Carl and Erika stood on their living room holding up a picture their 5-year-old son, Micah, had drawn earlier that day. Micah had proved to be a miracle, possibly even a genius, in the short span of his life; he learned how to walk with only 12 months, talk in 14, and mastered his motor skills by the time he was 2. He was polite, sociable and inclined towards the arts, as evidenced by his passion for drawing and Erika’s old Elton John records, propelling his dad to get him a small toy piano for his third birthday, which Micah conquered, dragging his fingers without leave across all ten different-colored keys. A true prodigy, Carl and Erika knew. But this was the first time they were left truly befuddled, albeit disturbed, by anything their precious and precocious little nugget of life had created.
“Is it a third eye?” Carl examined, “It’s most definitely a third eye, you can see the Dharmic influences all over it.” Erika hesitated, as she looked up full of guilt at Micah, who sat at the table eating his ice cream, “It looks sort of… like a vagina, to me.” There were two curved pink slits placed perpendicularly across a white paper with two blue circles on each end that could have been deemed a mere doodle if it weren’t for such an intent trace. Carl doubted himself, “A vagina?” He grabbed the paper firmly with his two hands and brought it closer to his face. “You’re showing your disturbing Freudian fixations once again, Erika, get a grip; look at this” he said as he pointed to the center of the slits for Erika to see. “He must’ve seen this at your mother’s house or something, you know much she loves Eastern culture.” Erika wasn’t convinced but she felt that disagreeing would’ve been perverse, “I guess I do see it…” Carl went on about the symbolism of a third eye, the impact of Hinduism on Micah’s art, and the responsibility they had as parents to provide their son with a sincerely spiritual and religious life that his soul was so obviously craving for. “Remember that time we went to the Wax Museum? He was really drawn to that figure of Ghandi, I remember distinctly.” Erika thought about that day, but could only remember thinking about how hot it was outside and wondering how was it that the figures didn’t melt under such merciless heat, even under the museum’s air conditioner. “What if it’s both? A third eye and a vagina?” “You’re getting carried away, he’s just a toddler, what sort of complex cogitation would he have to undergo to come up with that?”
The bell rang. Erika opened the door for Uncle Tom who had just come from a lecture he was giving at the university, and came in pleading for a glass of wine. “These kids, I swear to God, they wear me out,” he let out like a burden with his boisterous voice before he chugged down the whole glass and then poured himself another. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, they’re mostly smart kids, and I don’t mind going out of my way to explain the raisons d’êtré behind Marxism, but when I have to tell you the difference between Karl and Groucho… we have a problem.”
“Tom, come here, look at this.” Carl walked up to his brother and showed him the picture. “Micah drew this earlier and I was just explaining to Erika the possibilities of this being a third eye and its underlining foreshadowing of Micah’s inner beliefs.” Tom looked at Carl confused for a second, but decided to take the picture and examined it. “I don’t know about all that, the lines and colors and the whole expression seem somewhat arbitrary to me.” Tom and Carl looked at each other awkwardly in silence. “But only superficially, you know, if anything this is maybe even somewhat derivative of Pollock; when I said there’s expression, I really meant it, it’s full of expression and feeling, you can feel it,” Tom said convincing himself mid-sentence. “He has been very irritable lately,” Erika intervened. “Art is the best therapy, I’m so glad he’s found this cathartic outlet so early on in his life,” said Carl proudly. “Poetry was the only thing that kept me from doing heroin during my pubescent years,” Tom sympathized. Erika lit up, “Speaking of drugs, maybe we could call Christina, I’m sure she’d have some interesting insight.” Erika knew Christina, a friend of theirs, would be in the same coffee shop she always was at only couple of blocks down, and would have no problem coming over, so she called.
Christina arrived ten minutes later with a bottle of wine, a wheel of cheese, and her husband, Mark. Mark was usually a quiet man and Christina was wilder, but when it came to intellectual matters, Christina stood back and listened to her husband like he was her cult leader. “I disagree,” said Mark, “this doesn’t seem arbitrary at all, if anything it’s an exercise in geometry and colors, like a Mondrian, but less rigid, you know… because he’s a kid.” Christina, as usual, was amazed by her husband’s analytical process, yet she contemplated something different, “I hadn’t seen it that way, but I have to be honest with you, I keep coming back to Erika’s interpretation of this as a va-gi-na. Micah might be starting to have inquiries about the human body and of sexuality, totally understandable for a boy his age. Don’t be prude, boys, you want art? This is Schiele deconstructed and zoomed in, it’s almost cubist erotica.” “HE’S FIVE!” Erika protested. Carl, Mark and Tom had been sucked into Christina’s thesis, until Erika’s cry snapped them out of it and left them feeling shameful.
Micah had been feeling visibly ill from the ice cream for the past 15 minutes, but the argument had gotten so heated at this point that none of them seemed to notice. Finally, it was Christina -clearly tipsy by now- who approached him on her way back from the restroom, worried at how distressed he was looking. “Are you okay, little guy?” Micah could only grunt in return. She took him over to the grownups’ table where they were all still discussing the meaning of the piece, and as Christina interrupted and said “Erika, I don’t think he’s feeling very well,” Micah’s body involuntarily convulsed forward and vomited all over the table where his drawing still lay.
Micah's Drawing by Alejandro Montano is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.