***I was on the train and saw a guy holding a large painted self-portrait. He was tall, with dark hair, a choker collar and looked vaguely Asian. His painting conveyed both anger and sadness. This is how I imagined his story.***
Akira pulled out the folded piece of paper from his pocket.
On a 24 inch by 36 inch canvas, depict How I See Myself in acrylic paints. Your artwork will be graded for originality as well as your proficiency in the medium of acrylics. This assignment is due next Thursday. Professor Leronce Davis, MFA Professor of Fine Arts Associate Chairperson Hertford College of Greater Bennington.
How I see myself…. What a stupid assignment thought Akira. He parked the canvas on the easel. It was white and blank and it stared back at him with its evil white eye. Akira threw a paintbrush at it.
He yelled, “Stupid white canvas.” He blew his dark hair out of his face. I’ll do this later, he thought.
It was Wednesday and the canvas was still white. Akira glared at it and threw another paintbrush at the canvas. It missed. His mother’s voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Akira-kun, wake up is time for college.
Akira went to the kitchen. His mother had cooked rice and sweet bean paste and all other sorts of nice things, but he was not hungry. He choked down a mouthful just to make her happy. Then he looked up at her face. She was pretty, he thought. With her long black hair and pale skin and petite frame, she could almost be a teenager. But her eyes were sad.
Akira’s parents were divorced for about a year. His father was a big tall American who had charmed his Japanese mother when he was on vacation in Tokyo. She was a girl just a year out of high school working a dead end job at a car rental agency. His father was a shrewd businessman whose real estate deals and investments had made him very rich.
Akira gritted his teeth. If only she knew, what her ex-husband was really like. But his father the charmer made sure mom was supported in the style she had been accustomed to living in before the split with fancy cars, designer clothes and all that probably more than all that.
“Are you going to college today?” asked his mom.
“Nah, I have painting to catch up on. There’s this assignment due tomorrow.”
“Akira, why you always wait until last minute?” she asked.
“The last minute,” he corrected her grammar out of habit.
He went back to his room and shut the door. He changed out of his pajamas and into his painting clothes, which consisted of a black tank, and black jeans that were splattered with the vestiges of his previous artwork.
He picked up the brushed that he had thrown at the canvas and opened up his paint box. He spread out the paint neatly on the palette and set up water and acrylic thinner.
He started to paint, occasionally glancing in the mirror to make certain that the proportions were correct. He painted until he heard his mom knock on the door. It was 7:00PM.
“Akira, are you coming to dinner?”
Akira did not bother to respond. She would probably leave a tray in front of his door as she usually did.
“Did Janie come today?”
Janie was the maid that came on Wednesday s and Fridays. Akira continued to ignore her hopefully she would get the hint. She did not. Finally, he yelled, “Urosai.” And it was quiet.
(Urusai means shut up in Japanese)
Giselle kissed Maya and her mom goodbye. She was so excited. Her painting was perfect. After hours of work, she was finally done. Her masterpiece was wrapped in dark brown paper and twine and she was good to go.
“Don’t you want me to drive you,” her mom asked.
“Nope, Laini kindly offered to drive me to college.”
Giselle heard the beep of the horn and ran out clutching her precious package.
Laini rolled down the window of the car.
“C’mon Giselle, get in already we’re like so late.”
Giselle carefully laid her precious package in the backseat of the car. She was quiet the whole ride there. Laini knew better that to press her to see her paintings. Giselle could be quite self-conscious and was very sensitive regarding her art.
Giselle peeled off the paper from her painting and displayed it on one of the easels against the wall. Some of the other students had already arrived and set up their work. Giselle surveyed the scene. Most of her classmates had painted themselves doing activities they enjoyed.
This was after all a freshman art class and most of them were more interested in hanging out then actually pouring their heart and soul into their creations.
Giselle was drawn to one that was attempting to hide in the corner. She turned the easel to face forward and was stunned. On the canvas was a tall Amerasian boy with long dark hair. He was dressed as a Goth. She felt the anger radiating off the canvas.
The boy was downcast and his eyes were focused on something on his lap. There was a gaping bleeding hole where his heart would be. In his hands, he was holding a bloody dead bird, a sparrow.
Giselle could not stop staring. Not only was he talented, he also emoted perfectly. Her cheeks felt hot. She put her palms against them to cool them. She looked around the classroom but he was not there. She shrugged and went to her seat.
