Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice:
Title: Keeping Inside the Lines
Jordan giggled as he tore away from his mother, ducking between lines of adults and toward the train platform.
“Jordan! Get back here. No! Stop!”
Fear made his mother’s voice shrill and scary. He froze on the spot and when he couldn’t see her, he started to cry.
“Jordan,” she snapped grabbing the toddler up into her arms. “You have to learn to listen to Mom. There’s a line. Didn’t you see?”
Jordan was still sobbing. He’d seen the adults but didn’t understand why there were all just standing there.
“Very nice. Jordan, will you show us your drawing?”
He squirmed in his chair. He’d loved using every color in his crayon box, mixing circles with lines and squares. The teacher, he knew, wouldn’t love it like he did.
“Jordan?” she asked again.
He stood slowly and held up his page. The original black lines were impossible to see, but he could still see the flower in the middle. His classmates giggled behind their hands. Jordan sat down without waiting for teacher’s response. Once everyone was working on another assignment, she came to his desk.
“Was there something wrong with the picture I asked you to color?”
“No.” His face grew hot and his eyes were itchy, prickling with tears.
“Then why did you completely ignore it?”
“I didn’t!” he argued. “See, here it is.” He traced the yellow and orange shape in the middle of the riot of other colors.
The teacher looked more closely at the paper. “It is beautiful, Jordan, but sometimes, you just have to follow the directions and color inside the lines.”
He huffed and pushed the page off his desk, grabbing his notebook to do the assignment. He’d follow those rules as carefully as Mrs. Nancy could want.
“Dude! What are you doing?”
Jordan didn’t hear Mickey at first. He turned off the weed cutter and pulled out an ear plug. “I’m clearing out the orchard,” he explained. “The thistles are getting insane.”
“It’s all insane!” Mickey complained. “There are no rows, no lines? How are you going to maintain and harvest this?”
Jordan shrugged. “The way I do anything, one tree at a time.”
“You are one odd ball, Jordan.”
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Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege, and it's sequel Duty and Sacrifice. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com