My name is Kara Fields, and I am an artist. Ok, I want to be an artist. I’m not one yet. I am a published author, though. I have exactly two books published. One I wrote as a kid. It’s called Huggy Bunny Goes to China. I wrote it as a kid when my family and I were in China. I actually illustrated the book myself and my dad took the pictures and the finished story to a local publisher of kids’ fiction.
I really don’t count Huggy Bunny as my first book. It is only a kids book. And the pictures in it are embarrassing. Actually, I’d like to forget that I wrote it.
My second book is much better. It’s a science fiction book called Breeding Program. I based it off of one of my twin brother, Paul’s, paintings. See he was doing this crazy canvas of aliens abducting Sims. I got to thinking, why would aliens want to abduct us?
Then I was like, what if the aliens abducted us so that they could experiment on us to make the perfect soldiers? You see, the aliens had become so cerebral that they no longer could fight physical battles. They were breeding Sims with other species to make soldiers to do the fighting for them. Ultimately the story ended up being about a boy and a girl who’d been abducted. They had to fight their way from the aliens, take down their evil breeding program, and return to Earth. Of course they sort of fell for each other along the way.
The reviews on the book were pretty favorable. People thought I might become the next Chris Paolini. I wasn’t so sure. I liked Breeding Program, but it was no Eragon. I have a lot of work to do to become a famous author.
Back to the whole artist thing. I like writing, but I love painting. I want to capture the beauty that I see around me every day. I am so inspired by other artists’ work! I want my pictures to inspire people in the same way.
The problem is, I will never be as good as my brother. His art is just…awesome. He’s a perfectionist, more so than I am, and he makes sure to get every brush stroke just right. It takes him twice as long to do a canvas as me, but when he’s finished…
I can’t compete.
My older brother, Will, likes to sculpt. He took this class at school and dad bought him a sculpting station. I decided to try my hand at the same class. I figured if I can’t make paintings as perfect as Paul, I could make beautiful sculptures. It doesn’t matter what form the art comes in, does it?
So now Will and I both have a sculpting station. I talked dad into buying one for me, too. I’m still working with clay, but someday I hope to be working in wood, ice and metal, like Will.
I really love my brothers, but sometimes it really stinks to be the only girl. It’s even worse when both boys are better than you at the things you really want to do. I don’t try to distance myself from my brothers, but a lot of the time I need to get away from them.
I have two girl cousins who are my age. They’re my aunt Leslie’s daughters, Esmeralda and Shonna. They’re twins, too. Shonna is my best friend. She understands what I’m going through. Esmeralda is a big bitch. We both dislike her. Shonna prefers to hang out with me because Esme is so mean spirited. I like Shonna because like me she marches to the beat of her own drum. Neither one of us is conventional, and we’re both a little odd looking.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…I believe this old adage to be the truth. The problem is that it’s easy to agree with it when you are looking at works of art. It’s easy to agree with it when you are looking at beautiful vistas and spectacular sunsets–the perfect blend of light, color and shadow.
It isn’t easy to believe it when you are talking about your face and body.
About the best thing one could say about my face and body is that I’m unique. Maybe someone might call me cute. But no one would ever say that I’m beautiful or pretty. The truth is, Shona and I both wish we looked like what everyone’s definition of attractive is. But since we don’t, we go out of our way to be unconventional.
Shonna wishes she were thinner, like our cousin Johnny’s girlfriend, Kaylee. She also wishes her hair was the same chestnut brown as Kaylee’s. Esme’s, who isn’t an identical twin to Shonna, has brown hair, but Shonna’s is black.
“Esme’s always saying I’m adopted because mom’s hair is red like yours and dad’s is brown like hers.”
“She’s just jealous, Shonna, because no one likes her,” I tried to reassure her.
“But I don’t look anything like either of them! Sometimes I think she’s right.” Shonna could be a bit melodramatic.
“Great uncle Robert Fields had black hair, Shon. He was famous. He and grandpa Caleb were in that band together.” Actually, in every picture I’d seen, Uncle Robert’s hair was blue, but I knew that it was black before he dyed it.
