Story Contest 2016 #1 - Outstanding Stories » A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

“A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2016 written by Francine Estranero, U.S.A.

A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

People think that I can't hear them whispering about me but, I notice. It's easy to see people eye my bright red hair, my dark blue eyes, and my haughty attitude. No one knows my story, and I don't feel like telling people.

Since I was 10, I've been moved around about 6 times to different foster homes. I've noticed that there are two types of foster parents, the ones who actually care about you and the ones who don't really care where you are as long as they get paid. At least my foster parents left me stuff for school, but they looked absolutely revolting. I ditched the bright purple hoodie but kept the dark blue backpack. When I walked into school, I headed for the office and stood silently waiting for the vice principal to give me my locker and schedule. After she handed it to me, I trudged over to my first class, Literature.

There was a whole row of seats left in the back, so I put my backpack down and sat down. Time passed by and kids filled up the class. No one sat next to me, which was fine with me as it was hard enough to concentrate with all the chaos people made. For a few months that was my routine: just get in then get out.

It worked well until there was a new student. When he walked in, all heads turned instinctively to the doorway and everyone's jaw dropped. A guy around my age walked in with hair the color of melted honey and eyes that matched his hair. Mr. Clark looked up and motioned for the student to get closer to him. After a short and whispered conversation, the student walked down the aisle to sit next to me. The girls in my class looked enviously at me when he put his stuff next to his chair. I noticed that he pulled out a drawing pad and a sharpened pencil.

For a few minutes, I didn't really notice him drawing until I saw him looking at me weirdly. When he caught my eye he stopped drawing and smiled at me. Shaking my head, I looked ahead at the board copying the notes that were on the board. Still, the mystery kid didn't look up and copy notes. Right before class ended, he finished his drawing and signed it Michael Jay. Well, the mystery boy had a name. He looked at his picture and slid the finished drawing in my notebook. Our eyes met and he smiled another secret smile, like he knew something I didn't know.

Soon school was over and I walked to the park that was close to my foster parents' house. The crisp autumn air felt relaxing as I opened the notebook Michael had put his drawing in. When I looked at it, I inhaled a sharp breath as a single tear rolled down my face.

My hair was drawn like a fan behind my head, with my eyes filled with life, and a single word was repeated over and over. Smile. Looking closer, I found the word smile in the last strands of my hair, in the necklace that was on my neck, and one barely visible on my cheek. I looked up at the sky and felt the soft mist touch my face. I took a deep breath and made a promise to myself.

When I saw Michael Jay, I smiled at him and pulled out the drawing he had drawn of me. His eyes landed on the paper and they lit up. Michael looked at me asking me the question that would change my life forever: "Would you like to go for a walk with me after school?"

Not even my hardened walls of steel could keep me from smiling when he asked me. I looked out the window and when I looked back at him, I nodded saying, "Which park are we headed to?"