portrait; he took a deep breath and smiled. “Wow, Adam I can’t believe it. Six days of art school and you managed to make a portrait of yourself” Darlene said. “No Darlene, it’s we. Aimee and me” Adam joyfully said. It took ten more minutes for the two to stop staring at the portrait, another five minutes to pack.

“Adam how about your work?” Darlene asked. “Hmmm I don’t really care anymore. Tomorrow I am going to show up here and beg if I have to. I take back all I said a while ago. I do want to see her smile when she sees this” he said. “You know what? Maybe she can finish your work too. Wow, you barely know each other and it is as if you already complete each other” she commented and Adam giggled.

“Hey Darlene, do you think she will be happy seeing this? Will she be insulted?” Adam asked. “If I was her? I would be so happy Adam. I just can’t believe it you know. Six days and you two managed to make something like this? Oh boy, but wait…did I see you giggle?” Darlene teased and the young man laughed. “I don’t want to deny it but yeah you are right. I do like her…she drew me, I mean parts of my face…do you think…” Adam said but cut it short. “Yes she does” his assistant said and Adam hugged her. “Am I in love Darlene?” he asked and they both laughed.

The next morning Adam intentionally went to class late. He stood by the door and the professor noticed him. “Mister Bowfield nothing will be accomplished if you stand there” the old man said. Adam was surprised so he slowly took one step inside and pointed to his seat. “Yes, go to your seat and will you just do the apple this time” Professor Milton told him. Adam was so happy, he rushed to his stool and as he opened his canvass his jaw dropped. Aimee’s portrait was complete and for a whole minute he could not take his eyes off the canvass.

He first looked at his professor then turned his attention to Aimee. The pretty red head was looking at him; she was smiling so he smiled back. “Thank you” Adam whispered as Aimee’s smile became sweeter. “Thank you” she replied and the more they smiled at each other.

As soon as the bell rang Aimee and Adam had their apples finished. Professor Milton was amazed on their work since they only restarted it. Outside Darlene was busy on her phone waiting for Adam to come out. She saw the professor leaving with a grin and seconds later she could not believe that Adam and Aimee were side by side walking out of the classroom. A simple hand signal from Adam and Darlene knew she had to cancel all appointments for the day and just watched the two walk away.

“Again I want to say thank you” Adam said. “Thank you for what?” Aimee asked. “For finishing my work” the young man said. “I don’t know what you are talking about. Thank you for finishing mine” Aimee replied and Adam laughed. “I too don’t know what you are talking about” he said. The two were traversing the hallway laughing and giggling and as soon as they stepped out of the school they both looked at each other.

Adam reached out his hand to Aimee and smiled at her. “We have not formally met, my name is Adam” he said. “I am Aimee” the young lady replied and they shook hands. Adam was ashamed, he kept on looking away but he wanted to ask Aimee out for lunch. “I am starving, you want to grab lunch with me?” Aimee suddenly asked. “Yes I would so love that” that young man replied and Aimee laughed seeing Adam’s wide eyed reaction.

“Ah, shall we take my limo or yours?” Adam asked and Aimee smiled. “Let’s walk. I know a good place nearby” she said and at the same time they both signaled their drivers to go on ahead without them. “Oh Adam wait up” they heard Darlene shouting as she ran towards them. Adam’s assistant stood beside the young man and secretly handed a bundle of cash on his hand. “I just want to tell you that your schedule for the day is all clear. That’s all, enjoy your lunch you two. Oh by the way Aimee I am a big fan of yours” Darlene said as Adam pocketed the cash.

“Would you like to join us?” Aimee asked and Adam looked at Darlene with wide eyes. “Oh no, I still have errands to run. You two go ahead and enjoy” the assistant said and she walked towards the limo. “That was Darlene my assistant, she is also my manager” Adam said. “Just your manager?” Aimee asked and Adam looked at her surprised. “Yes my manager and assistant, why?” he asked and the young lady just smiled and shook her head. “Come on I am starving” she said so the two started to walk.

“Do you think your girlfriend can manage me too?” Aimee jokingly asked and Adam laughed. “She is not my girlfriend” he said. “You don’t have to deny it you know” the young lady teased. “What is there to deny? I never had a girlfriend in my life” Adam replied and Aimee stopped and looked at him. “I believe you” she told him and Adam was surprised.

“Say what? You believe me?” he asked and Aimee laughed. “I do believe you” she said again. “I was expecting a different reaction, I was expecting you to call me a liar” Adam said. Aimee smiled and bumped hips with Adam and said. “Trust me I do believe you” she reiterated and giggled. Adam scratched his head as they continued walking, he looked at Aimee and all he could do was smile.