Chapter Three, Art
I took my seat at the easel in the back of the classroom- that just so happened to be behind Carmen and Christopher- after arriving late. I always rolled my eyes every time Christopher would whisper something and Carmen would desperately try to cover her giggles. In the moment she did that, I would wish she'd just let it out only because seeing her struggling to conceal it looked painful. The two of them together annoyed me with their friendly behavior as usual.
Today, as Mr. Redding continued to drone on about some hippie artists, I let my eyes wonder around the room and paid attention to everything other than Mr. Redding. Finally, my eyes fell on Carmen sitting at her easel in front me. Unlike the class who were listening to Mr. Redding, Carmen was busy creating art. It was against one of Mr. Redding's few rules. I wouldn't have taken her as the type to bend or break rules, but I guess first impressions are deceiving. To me, she looked like Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes.
I watched Carmen instead of listening to something that was probably important. She ripped pieces of tape and placed them obscurely over the canvas. Only one on the right side of the canvas stood perfectly straight; the rest were scattered as some overlapped. After she placed her last one, she pulled out a huge pack of Sharpies. The perfectly straight piece was colored black, while the rest were different colors. Not one color was used twice. After each piece of tape was colored, she took the black Sharpie again and made zigzags in the blank spaces between.
I was so entranced by what she was doing, I was oblivious to what was going on in the class. Paintings seemed to have meaning and I wondered what hers meant, considering paint wasn't used. After a while, I stopped watching her hand move and fixed my eyes on the straight black piece. Why is that one so straight and everything else a mess? When I saw Christopher lean towards Carmen's canvas and admire her work, I frowned.
"Niall, did you hear what I said?" Mr. Redding asked and it was then I realized he was standing right next to me. "Were you about to fall asleep?"
"Um, no. I was thinking."
"Alright, well, I decided the class could use some partner work. There are artists who have a muse or some source of inspiration or creative influence. I want you guys to find your muse in the class. Find someone and create a picture that would reflect them. The picture could be a unique portrait or of something."
"Mr. Redding, you know I won't do it."
"When I said anyone, I meant it. Choose anyone in this class." I never gave my attention to Mr. Redding and kept staring at Carmen and her easel. She was nearly done with her... whatever it was she's doing. Mr. Redding had noticed it, too.
"Now I know why you weren't listening. She's very good with tape."
"It's just stupid tape. Tape can't be art because there's nothing artistic about it. It comes in different colors and designs, but so what? It's junk."
"There's more than one use for it. I'll make your assignment easy. I want Carmen and you to be each other's muse."
"I'm not doing it. Give me detention or write me up and send me to the dean. I don't care."
"Why won't you? Niall, I saw your face. You were awestruck by Carmen's-"
"I'd rather receive an F, Mr. Redding."
"I could fail you, if that's what you want." My parents' nagging and implied expectations of me came to my mind when he said that. Reluctantly, I realized that's not what I wanted.
"I may do it. Don't expect some creative piece with junk on the canvas."
"You can't be so narrow minded, Niall. Think with no boundaries. Leave all doors open."
"I can if it's about something I don't care about."
"Fine, but you still have an assignment and you must have Carmen as your muse. I know you well enough to know you'll put it off until you can use the excuse that everyone has a partner and you will refuse to have me as your muse."
"True, but I still won't. Don't you think this assignment is a little stupid?"
"Not at all. I knew a very outgoing student who chose the quiet student as their muse."
"I know, that's what I said until I was proved wrong." Mr. Redding stared at me for a few moments with a smile on his face before turning to Carmen. "Nice work, Carmen."
"Oh, thanks Mr. Redding. I'm sorry. I know you said not to be working while you're talking, but I couldn't help it. I got your assignment and I'm still thinking of a muse in the class." Seriously, that's a joke. She and Christopher didn't choose each other?
"That's alright, Carmen. I think I can be of help for the assignment. Niall needs a partner. Will you be his muse?"
And with those five words, my entire life flashed before my eyes until I was consumed by darkness. No, I didn't die, but I might as well have. All of a sudden, a couple of stupid actions landed me an assignment with Carmen. How is this going to work when I don't even like her?
I felt like the universe was playing some sort of sick game with me. Mr. Redding had already gone to another student in the class and my eyes fell on Carmen. I didn't notice she was looking right at me until she shifted her gaze to the floor almost nervously. I think I was supposed to say something, but I didn't. I'm not talking to her and this assignment isn't going to happen. An F is fine by me. F stands for fantastic- just like my life at the moment.
this chapter was taken from a true story that happened to my lame middle school/high school friend. his name was Davin, only he was sorta friends with the girl he was partnered with
I should probably say I'm loosely incorporating my high school memories in this... idk how the experience is now, but if you were attending my high school in 2009-2012, this is how it would be like. kind of. we only had p.e. lockers
and yeah, this was cliché, but whatever. the rest won't be
favorite quote: "... Mr. Redding continued to drone on about some hippie artists..."