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Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes

XIX: Yesteryears

“Perspective,” Aunt Laurel said. “It’s all about perspective. And I’m not talking about where you’re standing or where you’re looking. I’m talking about who you are.”

Brendon stared at her uncomprehendingly.

Aunt Laurel shook her head, but with a grin on her face as she swept blue braids back from her ears and pinned them in place with a maroon scarf. “What do you see when you look? Where do your eyes go?”

From the kitchen, Mom laughed. “I see the crumbs from breakfast and the spills from Brendon making cinnamon sugar.”

Aunt Laurel called back, “And I see those beautiful candles you poured and have sitting on the hutch.” Then she looked at Brendon expectantly.

“I… Uh.” He looked toward the kitchen opening, though all he could see was a fraction of the fridge and the cabinets starting beyond it. The cabinets where the stain had pulled up color in the shape of an upside-down stegosaurus. “I see the magnets I use to make Mom laugh,” he said quietly.

Aunt Laurel clapped her hands once in excitement and then leaned forward conspiratorially. “Now that’s what I’m talking about. Each of us see something different, though we’re all of us looking at the same thing. So whose eyes are you going to look through when you draw your next picture?”

That night, he pulled out the crinkled sketch he’d drawn that first day in the car graveyard. The LeMans had started out with firm, fresh wheels, with even shading, with the glare of glass off the window and even a racing strip down the side. Just as Casey likely saw that car in his mind’s eye.

At some point though, with Robbie arguing over its dilapidated state, Brendon’s pencil had begun to change things. To add the rusted lines. Sink the rubber in on itself and smooth the tracks. Sharpen the cracked and deflated seats so that he no longer looked through the glare on the glass.

The sketch hadn’t been how Brendon saw anything. It’d been Casey’s eyes he’d looked through. Robbie’s eyes.

What would it have looked like had Brendon eyes of his own? He tugged a pencil out and set the paper aside. Then drew again, and this time, a figure sat in the front seat and another leaned against the hood. And grass grew up around the rotted tires and the sun shone bright on wildflowers.


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