Writing Prompts: for Children
(The sky turns purple)
Everything about Davie drooped as he came in through the back door. He put his jacket on its hook, then his cap. Lunchbox on the table. And swiped a tear away quickly so Mom wouldn’t see.
But Mom always saw.
“Davie, what’s wrong?”
“Nuttin,” he lied, trying to sound older than he was.
“Okay, Well, when you’re ready to tell me, I’ll be working in the living room. You can grab some fruit for a snack.”
Mom had been through this before, with each of her children. Davie was the youngest of four, and his older brothers were always teasing him about being a baby. He couldn’t help it if he wasn’t as grown-up as they were! The older boys were all in sports, so Davie usually rode home alone on bus. This was a special time for Davie and his Mom, being alone together and not interrupted by more exciting stuff.
Davie finished his snack and wandered into the living room where Mom was doing some knitting. He leaned against her chair. She glanced up, smiling, and said, “Wanna talk?”
Davie paused, trying to think how to ask his question. Finally he said, “Mom, is it okay for a teacher to tease a kid?”
Mom tried never to answer too quickly. She knitted a few stitches. “Well, Davie, that depends on what happened before the teacher teased the kid. Had the kid been misbehaving?”
“Well, not ezackly. I mean, I–HE!–was jus’t kinda daydreaming, y’know?”
Mom smiled. “Yes, Davie, I know. Then what happened?”
“Well, I guess the teacher said my–HIS–name, and, uh, he didn’t hear her. Then she said it again, and this time—–“
“Davie, you can just say it was you, okay? Otherwise, it’s kind of like lying a little bit, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess.” Davie bumped his toe against the carpet, took a deep breath. “Okay, so Miss Hatcher said my name again, and this time I heard her. I looked at her, and she was sort of smiling, but not really, y’know? Like she was a little bit mad at me.”
“And then what?”
“Well, she said, “Davie, what color is the sky in YOUR universe?” and everybody laughed. I did, too, ’cause I’m not a baby, but it made me feel bad, ’cause she wasn’t smiling a real smile.”
“What did you say, Davie?”
“I said, ‘I wish it was purple!'” and they all laughed again, ‘cept for Miss Hatcher, I guess she didn’t think it was funny.”
“Davie, I think sometimes teachers just get really tired, and maybe they don’t always say the kindest thing. I’ll tell you what, though. The sky in your universe can be any color at all that you want it to be! It can change every day, or every minute! Dreaming is okay, but not when you should be paying attention.”
That night, Davie dreamed that his sky WAS purple! It wasn’t too dark, just sort of like Mom’s lilacs. He loved it, and he was sorry when he woke up.
It was the day for art in school, a subject Davie loved. That day, they were given big sheets of soft paper, kind of not white, but not anything else, either. Davie wondered what color it was.
“Class,” said Miss Hatcher, “Today I want you to draw a picture of something you’d like to change from what it is, to what you see in your imagination. It can be anything at all!”
Davie went right to work. He loved color, loved to blend shades together to make more colors than were in his box of crayons. He’d figured out how to do it so it looked really pretty. He closed his eyes, remembering his dream of the purple-lilac sky. Then he went to work. Only he decided to use his big fat pieces of chalk instead of his crayons, and he had a wonderful time making his picture, with a moon, and stars, and some orangey clouds. And he used his purple chalk, but it seemed too dark, so he played around with some other chalks, combining them, and decided to use both red and blue together. Perfect! He scrubbed a fat line of pink, then scrubbed over it with blue, all the way across his paper. He was so excited about his lilac lavender sky!
Miss Hatcher stood beside Davie’s desk, looking at his picture. “Uh-oh,” thought Davie. “I bet she’s going to be mad at me,”
But she wasn’t. Putting her hand on his shoulder, she said, “Well, Davie, I see you found your purple sky. It’s beautiful. What a good artist you are!” And she plopped a big gold star on his paper, right above his moon.
Davie walked into the house later, his shoulders back and his head up. Mom was going to be so proud of him!