Charlie’s Room: Crayons
After work, Charlie did not meet Isaac at the door. Isaac hung up his coat and changed out of his shoes. He greeted Marianne, who was reading in the livingroom.
“How was work?” she asked.
“It was a quiet day. Where’s Charlie?”
“In his room.” Marianne smiled and opened her book again. Isaac gave her a quick kiss and left to check on Charlie.
Charlie was sitting at his desk, coloring. Isaac leaned in closer to inspect the large green blobs. “Dinosaurs?” he asked.
Charlie grinned. “Yup. Pretty good, huh? I’ve been practicing. Do you want to try? I can show you how I draw them?”
There was a chair in the corner by the bookshelf. Isaac picked it up and set it next to the desk. By the time he’d sat down, Charlie had scooted his chair over to make room and placed some paper and crayons at the empty spot.
Charlie straightened the paper and grinned. “It’s like setting the table. The paper is your plate and the crayons are your fork and spoon. You need another one for the knife.” He set a red crayon next to the green and blue crayons by the paper. “So what could be the cup?” Charlie looked around the desk.
Isaac looked around the room. There was a dinosaur book on the end of the bookshelf. He retrieved it and set it on the corner of the paper. “There. And it has a picture of dinosaurs for me to look at so that I get the colors right.”
Charlie nodded. “That’s a good idea. I’ll get one too.” Charlie set his coloring place up and then studied the cover of the dinosaur book he chose. “I don’t think I have the right colors in my crayon box for this one. Let me see yours.”
Isaac handed over his book. “It’s about the same. I don’t think the colors have to exactly match. I don’t think anyone knows what colors the dinosaurs really were.”
“Maybe they were purple!” Charlie drew a purple blob on his paper and laughed. “I don’t think so. That doesn’t seem like a color for a real animal. Not even dinosaurs.”
Isaac picked up Charlie’s paper and held it at arm’s length. “I don’t know. They could have been purple. Maybe there were giant purple plants for them to hide in, so they needed to be purple to blend in.”
Charlie shook his head. “What plants are purple?”
“Eggplants are purple.” Isaac put the paper back down.
“They look black to me,” Charlie said. “Or dark blue.” He took one of Isaac’s crayons and drew a red blob. “I guess this dinosaur hides in volcanoes.”
“Sounds right.” Isaac picked up the blue crayon. “This one will hide in water. Like a shark. What should I do first?”
Charlie took Isaac’s green crayon. “I like green for dinosaurs best. That’s the color they are on the books and in the movies. Not this color green, but they’re green.” He started drawing. “When you’re drawing dinosaurs, you need to think like a dinosaur. And then you draw a dinosaur sort of shape. And then you get the black crayon and draw eyes and mouths.”
Charlie shook the crayon box. An orange crayon and a black crayon fell out. Charlie took the black crayon and started drawing eyes on all his dinosaurs.
Isaac thought about stomping in the mud and eating leaves and hiding behind giant purple plants. Then he drew a blue blob that looked like the blobs on Charlie’s paper.
“Good job, Dad!” Charlie said. Then he leaned over and added an eye and a mouth with the black crayon. He returned to his own picture to finish an orange blob.
Isaac looked around. Except for the blue, all the crayons were on the other side of Charlie. The crayon box was still sitting between them. Isaac picked it up, turned it over his hand, and shook it. Something fell into his hand, but his hand looked empty. He closed his hand around the something. It felt like a crayon.
An invisible crayon? What color did it make? He drew a blobby dinosaur shape on the paper. He couldn’t see it. It made sense that an invisible crayon drew invisible things. He drew a few more blobs. They were all invisible too.
Charlie looked over at his paper. “Did you want another color? You could have told me instead of pretending to draw stuff. That’s just silly.”
Isaac looked at his paper. “I think I like it like this. Are you done?”
Charlie looked at his page full of dinosaurs. “Yeah, except that I think I want a blue one. Then I’d have all the colors.” Isaac handed over the blue crayon, and Charlie finished his drawing.
“Let’s clean up, then we can show them to Mom and hang them on the fridge.”
“All right.” Charlie started putting crayons in the box. He handed it to Isaac. “Can you put it in the top drawer?” He picked up the papers and rushed out of the room.
Isaac tried to put the invisible crayon in the box, but it didn’t fit. How had it fit in before? He gave up and put it in his pocket and put the box of crayons and the books away. Then he followed Charlie and went to find Marianne.
Marianne and Charlie were already putting the papers on the fridge. “Well done,” Marianne said. “Who wants to help set the table?”
“We can do it. We were practicing just now.” Charlie told Marianne about setting the desk for drawing as they set the table and sat down to eat.
After dinner and brushing teeth and bedtime stories, Isaac went into the dark kitchen for a last drink of water before bed. He didn’t turn on the light, because there just enough light coming through the window to see by.
As he passed the fridge, something caught his eye and he turned to look. His drawing was no longer empty, with a lone dinosaur in the corner. The empty space was filled with glowing blobs.
It must have been a glow-in-the-dark crayon. Good to know. Isaac patted his pocket to make sure it was still there. That could be useful someday. He’d have to put it in a safe place.
He got a drink of water, put the crayon away, changed into his pajamas, and went to bed.