Weekend Edition: Makenna Glessner's BC

Fetterolf’s Fiction: Creative Writing Selections
Part of an ongoing series of creative writing selections from Ms. Fetterolf's creative writing class. Check back next weekend for another installment.

by Makenna Glessner
I hear my own heartbeat in my already spinning head. This is the third night this week I have found myself running. Concealed by this dark alleyway, I am still able to hear everything they say about me on their boxy radios. “We are still on the lookout for BC. They have yet again placed a painting on the MET walls without being caught. We have no motive to why BC would hang their personal art, but the public seems to love it. Who is BC?!. Everyone is going crazy trying to find this mysterious artist. At this point we believe they're around five six but have no lead to what he or she looks like. We have no further evidence.”

Sitting down I wait for the lights and sirens to disappear and as I feel the dampness of the cold ground sending shivers through me, I think. I do a lot of thinking. You could say I'm never truly ‘all there’. "Why am I in this alleyway, what have I done? God my head is spinning." The streetlights mix brilliantly with the flashing red and blue police lights. Staring at my hands a glimpse of a light catches the small thin scar that was just one of many on my right hand. Under my short nails I see every color imaginable. The pale violet streak in my short, wavy, blonde hair matching with the paint beneath my thumb. Closing my clear green eyes I start to daze off and I start to remember.
  • 2 years earlier  -
It was soon to be my 16th birthday, I was in the kitchen when my foster mother had asked me what I wanted.  Being quite shy about my answer, I thought about my words carefully. A burden, that's all I was. I was dropped off at their front step as an infant. Mr. Banks didn't want me, he was old and a grumpy businessman who was never home. The last thing he needed was a baby. Mrs. Banks felt guilty not to keep me and so here I am. I was never really wanted by the rich, intellectual Banks. They saw me as less worthy, all I had to show for myself was my art. To them that's about as useless as a pen without ink.
“I want new paints…” I finally mangled out.
My foster mother sighed. “ Art is such a waste my dear, why don't you become a doctor or lawyer and make yourself useful.”
“ But Mother…”
“ Listen Callie, I hate to tell you this, but you just aren't that good. I’ve seen some of your work. It's barely worthy of a glance. You surely can't believe you can actually make it with just a paint brush and some paper!”
My 16th birthday came, and I did not receive new paints, but instead a book, a boring 300 page book. It was all about the law system, I also received a $50 bill for new clothes. Joy. Squeezing out a smile I took the bundle of excitement up to my room. I threw it on the floor.
“I guess I could use the check for some paints.”
I sit on my window sill and look down upon the gloomy New York landscape. If I looked hard enough I could see the top of the Met; the art museum I had dreamed of seeing for as long as I could remember. I had asked mother repeatedly to take me, but she always thought it was ‘trash on the walls’. Picking up the book I opened it to the first page, which was thin and covered in black markings. I couldn't even make out the words. Gazing around my room at all of my creations I self reflected. They weren't bad at all, at least to me. Each piece of art was a piece of myself, Callie Banks.    
“It’s time for a change,” I grabbed the cash and I snuck out praying I wouldn't miss the subway. I have some art to see.
Arriving home late from museum, I wasn't shocked to see mother was in the kitchen with disappointment written all over her pruny, made up face.
“Where were you?” she demanded.
“Nowhere mother.”
“Callie! I demand an answer.”
“ I was at the MET mom.”
“That stupid art museum? How did you get in?”
“I used the cash you gave me earlier.”
“That was for clothes! Not for you to wander the town,”
“I’m sorry, I just-”
“Go to your room, you are grounded. You go to school and come home. The only extra things you will be doing is studying, my daughter will not be a nobody, understand?”
“ Yes ma’am.” I was trying not to cry.
“I mean it Callie, no more art.”
I ran halfway up the stairs and I let loose, “ I’m not even your daughter!”
My foster mom yelled back, “Than leave! See how hard it is to live off of your paints you ungrateful brat!”
“I will!”
I cried a lot that night.
The next day after school no one was home, I walked upstairs to check if anyone was there only to find my door closed, I never close my door. I tried opening it but something was blocking it.  Finally pushing it open, all I saw was a blur of spilt paint,  ripped drawings and my paintings slashed as my eyes filled with tears.