Professor Davis strode into the classroom.
“Alright, we shall begin our critique now. Ms. Dufour, please.”
Giselle went right over to her painting and closed her eyes. Let the roast begin she thought.
Akira slipped in the door. They had all started with the critique already. He saw Giselle standing next to her work. She had depicted herself as a classical Venus with a practically see through gown done in the Greek style of wet drapery. Her hair, which was light brown in reality, was now reddish blonde in her work.
She had painted her nipples peaking through the fabric and further down there was…well he reddened and quickly looked at her painted face which had her stubborn chin.
She was holding up her world, a dark globe that showed ghostly visions of people he did not now, the largest being a small girl and a middle-aged woman. He liked it very much, especially the nipples.
Professor Davis turned around and saw him.
“Ah, Mr. Bonsange,” she said, “you finally decided to grace us with your presence.”
“Well what have we got to say for ourselves?”
The professor tapped her foot impatiently. Akira decided to give it his best shot after all Giselle seemed like a nice girl who was probably wishing she were elsewhere at the moment.
“I like it.”
Professor Davis motioned with her hand for him to continue.
Akira shrugged and continued his critique.
“Obviously, Ms. Dufour is a lovely young woman who works very hard holding up the planet while we mere mortals have the audacity to critique her.”
The professor raised an eyebrow and said nothing.
Giselle breathed a sigh of relief it was over. They did not get to Akira’s painting. Giselle was breathlessly waiting for him outside the classroom.
“What class do you have next?”
He told her that he had a free period. She suggested they go get a coffee. Akira nodded. They went to a small coffee shop that was about two blocks from the campus.
Giselle ordered a double espresso; Akira ordered a green tea with a shot of espresso and whipped cream. Giselle wrinkled her nose.
“What kind of crap is that?” she asked.
“So what about this class?” She asked him.
He shrugged again. “It’s okay.”
“I mean your work.” She was persistent.
“First tell me about yours. ”
“The middle aged lady is my mom. Actually, my foster mom and the little girl is my daughter Maya. I had her when I was 15. My parents kicked my out when I was pregnant and I had nowhere else to go. I bounced around for a few months and I’ve been living with my foster mom since I’m 16. My daughter is five now and she is such a dream. She’s my little angel.”
Akira swallowed. Here he was a 19-year-old virgin and she already had a 5-year-old kid. Some people just get that early head start.
“So is Maya’s father in the picture?
She shook her head and looked down.
“He was this college guy I was dating at the time. He doesn’t matter any more.”
Akira knew there was more, so much more. He leaned over and lifted her chin with his finger. He looked into her eyes. They were grey and rimmed with blue liner and silver eye shadow. He saw tears in the corners of her eyes that she was desperately trying to hold back.
“What really happened?” he asked gently.
She took a deep breath then took a swallow of her espresso.
“We were in this club and we were dancing and it got hot and I asked him to get me a drink and the next I know I’m waking up in his dorm room and there’s blood and oh and he slipped me a roofie and he…” Giselle started to cry.
Akira got up and took her hand. “Giselle, let’s get out of here.”
He reached into his pocket and left a couple of crumpled dollars on the table for the tip.
He awkwardly put an arm around her shoulders once they got out of the coffee shop. She turned towards him and resumed crying. He patted her back. Finally she stopped. You got a tissue. He nodded and gave her a napkin with the coffee shop’s logo.
“Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I’m sorry. It’s just that sometimes it gets so overwhelming. Anyway, he’s in jail now so I’m safe.”
Akira felt like throwing up. He couldn’t take it anymore. Here he thought Giselle was this little perfect princess when in reality she was just as messed up as he was.
“So what’s your story?’ She asked him. He shook his head. I’m not ready for this, he thought.
“Your eyes are green,” She said.
My father is white, he thought. White like paper. White like rice. White as a sheet.
“I gotta go,” Akira mumbled.
Akira ran off and left her. I have to get away, get away, get away. He ran to the train and took the uptown 12 stops and walked the rest of the way to his mom’s other apartment. It was in the artsy area of town and the aura there usually made him feel better.
He went straight to the bathroom, took out a straight razor, and cut a thin red line on his left arm. He watched the blood slowly seep out and felt better. The pain made him feel more real and substantial. He cut another line. Then he threw away the razor.
***”Mom is going on vacation tomorrow. She is visiting her family in Japan.”
“Why can’t I go Dad?”
“Because you have school.”
