CHAPTER 17 (continued)

Posted: July 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The game goes on for about 30 minutes before Mumtaz and her partner pull their card, and with that move to the home icon on the board. Everyone congratulates them and then turns to Hasina to verify the scores. “ im sorry” she says a little embarrassed, “I lost track of the scores” she says and shrugs her shoulders. Everyone is in such a good mood that no one really cares about the scores and they don’t even notice the lost look on her face. The hum dies down and everyone settles back in their places. I look at Hasina and she seems a million miles away. She is still scribbling with her paper and pencil and when I look down at the writing board on her lap, I am amazed. Most people doodle patterns and repetitive lines when bored, but this, I continue to stare at it. This is a drawing, a sketch with depth and form. The paper holds a sketch of a coffee table with a pair of glasses resting on an open book. A coffee cup has spilled and sits next to it, almost seeping towards the pages. It is not detailed but it is so precise.

“Wow” I say absentmindedly and unintentionally get Hasina’s attention. “your sketch is lovely”, I say. “Where did you study” expecting the name of a famous art school, maybe even one overseas. She shakes her head embarrassed, “I didn’t go to college” is her reply and at first I think she misunderstood me. “No, I meant where did you learn to draw?” I ask concisely.

“I just started to play around with paper and pencil when I was younger and would go to the library to read about techniques” she said blankly. i think she is joking. There is no way a spoilt, rich, posh girl even saw the inside of a library. I chuckle. She looks up at me now and I realize she is dead serious. “Im sorry” I respond uneasily. “I thought you were joking”. I look down again at her drawing and gesture for her to hand it over.

i studied sketching and drawing as modules at university and while I loved it, it didn’t come naturally to me. I struggled with shading and contour. Thankfully I didn’t need to be an expert sketcher to be an architect. I remember several art students that shared the module with us. Their talent was obvious, many of them had years of extra curricular art classes and some had done art courses, of course they also had green hair and outrageous fashion sense. Hasina’s amateur drawing reminds me of theirs. I remember being told that sketching is symbolic, and I wonder what hers is meant to symbolize. Looking at the piece of paper the expression in it is unmistakable. The raw talent is obvious and there is something familiar in the way it is drawn, but I cant put my finger on it. “this is really good” I say examining it carefully. “I only did half modules on sketching but this is better than anything I could have done.” I said honestly. She looks up at me curiously. “It was part of my architecture degree” I offer . “I didn’t know you were an architect” she says. “wow, that sounds exciting”.

“it was”, I respond, “..but I enjoy what I do now”. Trying to change the subject back to her I say, “Were you not interested in studying art further?” still curious how someone could foresake so much talent.

She hesitated as if thinking back to the past. She sighed, and shrugged her shoulders, smiling through regret she said, “I had applied but we just couldn’t afford it”.

“Huh! were you poor?” the words flew out of my mouth completely bypassing my brain. It was probably because that was the last thing I expected her to say. I took a gap year to spain, or, I went on a sailing course, would have been more plausible. I started to feel the now familiar heat in my cheeks. Even my ears began to burn in embarrassment.

“Er…im so sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude” I said, she didn’t respond. “It’s, just I didn’t expect that. You don’t seem like…” she looked at me more closely as if examining each word as it escapes my mouth. I stopped. I couldn’t trust my words. I thought about what I wanted to say. “Listen I didn’t mean to offend you, it’s just that I assumed you may have always been…well off”, ok I thought, that sounded better.

“You thought I was a spoilt rich kid” she said flatly with some contempt. Ok I deserved that. “No!” I protested, then something in the way she looked at me, made me say, “Yes, I did”. She smiled. I sighed and smiled back in relief.

coffee cupshine




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