I Drew a Picture of You

I drew a picture of you, with a pen and with paper. How else was I supposed to draw it? It was beautiful, and accurate. Accurate as hell.

But I straightened the page and realized that it was only beautiful when I looked at it from a certain angle. Tilted, just a bit. When I straightened the page, I found I’d been drawing all along from the wrong perspective. Your eyes were just a bit crooked, your nose a bit off center. Your smile, or what I thought had been a smile, slid across your bent face to form a smirk, as if you knew all along that this would happen.

And then I remembered, or realized, that using a pen to draw your face was a terrible decision in the first place. Pen, as we both know, is permanent. They teach you that early, don’t they? From kindergarten. But I must have missed that part, because I never went to kindergarten.

Ink stains and bleeds an ageless line into the white, naked sheets of paper. If I was wise, maybe I would have used a pencil, and then I could have corrected your slightly crooked face.

But if you gave me the chance to redraw everything I liked about you, I’m not sure I would. Because I think I’ve grown so used to the off-kilter perspective that I hardly see anything wrong with it now.

Of course, that’s not the way that you really are, but who am I to know the difference, and what do I care?

Ink may carve all my mistakes into stone, for everyone to see, and to remind us both, but pencil scratches and graphite marks mean nothing to me. They can be erased so easily and swiftly that they’re not worth the time. And even worse, sometimes when you erase, the lines cling to the fibers of the paper like a desperate mother clings to her children.

Ink and pen are permanent. They are your words, and my mind is the paper.

I drew a picture of you, and then realized it was crooked. But it before I crumple it up into broken topography, I’m taking one more glance at you, just to make sure that’s not who you really are.