Akira knew the real reason. He was unwanted because he wasn’t whole. He wasn’t whole White or whole Asian. Just two broken halves that did not fit together. Mom kissed him. Promised to bring back presents.
The second night she was away his dad came into his room.
“You miss mom don’t you? I do too but it gives us a chance to get to know each other better.”
Akira opening his eyes the next morning. He hurt. He was full of screaming rage and pain. He was bruised and sore and the sheets were spotted with blood.
White sheets. White bread. Bread and Jelly. He ran to the bathroom and locked himself in.
His father banged on the door.
“Akira hurry up in there. You have to get ready for school…school…school.”
He would never tell anyone.***
Akira’s cell phone rang. He checked the caller ID. It was his mother.
“Where are you?”
“In the apartment.”
He snapped the phone shut.
It rang again.
“Akira, where are you?”
“Giselle, where did you get this number?”
“Your mother gave it to me.”
“Where are you, I’m coming right now.”
Akira was resigned that she would probably be more persistent than his mother would. He gave her the address. Fifteen minutes later, she was ringing the bell. He buzzed her in. She took one look at him and saw his arm.
“What the Fuck did you do to yourself?”
Akira covered his arm with his hand. He had forgotten to bandage it.
Giselle put her hands on her hips. “Go to the bathroom and wrap your arm and then we’ll talk.”
“What, you aren’t going to heal your broken warrior,” Akira teased her.
“Nope,” Giselle retorted, “if you are dumb enough to cut yourself you can fix yourself up.”
When he came out, she was sitting on the couch in the living room. She was reading one of the magazines on the table but dropped it when she saw him.
“Akira, you are going to talk to me now.”
He shook his head and walked over to the couch. He took her hand and helped her off the couch.
“Baby, Come to my room.”
The room was very neat. Everything was decorated in shades of tan and cream.
“This isn’t really your room.”
He shook his head.
“It’s one of our real estate investments.” He was bitter.
“Tell me, please?” Giselle asked.
He leaned forward and told her, “I can’t talk about it, I’m not ready.”
Giselle looked at Akira. This time she really looked at him. Saw his long dark hair, his green eyes, and his tall lanky frame. She saw his choker collar, his black tank, his tribal tattoo on his upper right bicep and his wide leg pants with the chains attached and his feet. He wasn’t wearing any shoes.
He is so different from me and yet he feels so much the same. She was a mommy good girl and he was a Goth boy. Nothing would ever come of this she was certain.
Akira noticed Giselle staring at him. If she was taking her, fill of him, well then why not. She was a golden girl, tall, which he liked; he could look her in the eye.
“How tall are you?” They both asked at once.
“I’m 5’10, I’m such giant.”
“No, you are like the sun”
He kissed her slowly at first. Then he ran his tongue across the seam of her lips. She opened her mouth and he tasted her warmth and light. Giselle broke away first and gasped.
He smiled. He kissed her neck. Then he slowly started sucking her earlobe. Giselle’s earlobes were very sensitive. She felt her nipples peak.
“What else do you like?'” he was solicitous.
Giselle slowly climbed out of her semi-stupor.
This was his first time.
She smiled. “Whatever you do is really nice”
He slipped his fingers up the sides of her T-shirt and helped her take it off. She was wearing a white bra no lace boring mommy bra. He cupped her breasts in his hands. He rubbed his fingers over her nipples. She reached behind her back to unhook her bra.
“It’s ok I’ll do it.” Akira fumbled with the hooks but finally got it off.
He stared at her.
“So much nicer than the painting,” he teased.
She took his hands and placed them on her breasts. He cupped them, felt their weight. He rubbed his thumbs over her nipples. Then he bent his head and took one nipple in his mouth. He sucked and nibbled. Giselle felt it all the way down. She was so wet. She unsnapped her jeans and started to push them down. He popped off her nipple.
“Wait, I’m just getting started.” Akira told her.
She was going too fast for him. He wanted to taste all of her. She didn’t listen. She kicked off her ballet flats and wriggled out of her jeans. At least she was wearing nice panties. She had on a lavender g-string with a butterfly in the back.
Giselle lay down on the bed. She motioned for him to come. He just stood there and looked at her. Then he sat down on the edge of the bed.
She got up. She helped him out of his pants. The chains tinkled when he dropped them on the floor.
“Hopelessly tangled” he moaned.
