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Literature Text

To Paint a Soul

Willow's Past

Graffitti Artist Willow Commission By Xxbluero by Merieth

Graffiti is more than just making pictures on walls, but a lot of people seem to think that's all it is. "The paint is your soul, and the brush is your outlet. It's not about skill, but what's in your heart - when you paint, you need no names... everyone has their own special style, a reflection of who the are. In graffiti, a person's inner self is made clear ... it's personal."

Dad always used to say things like that to me when I was younger, but... I guess I didn't really listen to him until it was too late. I grew up without ever really seeing my Mom, since she was always busy with work. Dad taught me everything I knew, but I never wanted to admit it.

I was a troublemaker back then, still am I guess, but that's just who I am, and I sure as hell am proud to be me. My hobbies have always been free-running and graffiti, but I didn't realize my true passion for painting until a year ago. Still, I wish I could turn back time and talk to Dad again.. I can't stop remembering the last days I spent with him. It was almost two years ago...

Two Years Ago...

I sat up lazily on the bed and yawned, staring at the paintbrush and paints on the desk beside me. I was sort of happy to be suspended from school, since I really hated being around... people. Ugh. There was a knock at the door and I sighed to myself, "Yeah, what is it?" The door opened slowly -- it was Dad. "I just got a call from the school. You've been suspended again?"

"Yeah, so what?" I looked away from him. "Willow, were you drawing graffiti on school grounds again?" He approached me, sounding sad. "Why do you care? I hate school anyway, I don't like going and you know it. What's the point?"

"It's your future, dear. I know sometimes high school can be rough, but--"

"Don't lecture me, Dad. I really don't want to hear it, okay?" I shook my head. "Well, fine. Just don't lose sight of what's important, okay?" He sat down beside me and I felt a little miffed about it. "Can you leave me alone?"

"What's bothering you, Willow? Your art's gotten more and more dark lately, so I can tell there's something wrong. Is it about your mother?"

"Mother? You mean the women who birthed me and was never around after that? If you want to call her my mother, go on, but she's..." I snorted. She doesn't care about me. "Don't say that honey, your mother loves you. She works hard to support you!" Dad was always an optimist, but I knew. I knew.

Mother hardly had a kind word to spare for me, even on the rare occasion we got to talk on the phone; she only asked about my grades and if I was excelling passed my peers, like I was supposed to be some kind of genius... but that's not what I care about. I just want to be me, regardless of anything anyone else is. I walk my own path.

"Whatever, Dad. I think I might give up painting..." I was curious what his reaction would be, so I glanced at him in the side of my eye - of course he looked sad. "But you've always loved painting, Willow. Didn't you say it was your dream to be a graffiti artist some day?"

"I was a kid! I didn't know any better, I just... bah. I'd never be anyone but 'the daughter of the famous Alder' and you know it! I don't want to live in anyone's shadow, I want to have my own achievements. That's the only reason you act like you care about my hobbies, you just want me to carry on your legacy. Your name. It's not about me, it's about you!"

"...." Dad closed his eyes, he looked a little hurt, but that's how I really felt. "So, that's what you think? It's not true at all, Willow. I love you, and I just want you to do what makes you happy, and... the way you smile when you paint, I can see that every stroke of the brush really means something to you."

"You just see what you want to see... I'm not even good at it. I'm mediocre. It's a pointless hobby... I'll just stick to free-running, because I have no skill at graffiti."

"It's not about skill, Willow." He pat my head affectionately and smiled. "Graffiti isn't painting with skill, it's painting with what's in here--" He pointed at my heart. "The paint is your soul, and the brush is your outlet. When you paint, everyone knows who you are."

"You need no names when you paint, for your soul is there for everyone to see," He went on with his lecture, the same as always, but this time... I felt angry. I felt the need to lash out at him and I didn't understand why, but I just let it out. "I'm really sick of you patronizing me Dad; you're only trying to make me into what YOU want me to be! I have no talent, I'm not an artist... just leave me alone!"

I felt tore up inside, it was so confusing... I felt my eyes burning, but I ran out of the room so he couldn't see me. "Wait!" I heard him call, but I just kept running. Running, running... it was the only thing that truly made me feel free. I slid down the stair rail and sprinted outside, leaping off of the porch and bouncing off of the walls as I ran.

I didn't know where I wanted to go, so I just kept on running...


After that day, I never talked about graffiti again, but I continued practicing in secret. For some time I held some scorn for Dad, because I truly believe he only cared about his status as a famous artist, rather than simply trying to encourage me. I was blind to the truth, but that's just how stubborn I can be. I hated authority back then... and I did whatever I could to break the rules, because that's how I wanted to live. I wanted to make a name for myself however I could, and even if I failed... at least I could say I had a good time trying.

A few months later I managed to create an epic work on the wall of an abandoned old house down by the river -- no one ever went there but me, so I didn't have to worry about it being discovered or painted over. After I finished that painting, I finally realized that Dad's words were true, and my apology to him was to simply show him what I had painted... because for us, our paintings showed more than words ever could.

When I went home that night, I found Dad collapsed on the floor - I panicked and called 911. I soon found out that Dad had a brain tumor which could not be removed with surgery without a high chance of death... the doctors gave him two years to live at best. I was horrified and never left his side, I didn't know what to do - my fragile world was quickly crumbling around me.

When he woke up... he had gone blind. I didn't understand the medical lingo, but they said it was permanent. I held his hand and he smiled at me as always, and as I cried he told me to be strong; days later I got a call from Mom, she was really frantic and worried... I was shocked.

But she couldn't come home just yet... still, she promised to return as soon as possible.

Dad came back from the hospital after he was relatively healthy again, and I mentioned my painting to him on accident. I blamed myself for not telling him sooner, cursing my stubbornness. I felt sad and lost, and for a long time I gave up painting... there was no point anymore. The one I always wanted to paint for... was Dad.

He insisted that I take him to the painting and I did, even though I thought it was useless. When we got there, he placed his hands on the wall and stood there like that for a long time... and after that he turned to me and gave me the tightest hug I can remember.


One cold winter morning nearly four months later, Dad suddenly passed away in his sleep; beside his bed was a small canvas that he painted the night before, his final painting... on the canvas was a beautiful purple and red willow tree, and my name written in bright orange.

I collapsed there in his room, cradling the canvas in my arms for a long, long time... I begged him to wake up, to come back, but he was gone...

...He was gone.

Story Point Commission 1/2 for :icontallon90:

gosh, that was really sad... I nearly started crying when I was writing it ><

hope you like it, Tallon! next part she will meet the boy.

Art by :iconbluerosechan:
© 2013 - 2024 Merieth
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BlueRoseChan's avatar
I loved this! It really gives a whole new meaning to the character of willow! It was so sad it made me wanna cry! :iconcraiplz: Keep up the good work, can't wait to read part two!