He takes his pencil and sketches a few rough lines on the paper. The swift motion of his hand makes black streaks across the white. He brushes the hair from his eyes and bites his lower lip. From over his shoulder, I watch this master at work. My brother is an artist. With a pencil and paper, he can portray the most beautiful of God’s creation. Sometimes I will come home from school to find him painting a landscape of beautiful mountains underneath a purple sky. On other nights, I will find a canvas with his composition of a powerful hurricane passing over the innocent mother earth.
Today, the etchings on his paper begin to come together in the shape of a face. The gentle curve of a cheek becomes obvious. He carefully draws small ears and a nose. Then the figure is given an outline of long hair that flows over thin-framed shoulders. With a meticulous hand, he creates a thin midsection that expands at the hips. Two long legs end with tiny feet. Each toe is drawn to perfection. The portrait is faultless. I watch her with steady eyes; just as the angels must have watched over God’s shoulder as he began his work on man and woman.
“Who is she?” I ask as I hold the corner of the paper between two of my fingers. My brother doesn’t answer; he simply smiles and puts his pencil against the paper once more. Her mouth is drawn closed with two petite lips. As his work continues, I feel as though I am watching her birth occur in slow motion.
Her eyes take the longest. He spends a full hour completing them. Whenever I look into them, it is as though I can see every second of her life leading up to the moment in which my brother captured her. He must have seen her somewhere, I think to myself.
His wife may have left him, but he remained the gifted artist he was before.
She doesn’t know what she gave up.
Jake Wickenhofer is a seventeen-year-old writer living in Bridgeport, West Virginia.. His work has been accepted by magazines such as The Oracular Tree, Alienskin Magazine, Static Movement, AntipodeanSF, Flash Scribe, and of course Backhand Stories. His major influences are Greg Wickenhofer, Chuck Palahniuk, and Julie Maxey.