“Johnny also has black hair,” I added. I also pointed out that his mom had platinum blond hair. Who knew where the genetics came from to get that color.
I didn’t mind my red hair and I was thin enough. But I really wished I had normally shaped eyes, like Will’s friend Bridgette Johnson. (Will wanted to go out with her, but she was seeing this guy named Marcel. No matter what Will did, she only saw him as a friend.)
Bridgette and her sister Ariel both had similar red hair as mine. Bridgette even had the same blue colored eyes as mine. But she looked more Irish and my eyes are definitely Chinese.
Even though he was pudgy, everyone liked Paul. Ariel was always talking to him, trying to get him to notice her. She was in Will’s grade, but she liked Paul. I didn’t get it. A lot of girls, including Ariel, thought Paul was cute, but I couldn’t get a boy to notice me.
I was so excited when Nicklaus Wolzey, who is also in Will’s grade, danced with me at the beach. I thought he might actually like me. I went around mooning about him for weeks afterwards.
But when I finally broke down and called him, he acted like he didn’t know who I was. Then he quickly got off the phone. I found out later that he was dating some blond chick named Nina Rich. She was blond, built, and perfect. Unlike me.
Frustrated with boys, I finally asked my mom what I should do. We were playing chess together, and I brought up the subject casually.
“Mom, how do I get boys to like me?” Ok, so that wasn’t so casual. But Mom didn’t mind talking about boys.
“Do you have a boy in mind?”
“Yeah. I like this guy named Nicklaus, but he likes this girl named Nina.”
Mom chuckled. “You can’t force someone to like you.”
“I know,” I said. “But the thing is that no boys like me. I’m too different.”
“It’s good to be different.” Mom was always saying things like that. She and dad encouraged us to express ourselves, which is probably why all of us are into art and writing.
“But mom!” I whined. “Guys like girls who look like Nina. She’s blond and has big boobs. She’s tan and looks like a model.”
“Looks aren’t everything, Kara. The right boy will like you for who you are. Just be yourself. Be different. This Nicklaus must be a weak boy if he had to go for the same type of girl as everyone else.”
It was good advice. I didn’t want to hear it, but it was good advice.
I swore off boys for awhile and concentrated on my sculpting and painting. I wanted to write another book, too, but I couldn’t think of what I wanted to write. Every time I sat down at the keyboard, I ended up typing a bunch of romantic nonsense that I deleted as soon as I finished it. It was all garbage.
Meanwhile, I wasn’t the only one thwarted by love. Will kept pursuing Bridgette only to have her shoot him down. She refused to break up with Marcel, who wasn’t half as attentive of her as my brother. Will always took her out and invited her over. Marcel never did.
A new hang out recently opened up in Desert Shore. It was owned by my aunt Emma and her husband, Wayne. They felt that the town needed a decent place for people of all ages to just hang. It had darts, an internet café, a reading room, a giant TV, and upstairs it had a juice bar and a small stage and dance floor.
It was called The Inner Shore. I loved it. My family was always hanging out there. Paul and I even tried our hand at the instruments upstairs…during off hours, of course, neither of us is any good.
It was at the Shore, that my cousin Johnny introduced me to a new kid in town named Shawn McMahon. Of course I thought he was hot, and I didn’t think he’d find me attractive at all. But as we talked, I found out that we had a lot in common. He was into art, too, and music…which was more Paul’s thing than mine, but I liked it ok. Shawn also seemed to appreciate my quirky sense of style. We were both a little edgy in the way we dressed.
I felt a little bad, but as soon as we started talking, we sort of ignored Johnny. I didn’t even notice him walk away from us until Shawn asked me to play darts.
“Sure,” I said, turning to ask Johnny if he wanted to play, too. “Johnny do you…”
“I think he went to go get a juice upstairs,” Shawn laughed. “You want the blue darts or the red ones?”
“Doesn’t matter. I’m not very good at darts.”
“I am. Check it out.” Shawn threw the first dart and it landed in the outer ring. “See, I’m a pro,” Shawn laughed again. His next two throws weren’t much better.
We ended up playing the worst game of darts in history, but we had the best time.
