Portrait of the Artist

On the last day of school, Lilia received an award for a painting she did in art class. Her teacher entered it in a prefectural-wide concours of artwork based on students’ reading. Lilia’s was based on a book called Pao’s Christmas, or something like that. She got an Honorable Mention. When I heard that, I got tears in my eyes. I remember when Lilia was the only kid in her class who still scribbled, who couldn’t draw a recognizable face. Back then, I had no idea of what kind of progress she would make in school. Also, there was a boy in her class who was really good at drawing. He won first prize in an art competition of deaf school students all over Japan. There was an award ceremony at school, and a well-known actress came and made a speech. This boy was featured in the newspaper. I figured with him around, Lilia had no chance of ever impressing anyone with her drawings. That boy, who is going to be integrated from April, has been more interested in baseball than art, lately, and he didn’t win anything this time. I am very proud of Lilia and all she has accomplished this past year. (Please excuse the messy room!)

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