September 2020 Winners - Second Place
"Her Collage" by Melanie Roussel
The scattered papers lie haphazardly before her. You might fool yourself into believing, by squinting and tilting your head, that they’ve fallen into shape already. Not clearly, but like an elusive creature gliding beneath the ripples. She judges them all carefully. Free of the heap, each scrap of paper makes sense. Each valuable and elegant in its own way. But she can’t gaze at them forever; there’s work to do. The blank card is waiting.
With the attitude of an artist finally putting brush to canvas, she places the strictly square and navy piece of her education in the center. Uninspired, perhaps. But it’s a traditional foundation to work from. The trouble is the bright and glittering circle of her creativity clashes, no matter where she puts it. The top, the middle left, the bottom right. Nothing seems to work. Well, they say the early years are the hardest. Keep going.
The overlarge piece of a parent’s expectation. The twisted slip of rebellious teenage years. Another clash. Courage in her individuality, but the need to fit in. Honesty, though in certain angles, it looks more like callousness. Wanderlust. Responsibility alone takes up half of her precious space. How’s she going to fit anything else in? She pushes aside dark years of depression, but there, it appears again, peeking out from under the rest. You can’t hide it, not anymore. But shadows define, don’t they?
Harmony must be possible, even in this collage of clashes. She rearranges again and again. How can anyone make a person from this muddle? Leaning back, she stares forlornly at what now resembles a tragic explosion. The edges of her collage curl away in shame. She lifts the card, the unstuck person falls away, back into potential. Let’s try again.
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