After the popularity of "Black Crayons" and "Drawings," I thought I would expand on it. You do not have to read the other two to understand, but it makes the story more interesting. I also worked it so you are not required to read in any particular order. Annabelle is still in preschool, but her parents are attending a parent-teacher conference. I remember that in those days that the kid would be in the room, but playing or coloring, during the conference. Hope you like the story.
Parent-teacher conferences are always interesting. Some are a chance to praise a high achiever memorization of the alphabet. Some are a chance to inform parents of behavior problems that need to be corrected.
But this particular meeting was one of the odder ones she had ever participated in.
The parents of this specific child were upstanding members of society. Her father, Captain Lennox, had even served in the armed forces. Everything suggested that Annabelle should be a well-adjusted girl. And for the most part, she was. There were just a few oddities that attracted Mrs. Johnson's attention.
As the adults spoke, Annabelle was coloring. She appeared oblivious to her parents' conversation with her teacher.
"Thank you for coming, Mr. and Mrs. Lennox," the teacher began, "Annabelle is an incredibly sweet girl. She always finishes her work and usually gets along well with the other children." It was always good to start out on a positive note. It makes later criticism easier to accept.
"Usually?" asked Mrs. Lennox, catching the key word.
Mrs. Johnson continued, "There are a few things I'd like to discuss. First, there was the 'incident' I spoke to you before of. Happily, there has not been a repeat. I just need to know it has been taken care of."
As she spoke, she remembered the incident vividly. Everyone had been coloring when Carl had held up his picture. It showed a flying saucer in the night sky. He then told the class that aliens would get them all in the middle of the night. He obviously was trying to scare his friends, but Annabelle started yelling at Carl. She told him not all aliens were mean and some were nice. When he had shot back that all aliens were evil, she attacked him. Annabelle got in several punches before Mrs. Johnson could pull them apart. It had been so surprising an assault because Annabelle was usually so nice.
Her father assured, "Yes, we told her it's not good to hurt people, even when they make us mad. It's shouldn't happen again."
"Alright," answered Mrs. Johnson, wanting to know why Annabelle would have gotten so angry, but unable to think of how to ask without sounding nosy. "Next, there is some of her language. All children her age use made-up words, but some she uses seem especially odd."
"Slag," announced Annabelle, "Can I please have another black crayon, Mrs. Johnson?"
Handing the requested crayon to the girl, the preschool teacher noticed the Lennox couple exchanging a look. Watching over small children had sharpened her observation skills and being married had increased her understanding of silent messages. This one clearly said "Oh dear."
What was actually said was, "She has always been creative. Just look at her pictures."
The final and in some ways strangest topic. There was nothing wrong or anything that could be truly worth bringing up about it. It was just… odd. There was no other word for it.
"That's the last thing I wanted to ask about," she told the captain. "All her pictures, while creative and beautiful, always have something in common. Annabelle, could you bring your drawing over here, please?"
The picture in question was like any other a child would draw. Green grass with puffy clouds and the sun above it. A house with a red roof stood next to an apple tree. The only feature that Mrs. Johnson was concerned with was in the middle. A black pick-up truck.
"Every picture she draws, no matter the assignment, has this truck," she informed the parents. "Every single one. Even when drawing indoor pictures or of her best friend, she has a black truck."
"What's wrong with that?" Mrs. Lennox asked.
Mrs. Johnson admitted, "Nothing. It's just a little odd. And I was just wondering if you might have some insight."
"It's important, Mrs. Johnson," Annabelle answered. The parents remained silent, so apparently that was all the response she was going to receive.
"Well, that's about it," the teacher sighed, "Thank you for coming."
As the three Lennoxes left, Mrs. Johnson watched out the window. Annabelle ran ahead to a black truck, one that looked exactly like her drawings. The girl then hugged the front fender. The door opened, before she touched it. Must be one of those automatic doors you can open with the key from a distance. Before he climbed in, Lennox stood near the hood for a moment.
Because of the distance, she couldn't be sure, but Mrs. Johnson could have sworn he muttered, "I can't believe you are teaching Annabelle that kind of language, Ironhide."
And even stranger, she thought she might have heard a gruff voice apologize.