“My cheek throbbed and stung where she had slapped me. I felt sad and cross at the same time.
I think she is the most beautiful girl in the class, and she has embarrassed me in front of everyone. And all because I drew her as the most important person in the choir.
It all started when I was quite small. My drawings caught the eye of someone in the school, and the next thing there were strange people in our house. My mother was crying and my father shouting at them, then fighting, but that time he was fighting with people who could stop him hurting them.
I remember the day when my mother came to say goodbye. I was living with mom and dad then, and they sat both sides of me to make me feel safe. They shouldn’t have worried; I know one day I will hurt her like she used to hurt me.”
“And why did you draw her bigger than everyone else in the choir” asks Miss Julia.
“Because she is the prettiest, and she sings the best, and ‘cause I like her. But now she doesn’t like me”
“How does that make you feel Edward?” asks Miss Julia.
“Very sad” I reply. “Maybe I must draw her smaller? Will that make her happy?”
“I think maybe you should tell her why you drew her so especially big” says Miss Julia.
I smile. Suddenly I can see her smile too when I tell her how special she is.
In the tea room Julia, who is the art teacher and David who is the class teacher sit quietly enjoying their cup of tea and a biscuit, knowing the rowdiness in the playground means the children will have released a lot of energy and be ready for another half hour of focusing.
Julia is telling David of the little classroom spat. David asks to see the drawing and they take it later to the school therapist.
“The boy has an incredible ability to draw, apparently his very vivid pictures of his parents beating him, pinching him, and sticking needles into him and his sister were the cause of the original investigation into the abuse. When the authorities investigated and found his sister, damaged to the point where she will never walk properly or talk or see out of one eye again it was too late to save her. She committed suicide in the hospital, though how she found the open window was hard to determine.
He seems to have adapted. His drawings now are as detailed, you can always tell the people in them, but until now his idea of perspective has not changed. Important people are big, and he is always the smallest, regardless of the actual sizes.”
The school therapist smiled at Julia, “ you were right to ask about his emotions. Letting them express them seems to be helping. At one stage we believed he too was a suicide risk, but slowly he is growing his image in the pictures. We hope that when he reaches the same size as his friends we can start to really hope for a full recovery.”