Broken Orange Crayons
By: Pointy Objects
"That's the third time this week."
The little boy slumped deeper into his chair.
"You can't keep doing this…" she warned. She could have sworn that she heard something along the lines of, "'Oh yeah…?' pass through his tiny lips, but she ignored it and continued on. "Will you at least tell me why?"
"I hate her." he said, simply.
"No, you don't. You're six years old. You don't know how to hate yet."
"I do know how. And I do hate her." he said, pounding his tiny fists on the grey seating of the car. They were nearing the house, and he was sure that his punishment was imminent. Regardless, his ire was far from settled, and even under the threat of no books for the remainder of the week, he could not help but speak of his rage.
"Why do you hate her?" his mother asked simply. She didn't seem at all phased by the fact that her son was called to the principal's office three times in one week.
"She uses the same stupid orange crayons everyday. All her stupid scribbles are orange. I hate her orange crayons. I wanna break 'em."
"You did break them. All of them. But, you can't break other people's crayons. It's not nice." the woman said knowingly. She managed to keep her smirk from her son, who was still scowling in the front seat. She found it ironic that she, of all people, was giving her own scowling offspring a lesson on how to treat people.
Upon pulling up to the house, Helga turned the car off and rotated in her seat to face him. "So…what's the deal?"
"No television, and no books." he said, retreating from the car, and bolting into the house. The hunter green front door was open, and young Daniel threw the screen door open and walked into house.
Helga strode in a few moments later, after sitting the car and squeezing the bridge of her nose. She knew that Arnold would warn her again that she wasn't punishing him enough, at least not enough so that his behavior stopped. For all he knew, she was encouraging it.
She couldn't help but feel the same.
Kicking off her shoes in the living room, Helga perched herself on the couch, and waited for her husband to make his way from the bedroom into the living room.
"Was it the glue again?"
"No. He's still breaking crayons." Helga sighed.
"I don't understand."
"It's just a phase."
"A phase?" Arnold asked. Helga had her eyes covered by one of her hands, but moved it slightly down her face to raise an eyebrow. "You think breaking the crayons of other children is a phase?" he asked, skeptically.
Helga held back a smile. Since Daniel's birth, and most importantly, since his ascension into his latest phase, consisting mostly of poking fun at others and maniacal laughter, Arnold was more than eager to take on the role of responsible father and stern disciplinarian. He made it no secret that he adored his son, entirely, but was also a firm believer in treating others as they wanted to be treated, and was completely perplexed by his son's sudden and uncharacteristic behavior.
"Actually, I do." Helga said, replacing her hand. She knew it was better to let Arnold go off for a few minutes than try to calm him down. He could be pretty worked up when he wanted to.
"And when, may I ask, do you think this phase will end?" Arnold asked, taking a seat next to the outstretched Helga, looking slightly upset, but rubbing her knee anyway.
"As soon as he admits that he loves her."
"Who is Marissa?" Arnold asked.
"The little girl whose orange crayons he keeps breaking."
Helga sat up and looked at Arnold seriously. "Please tell me that it's as obvious to you as it is to me." When no response came, she sighed heavily and went on. "He breaks her orange crayons. And he pokes her during recess. And he tells her that her hair is stupid. Trust me; he clearly loves her."
"That makes no sense." Arnold mused.
"Worked for me." Helga stated, beaming.
Arnold shook his head, still baffled, but content with at least knowing what was going on, even if he didn't fully comprehend it. "That's it." he said, standing up and retreating back to he and Helga's spacious bedroom.
"The next kid we have, is going to inherit my personality, so that I'll finally have someone to understand in this house." he joked.
"Maybe the next kid we have won't inherit your stupid Football head."
"I love you."
"Love you, too."
Helga entered the dark bedroom, wearing the red, silk pajamas that were a gift from Arnold and Daniel for their last anniversary. The light that filtered in from the window made up for the darkness of the room.
On the little blue bed in the corner, lay Daniel, fast asleep on his side, a dog-eared copy of his favorite book, 'The Prince and the Pauper', open next to him. Along with his fiery attitude, he also inherited his mother's love for reading, and the only acceptable sentence for his minor crimes at school was to take away a book form his collection. Regardless, he always found another book somewhere, and managed to squeak by.
Sitting on the bed next to him, Helga reached to cover him up when something under her cracked. Thinking it to be a toy of his, she sprang up and felt around atop the bed to see what she managed to break. Her hand returned with three pieces of what used to be a bright orange crayon. Confused, Helga searched the expanse of the bed further, until her hand drifted under the pillow where her son's head lay. She pulled out pieces, chunks of orange crayons from under the pillow; some covered in the dull paper that adorned each crayon, despite it's color, and some stripped entirely. Regardless, none of them were whole. They were all broken in one way or another and clearly used, from the sheen that the surface reflected.
Helga looked to her son's sleeping face, and was not shocked to find a small smile come over it. She bent down a left a kiss on his forehead before replacing the broken shards of crayon under his pillow.
Her first impulse was to tell Arnold about her discovery. By the time she returned to their bedroom, however, she abandoned the thought altogether. Arnold already knew exactly what he needed to, and anything else would serve to either stun or confuse him further. This was a secret she was more than happy to keep to herself.
Like mother like son.
In all honesty, I do not know why I wrote this. I really don't. The idea come to me on my way home from work yesterday. And I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. I think it changes a lot, ya know? A lot of…shifting going on. Hmm. It's been a long week. It'll be a long weekend. I'm thinking too much.
This is for Arnolds Love, who is totally a great pally, and also very sweet. Here's wishing you many, many dip-covered carrots.