“She did this.” I steamed.
I looked around at my world that had be attacked and then at myself in the mirror. What am I doing? How did this happen? Why am I such a disappointment? Maybe this is why my parents didn't want me. I had never felt so helpless and lost, no one understood me, not even myself. I stared in the mirror for a long time before bringing my hand into a fist and punching my reflection. The pain never came. I glanced down to see the blood dripping off my hand into the red paint spill on the floor. Watching the dripping and the mixing of the two reds my head became so clear. For the first time I realized that my art was worth the pain and I would fight just to prove that I had shot of making a life for myself. In that moment I knew exactly who I was. I gathered the small amount of clothes I had (they were all mostly black), my toothbrush and toothpaste, a brush, my cell phone charger, my earbuds, and all of the art supplies I could save. I was never coming back. Never really feeling at home here, it was surprisingly easy to walk away from my entire life. I called one of my best friends, Lane, to pick me up. I needed to be anywhere but here.
-Present -
I woke up  in the alleyway cold. The morning smog from the city had settled on me overnight. The whole living on your own hasn’t worked out for me. I sleep in Lane’s basement, but I always feel like I'm taking advantage. He is the only person I would ever trust with my secret. I just want to feel like I belong somewhere.
My phone vibrates and I see Lane's name pop up.
“Hello?” I said groggy.
“Well hi sunshine…”
“Sorry Lane I had a rough night.”
“I know I saw it all over the news. I don't know how you do it.”
“ This is the only way for people to see my art.”
“Callie, it is not the only way. You are good enough to get into any gallery without hanging it yourself.”
“That's just your opinion Lane. I feel like the public only loves the mystery of BC not the art.”
“ Callie, have you ever gone back to the museum after you hung your painting?”
“No, I’m afraid they will know its me.”
“I’m picking you up where are you?”
“Beside the bookstore on Madison Avenue.”
“Okay see you in a few Callie.”
“Thanks see you soon.”
A few minutes later Lane picked me up in his maroon vintage pickup. I hopped in the passenger seat to his warm smile and endless brown eyes.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“It’s a surprise.”
“I hate surprises.”
He laughed, “Yea I know.”
Lane has been my go-to for as long as I can remember. He is my rock and always brings me back to reality. He is my muse, and his opinion is everything.
We pulled into The Metropolitan Museum of Art a few minutes later.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
“Are you kidding?!”
“No. You need to experience what people say about your art.”
“Lane they probably took all of it down.” I rolled my eyes.
“Wanna bet.”
I couldn’t resist a good bet. There was no way they still had my art on the walls.
“Okay, what is the bet?”
“I don’t know yet. All I know is that I’ll be winning it and I’m going to want a prize.”
“Whatever, you are crazy.”
Getting out of the truck I slowly walk up the steps. I haven’t been a proper visitor since the night of my 16th birthday. My heart started pounding and my head filled with thoughts,
“What if they know it’s me, what if -”
“What?” I snapped out of my horrified trance.
“Calm down you look like a deer in headlights, I checked everything out they have no leads on ‘BC’, you are safe.”
I relaxed a little, but I was still tense. We arrived at the entrance and I took a deep breath. Someone grabbed my hand. I was shocked and I turned to look at Lane who was looking right back with a big grin. I let my walls down and let this amazing guy hold my hand as we walked through the doors that would forever change me.
The MET was beautiful as always. I looked around at all of the art amazed by how each piece filled me with excitement and happiness. I felt Lane pulling me toward a mass of people. I strained my eyes to see what they were all huddled around. Lane pushed his way through with me trailing behind.
“Lane where are we -”
I almost dropped dead. There on the cream walls were my paintings, every single one I had snuck in. I stood there in awe.
“So you really had no idea?” Lane whispered.
“It was always dark…..I didn’t realize what they were doing..I’m speechless..this isn’t real.” I mumbled.
“ Listen to what they say.”
I listened nervously to the public as they reviewed my work. Everyone was talking about my art, not BC. People didn’t just love the mystery of BC, They loved….ME. I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. This was really happening.
“Callie, the public wants more of BC. They are becoming slowly addicted. You have to show more.”
“Lane I would love to, but I don’t want get caught. I need to stop, this isn’t right what I’ve done.”