A few days later, I invited Shawn to my house. My cousins, Esme and Shonna were there, too, and Paul’s friend, Gavin. Esme was her usual self, choosing to read by herself but only after she insulted Paul and called Shonna a loser.
Gavin, Shawn, Shonna and I ignored her and spent the afternoon playing video games. Paul, who was pretty upset at Esme’s insult, elected to go out in the yard to paint instead of hanging out. I’m not sure were Will was, probably in the garage sculpting or talking to Bridgette on his cell.
Dad was out back, too. He’d decided to retire as a fisherman and start training martial arts instead. He had a client with him today. I was shocked to see that it was Nina Rich, who’d graduated recently. Nicklaus was still at high school with Will. I didn’t realize that Nina was so much older.
Eventually my cousins and Gavin had to go home. Shawn needed to leave, too, but he held back until the others were gone.
“I had a really good time, Kara,” he said. He looked down, and then up at me through his hair. “I really like hanging out with you.”
“I like hanging out with you, too.” I was surprised when Shawn grabbed my hands.
“I hope we can hang out again. Maybe just the two of us.”
“That’d be great,” I said, swinging my hands back and forth. When I realized I was doing it, I quickly let go. I felt like a fool.
“I think I like you,” Shawn said in a husky tone of voice. I could tell that he was flirting with me.
“I think I like you, too,” I confessed. I knew I liked him. I liked him so much, I wanted to sculpt him. I wanted to paint him. I wanted to write every word he said so that I’d never forget. Except that I kept getting distracted by visions of him posing without his shirt that I nearly missed what he said next.
“Do you think we could be, like, steady? You know…boyfriend, girlfriend?”
“Wh..what?” I was in shock. Surely he hadn’t just asked me to be his girlfriend. We hadn’t even kissed. I’d been fantasizing about it, but we hadn’t ever really had the opportunity to do more than flirt a lot.
“I think we should go out,” he repeated.
“Ohmygosh!” I gushed. “Of course! I’d totally go steady with you!” I threw my arms around him in my excitement and planted one on him. As first kisses go, it wasn’t the best, but afterwards we had a lot of opportunities to practice.
After that, Shawn came over all the time. My parents really liked him. Well, ok, my mom really liked him. Dad had his reservations. He thought Shawn needed a hair cut and wondered why he wore a spiked color and big motorcycle boots.
“What sort of kid wears a skull t-shirt?”
“Dad! He’s just expressing his individuality. Like me,” I tried to make him understand.
But when Dad caught Shawn and I making out, he was furious. He broke us up immediately.
“What is going on here?!” He pulled Shawn away.
“Sorry Mr. Fields,” Shawn tried to say, but Dad wasn’t listening.
“Get your hands off my daughter! Get your mouth off of her, too! Kara, you’re too young to be kissing a boy like that!” Dad gave Shawn a little shove. I tried to get between them, telling my dad that I was too old enough to kiss a boy. I reminded him that Shawn was my boyfriend.-
Mom, who’d been gossiping with Nina Rich, who was still dad’s student, came over. “What is going on, Charlie?”
“He had his tongue down the throat of our little girl!”
“Dad!” I hissed.
Mom laughed. “Charlie, they were just making out. It was nothing.”
“There is no ‘just making out’! He was going to grab her butt, I saw his hands moving!”
“Dad!” I screeched.
“Um…” Shawn looked uncomfortable. He looked like he wanted to escape, but didn’t know where to go.
“Charlie, you’re being silly.” Then mom turned to me. “You and Shawn need to be more discreet, though. No public displays of affection. No more making out in front of your father.” Shawn and I both nodded.
“And no private affection either!” Dad added, still angry. He glared at Shawn. Mom pulled him away. “What? I don’t want them doing that in private, either. He wears skulls, Sunny. Who knows what he’s capable of.”
Shawn and I both looked at each other sheepishly. “Sorry,” I said.
“No problem. I was going to grab your butt,” he admitted. I laughed.
“Let’s go in the house. I’d rather cuddle on the couch than kiss out here anyway.” So that’s what we did.