Shared Stories is a state Catholic schools production that publishes creative writing and artistic interpretations by primary and secondary school students from around Victoria. In 2016, students were asked to engage with the theme ‘Connection and Renewal’. This year, De La Salle submitted 14 entries. Over the coming weeks, exemplar entries will be printed in The Duce for your enjoyment and reflection.
Seven Years of Hue
I met him in 2009. I’ve seen him every day since, except for holidays and weekends of course. At first I didn’t think he was anything too special; just another kid to come through my neck of the woods with so much to learn.
He was short and his cheeks rounded when a smile broke across his face; some called him “chubby”. What drew my attention was an energy I noticed within him; something intangible, pulsing just beneath the surface. As much as I wanted this energy to push him to succeed, more often than not I watched it break through as something loud and obnoxious. He struggled to control the excitement within him; always too much to say and too quick to laugh. But I hoped. I saw my work cut out for me. Only time would tell.
Over the following few years, his squealing voice could be heard from the other side of the campus. Often, his happiness drew smiles from others. But at times, the shoulders of those around him tensed just the tiniest bit, not that he paused to notice. He was too much. I loved him and his energy, but by god could he be annoying. If only he could be the master of it.
I saw him finish Year 6, and then Year 7. He was a singer. Oh how I loved to hear the notes tumble from his lips. Soon, I heard high-pitched notes turn to slightly deeper melodies.
And I watched him struggle to try to focus that energy. He was always true to himself, but I watched him arrive in the morning month after month with the slightest change. Sometimes I couldn’t quite tell; like someone who’s dyed their hair just the smallest bit darker and you spend hours looking them over trying to tell what has changed. It would take me time to place the difference, and then I’d see it. He was trying on new versions of himself; new hues of the same colour. Some were too dark, some too light. But more often than not, he found a slightly better one than the previous attempt. The colours began to suit him. Shoulders around him tensed a little less, and he was shushed less often.
Like all friends seen daily, sometimes one forgets to look, to really look. Life makes us so busy that we raise our head rarely and gaze at each other squarely. One day as I checked in on him, as I do all my children, I looked at him anew and saw a change; a defined face, a deeper voice, and the hint of whiskers. He had become a young man. My time was running out. But all I could do was guide; I could not force.
One morning, I felt a joyous pull that could only have been from him. I listened; he had just been told that he was to be the new Choir Captain! Some success from his energy! But still, too much chatter and too much noise.
Another year passed and he had more good news; he was an Arts Captain. I watched the joy spread across his face as he realised that his dreams were coming true. He chattered to his friends about the things he could do, the hopes he had. I could feel their happiness for him and I was proud. He was finding true friends; he had almost found the perfect colour and it did not make people cringe and look away.
And now my time with him is almost at an end, as it is with his friends and classmates. I think I have done my job well. I have guided, I have encouraged, and I have provided him and them with the building blocks they need to create a life beyond my protection. Whilst there is so much that goes into making them the men they are today, I like to think that I as their school have played my part. They will go out into the world and make something for themselves.
I will miss him when he’s gone. He is so close to mastering that energy within. The colour is almost right on him. I wonder what his future holds. I wonder what renewed purpose he will find beyond his final day within my care.
As I watch him spend his final days here with me, I draw strength from his growth. And look! I see something new there; a new boy in Year 4. Oh my gosh! So loud, so much energy. My work is cut out for me. I am ready once again.