In Other Words: Finishing The Island Lady

In Other Words

Here is a new challenge I am taking over at Patricia’s Place. You can participate by going to…

Patricia has given us a quote and has asked us to write a new piece between 250 and 500 words.

Here is the quote and my newest story

Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”
Willa Cather


Finishing the Island Lady

By JE Lillie

Andre was determined to make his mark on the world. His parents were even more determined that their son would succeed in his ambition. The family moved out of the tenements in lower Cleghorn when Andre was five and  found a low rent apartment in a nearby suburb. It meant commuting in a beat up old truck for Andre’s father and working in the Dollar Store for his mother but they considered the sacrifice for their son worth it all.

Andre was no genius in the classroom but there was nothing the boy couldn’t create with a paintbrush. The word “prodigy” was tossed around throughout Andre’s high school career. That and a dozen blue ribbons from around the state and a full scholarship to the Boston School of the arts made him a shoe in as one of Massachusetts up and coming artists in gallery shows around the Commonwealth.

But Andre’s mark was bigger than a name on a canvas, bigger than money in the bank. When the boy started teaching art classes at the Boys and Girls club in Lower Cleghorn he knew he had come home. He trained a dozen young men and women in the art of painting.

For his Senior project he got permission from the City to begin painting murals over several of the graffitied walls in the center. Andre was warned of the danger of painting over gang tags. When he was interviewed he told the papers he was not challenging anyone’s authority, that his only goal was to revive a love for beauty in the downtrodden village called Cleghorn.

The gang’s did not see his work as beautiful. They shot and killed Andre on a Wednesday as he was finishing the outline of a mural he called, Island Lady.

Andre’s memorial service was held at the site of the outlined portrait. A hundred artists from around the state agreed to finish the Island Lady and to paint over every tag in the city as tribute to one of their own. The broken heart of love can breed anger. Used right that anger becomes resolve. When resolve meets hope and hope meets God that opens the way for many miracles.

11 thoughts on “In Other Words: Finishing The Island Lady

  1. What could be a very sad story is one of the redeeming power of love making way for miracles. An encouraging and inspiring story. Thank you for joining this little hop of mine. And thank you for encouraging your readers to join in…very kind of you.

  2. What a wonderful story! What I liked was that he used his talent to bless and encourage others, rather than to make himself wealthy and important. While his death was tragic, I am hoping those responsible felt some remorse, and I love the way the community came together in his memory to honor his efforts and complete the mural. Where there is love, there is always a way. One never knows what hardened hearts might have been touched by that outpouring of sympathy and support.

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