I was intrigued by the photo in the “What Do You See?” challenge this week on Sadje’s blog. What I wrote is not my normal form of writing. I’m generally prone to write stories with a lot of dialogue. But unusual prompts bring out unusual qualities in our natures sometimes, and I enjoyed doing this little character study instead.
Belladonna McGuire was used to the other kids in 10th grade laughing at her. Most of them didn’t like geometry, and even the ones who did were never interested in spending their free time working on geometric projects. And, it wasn’t as if Belladonna received any encouragement at home where her favorite activity was concerned. Her mother worked at the local market 6 days a week, from 8:00 in the morning until 5:30. And her dad was virtually never home. He spent his time roaming from one gambling joint to another, coming home only when the money ran out and he didn’t have any place to bed down until his next disability check came in.
But Bella had learned years ago to tune out the jeers and criticism. And she’d given up on any hope for a word of encouragement or praise. But those things didn’t really matter. She knew who she was and what she wanted. She’d realized at an early age that she could envision whole communities — even entire cities — that had never been built, and she knew she had the skills to create what she envisioned.
She applied herself to the academic courses necessary to put her in a place where she could have access to the business platforms she’s need to work from. But in truth, she had never needed to take a class in geometry or drawing, in architecture or digital configuration, in order to know she could build what she dreamed. She had pages and pages of buildings, infrastructures, and landscaping just ready and waiting to be turned into steel and concrete.
Bella was lonely, it’s true, but she knew it was because the rest of the kids in her life just hadn’t caught onto their purpose yet. They had no real vision for their future — no burning desire to create something special — something that had to be conceived and born from within themselves. Many of them would eventually get to that place in their lives. Some of them never would of course, but most would come to the place where they recognized a goal they wanted to strive for. She had found hers earlier than most, and she wasn’t sorry. But it did mean that she had almost no close friends to share those goals with.
She sat at the table in the cafeteria, sketching even as she ate. Two other girls sat at the same table, but they didn’t talk to her much. They knew from experience that Belladonna was so absorbed in her work that she had a hard time following general conversation. The other two talked quietly about the dance they were going to that evening. Bella heard the words, but they only barely registered. She was sketching a large auditorium for the town square that she was engrossed in creating — a lovely center for a quiet little town where people could raise their families and enjoy social gatherings in the well-appointed auditorium, and just live happily with the other families who would populate that delightful place.
She wasn’t going to the dance that evening. But she was going to a special place all her own. When she finished her sketching this evening and climbed into her bed and turned out the light, Belladonna was going in her dreams to that lovely city she was creating, and she would build that city tonight. Building by building, she would bring her dreams to birth. And one day, in the not too distant future, she would see that city turned into a reality. She knew her name meant “beautiful lady,” but she wanted more than to be one beautiful person. She wanted to be the catalyst for the creation of a whole beautiful world.