Our Theories of Wings

By Poisoned Twinkles

Chapter Two: Painted Wings

You see the new girl enter the bus with a grim expression on her face. Everyone else stops with their conversations briefly as they stare at her. You've heard of the rumours about her. Strawberry-haired half-Brazilian girl comes to England after being cured from leprosy.

You'd think that she was something to ogle at, what with her obvious museum of scars from the disease, but it just doesn't feel right to. Therefore, you remove your eyes off from her and sit stolid on your place. And it doesn't take her long to walk down the aisles and sit behind you.

It's not like you think she noticed you straightaway, but you can't help but feel that way. Maybe you want to befriend her? Maybe you could act all noble and be the difference in her life?

Why though? Is it because you remember how your own twin brother died from leprosy when you don't even remember him?

You zip open your bag and grab your latest sketchbook. Your most recent, unfinished work is a charcoal sketch of a statue of an angel on a clock tower. What is it that you want to do with it? Do you want to show it to the new girl? You quickly decide against this. She would think you were awkward and such a show-off.

Nevertheless, you lift your head from the artwork and turn to look at the new girl, craning your neck a little. She's staring outside through the foggy window with the most contemplative look you've ever seen on a teenager. All of a sudden, you could imagine your twin brother do the same if he lived, scarred by his battlefield.

Those thoughts quickly dissipate as she turns her head forward, and you are caught staring at her. For a moment, you just wish that you never looked at her, but the way she looks surprised seems highly amusing to you. Wondering whether you should say hi, you're about to open your mouth to speak when she looks away abruptly.

Maybe she's used to being stared at after all.

But you don't breathe a sigh of relief. Instead, as you look away, you think of how you didn't want her to think of you as she thought of everybody else who stared at her that way. You don't want her to feel bad for being stared at, because your motive in staring at her was completely different.

Wait, what was your motive again?

You gulp silently in confusion. That stranger just entered the bus eight minutes ago and you're already spacing out with thoughts of judgment and resolutions. What do you really want from her?

Do you want her to feel better because of your 'seemingly-kind' stare? Or do you want yourself to feel better, knowing that you could do something good for the sake of making yourself seem like a good person?

Maybe your brother wouldn't be too happy about your selfish thoughts right now.

But actually, you're not sure at all as to how your brother would react about your thoughts because you barely remember him.

And maybe that's why you're so curious about the new girl. Because she could be the only chance for you to remember how it felt like to be with your dead brother.

With your epiphany, you feel more dazed, if not satisfied. At least you had a better reason for staring at her unlike everybody else.

So without further ado, you look at the new girl once more, and try to start a conversation before you reach school.

But she's staring at that darn window again. What is it with her and windows? Is it because windows don't stare back at her?

You sigh to yourself and flip open your sketchbook and look at the angel you've done. You have to admit, your talent's improving. You could just feel all those frigid emotions pouring out of you little by little as you critically view your work. You don't think it's your masterpiece, but you just have to say to yourself, that clock tower's the best thing you've ever drawn in such a short time.

Will you leave your drawing like that and start a new one? Or will you work harder until you're absolutely sure of it?

It's the same with your friend-making decisions towards the new girl. Will you actually have the courage to introduce yourself, or would you rather rationalise more until you're satisfied?

The bus still has a long way to go, and you don't want to waste your time. You lightly shut your sketchbook and lean over behind you. The girl is still staring at the foggy window, and you reach out your index finger to tap her on her left shoulder.

She quickly regains her composure and looks at the source of the finger-tapping-nuisance: you. You can't really read the emotions on her face, but you're guessing it's a cross between a look of surprise, a look of slight annoyance, and a little look of shyness.

"Hullo there," you tell her. She bites her lip in such a hidden way, but you could still see it.

"Hullo," she replies in a small voice. Her light blue-grey eyes are speaking louder.

"I'm Lucas. You can call me Luke for short. And you are?" You talk to her with a pleasant tone, hoping it doesn't sound fake, because you know it isn't. You're befriending her for real.

"Rosamunde. I don't know what nickname you could call me," she replies with her small voice. You think her name suits her well; it doesn't need a nickname, yet.

"No need for nicknames. So, how long has it been since you moved here?" you ask her, trying to seem casual and not too intimidating.

"Errr... around two weeks already," she tells you. You nod and look back at the front. You're still pretty far from school. And while you're calculating how many more questions you could ask her, she taps you lightly on your back and you turn to her with a curious look.

"Sorry if this question would seem really odd, but if everyone had wings right now, would mine be tainted ones?"

You frown at her question not because of its oddness, but because it makes you think of all your earlier judgments on her. Did people judge her that way after all? That she was tainted?

"Wouldn't you rather just paint your own wings than ask someone to describe them for you?" You reply with a raised eyebrow and a smirk on your face. As an artist, you know that only you could decide what was best for your masterpiece.

"Painted wings?" she asks with a quiet yet slightly incredulous tone. You nod at her.

"Yes, you paint your own wings, don't you?"

And then you show her your latest drawing of the statue of an angel on a clock tower. She mumbles how beautiful it is, and how she wishes she had a talent just like yours, which makes you ooze with more confidence in befriending her.

"I guess you're right. We do paint our own wings," she finally resolves.

You watch her lean back with a small smile on her face as she looks at the foggy window for the last time (You can just hope that it is the last time) before she looks at you again.

"So how long have you been doing art?" she asks.

And all your doubts vanish into the foggy windows as you start conversing.

Maybe your brother is smiling up there right now, too.