“Shh” she put her finger on his lips. Then she kissed him. She pulled off his black tank she gently bit his nipples. She pushed him down on the bed and slipped her fingers in his waistband. He circled her wrist with his hand. He kissed her palm, and then he sucked her fingers.
He put his palm on her flat stomach and massaged slow circles.
“Take off your panties.”
She pulled them off slowly down her legs then kicked them off.
Akira spread her legs apart and looked at her. She was completely bare. She had waxed all the way to her ass. He touched her with his finger. The skin was smooth. He slipped one finger between her folds. It was soft and warm.
“Show me?” he asked.
She guided his hand and he felt it; the small nub. Her clit. He rubbed it very gently.
“Come on, more” she begged.
He lowered his head. She tangled her fingers in his hair and guided him.
He licked her. She tasted sweet and salty. It was good. He sucked. Hard.
Akira felt Giselle shivering beneath him. He wanted it to be perfect; he wanted her to enjoy it. He felt her shudder and gasp. He looked up at her face. She was smiling.
“That was good for your first lesson.”
He pulled off his briefs. Giselle swallowed when she saw him.
He was fully erect and she could see the pearl of pre-cum on the head. Nevertheless, she was feeling selfish. She wanted to feel Akira inside of her.
She pulled him down.
Akira felt her warmth and heat. He started to move inside her. She was so hot and tight. Her lower lips gripped him like a glove. He gripped her hips and then a few strokes later he came.
And it was warm and sticky and he felt her around his penis and it was like nothing he ever experienced.
Giselle looked at him.
“Akira, we really need to talk.”
His penis was hard again. He wanted more.
Her mouth was very talented. He lay back with his hands behind his head and watched her. Giselle stopped sucking.
“Akira could you talk to me?”
Akira sat up and flipped her over onto her stomach. He wanted her to stop. He screamed inside his head. Stop bothering me. Why don’t girls always want to talk why? No one is allowed to talk. Keep quiet. But he said nothing.
He ran his penis across the crack of her ass. He fingered the hole. That pretty pink virginal rosebud. He grabbed her hips and thrust without caring.
“Akira please stop you’re hurting me. Akira stop.”
She struggled but he held her down. He thrust once more and pulled out. He came all over her back and her hair. She pulled away from him.
“Get away from me, you disgusting creep.”
Akira was shocked at himself. How could he do such a thing to Giselle? What was the matter with him? She started to pull on her clothes. Tears were slowly trickling down her cheeks.
“I thought you were special”
Akira held out his hand. Giselle smacked it away. She put on her jeans and mommy bra and t-shirt. She shoved her feet into her flats.
Giselle turned around and started walking out to the bathroom. She looked at the mirror; she was a mess.
She wiped the cum off her hair with a towel.
She started for the front door when she heard a horse awful sound. She slowly walked back to the bedroom. Akira had his face in his hands and was sobbing. He looked up at her.
“I’m so sorry.”
She hugged him. She pulled the sheet around him and then held his face in her hands.
“What happened to you?”
He took a deep shuddering breath.
“You are so put together in the face of adversity. I’m just coming apart at the seams.”
He told her what happened that night what his father did to him.
“I don’t know what I did now. You asked me to talk to you, I couldn’t, and I just showed you what happened. I’m a monster”
Giselle hugged him. “It hurts so badly to be betrayed. Have you seen anyone or talked to anyone.”
Akira shook his head. “No, who would believe me?”
“I would believe you, talk to me, I will help you. “
He nodded then wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
“Come on we’re both a mess. Get out of your clothes and we’ll take a shower.”
They held hands and walked to the bathroom together. He helped her out of her sticky clothes. He turned on the faucet, hot setting, and maximum power. The stinging needles felt good. He soaped her and washed her hair.
Akira kissed Giselle gently.
He shut the faucet. He found a towel and dried her off. She was bleeding a little. He put some cream on.
“Come to bed with me.”
He stripped the old sheets and put on new ones. Giselle watched him. He lay down on the bed.
“Giselle, come with me.”
She nodded and fell asleep in his arms.
The next morning she woke up early. Akira was still asleep and she was careful not to disturb him. She wandered over to the couch and found a pencil drawing on the coffee table. It was of Akira and her. He was a dark angel with broken black wings. She was the golden angel with gossamer butterfly wings holding him. She flipped the drawing over.
On the back, he had written, Giselle, you are my golden angel, one day these broken wings will fly again. Akira.