To the City Councillor I Always Wanted to Thank

To the councillor of my school ward, I want to thank you. 

You probably don't remember me, this was going-on three years ago, and I'm sure you've seen a lot of kids in schools and on the street since then. I was the awkward one sitting in the clump of girls hugging the library wall, and though that most likely doesn't narrow it down at all, I felt like I should make an effort. 

I know we're not special, I know I'm not special. Don't worry, that particular jerk out of childhood has long since passed, you're not going to ruin that for me. But when you came to our school today, I wanted to go up to you and thank you. I didn't, but I wanted to. 

You smiled at us, genuinely, something we rarely get - real enthusiasm and interest. We worked hard on this, and it meant a lot that you appreciated it. 

Anyways - the thing I wanted to say thank you for. 

When I was younger, somehow even less in control of my limbs and brain, I drew on my hands a lot. Nothing new, geometric patterns and lines, but I drew a lot. And that particular day, I had drawn, in a design entirely my own (linear and curving and somehow comforting) a pen-inked rainbow encasing my whole hand. I'm talking actual effort here, coming up from the wrist to wrap around both sides, palm and back, and spiralling up onto my fingers. 

You walked over to me, held my hand up, and just as I thought you were going to criticize me, you said, "This is really cool - keep going! Who knows how it'll end up? You're going to be an amazing artist one day, trust me. You already are."

And that was a really powerful thing for you to say to the teenager in front of you, tugging on their shirt hem nervously and giving you a hesitant smile and thank you, mumbled as I almost unconsciously ran my plain fingers over the back of my rainbow hand. 

You didn't do what all of the other teachers did, didn't criticize me or lecture me on ink poisoning (which, by the way, I wouldn't have possibly gotten from that), or force me to go and wash it off in the bathroom sink, watching all of the ink slowly slide down the white ceramic to disappear into the drain.

I appreciate that. Probably more than you know. Because you were an authority figure, but an authority figure that actually cared about us, wanted to get to know us better. 

And guess what? I take art classes now, I draw things that look like the inside of my head on paper, ink in the patterns I see on the backs of my eyelids. 

So just - 

Thank you. 

For taking one really simple moment and making it something that boosted my self-confidence and gave me the motivation I needed. Thank you, truly. 


The End

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