“It is up to you, I am behind you for whatever decision you make.”
I smile and I start to walk back to the entrance. We walk outside and I realize I was still holding Lane’s hand, quickly I retracted from his grip and I turned away.. Lane looked hurt.
“Callie, will you look at me?”
I felt like crying. I turned to him tears in my eyes.
“What am I going to do? I am so close to my dream, it is right through those doors, but I’m scared. I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Lane wiped a tear away from my face, looked into my eyes and tucked my purple streak behind my ear.
“Callie I do believe I won a certain bet.”
“Go ahead rub it in, I should have believed you.” I looked away.
He brought my eyes back to his and he kissed me lightly.
“What was that?!” I asked.
“My Prize.”
All I could do was smile.
“Well…” Lane edged on.
“Are you going to go tell the world your big secret and become famous or are you going to stand here with me and sulk?”
“You are so pushy,” I laughed.
“I’m right behind you.”
I walked up to the doors and paused. I looked back at Lane. He gave me a confused look. Running back to him, I game him a huge hug and whispered. “Thank You.” He held me tight and I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. He was my home.
“I am BC, I am Callie, I am fighting for this, I will not walk away.”
Everything was a flash as I raced to tell the world what they have been wanting to know. I pushed my way through the doors and  the crowd among my creations. Standing in front of the paintings that hung on the wall I took one last look before turning to the confused public.
Everyone became quiet, reality struck. I started shaking. I scanned the crowd and a familiar face came into view. My foster mom. So many feelings arose and my heart kept beating faster and faster. I looked right at her and stated, “Do you see this, do you see these paintings? I’m BC! This is where my paints got me, so tell me mother are you still ashamed of me?”
She walked away and I saw Lane run after her. I guess that could have gone better. I had no time to react. People were crowding around me and I couldn’t breath. I start to get light headed and I feel myself losing control. The last thing I remember was handcuffs around my wrists and the red and blue lights that mix just right.
I woke up on a hospital bed with a blistering headache. Lane saw me move and rushed over.
“Callie?! Thank God you are ok! I was worried sick.”
“What’s going on?”
            “You don’t recall anything?”
            “You were arrested, but since you blacked out they had to take you to the hospital.”
            All of my crimes and felonies were catching up to me and I started to feel the room spinning again. I’m dead. My life is over. I’ll never be able to see Lane. No more art.
            “Callie! Stay with me.” Lane’s touch steadied me and I took a couple deep breaths as two officers came into my room with a nurse.
            “Sir can we please talk to you?” One of the officers directed to Lane.
            “Why do they need him, I’m the one who did all of the horrid crimes,” I thought quietly to myself. I could see them making conversation just outside my clear room. Lane’s pallid face become more and more lively until a bright smile spread across his face. The taller officer handed him a lilac envelope matching perfectly with the streak of hair behind my left ear.
            “What is going on.” I whispered to myself.
Lane came running into the room. “ Guess who is coming home with me?!”
“Just tell me what’s going on.”                                              
“You’re mom, I mean Mrs. Banks, paid your bail.”
            “Why would she do that?”
            “I assume it is all in this letter.”
Lane handed me the lilac envelope with ‘Callie’ inscripted on the front.
The Letter Read.
My Dearest Callie,
Believe it or not, I loved you like my own. I know I did some very horrible things to you and I wish I could take them all back, but I can’t. When I was your age I wanted to be an artist just like you. I went to art school, I trained myself, but I never made it. I swore I would forever give up the arts and I did just that. I should have not expected you to feel the same way. Seeing you flourish made me jealous, and I wish I could have just been happy for you. Please forgive me, I should have been a better mother. I think it is best to stay on our separate paths, but accept my parting gift. Best of luck, not that you need it.
Mrs. Banks
I was practically in tears. In the envelope was the deed to the Bank’s residence, and a check for a hundred grand.
  • one month later -
Staring out the window in my old bedroom I see the public flowing into the newly renovated Banks Art Gallery. Using my mother's gift wisely I chose to open a gallery in the Bank’s residence to pursue my dream. I walked downstairs to see Lane waiting with an open arm to lead me into the crowds of admiring people. I lean into Lane and self reflected at my little world.  I am BC and I did this. I am Callie Banks and I am finally at home.

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