Short Story About Bullying

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Pablo etched her face with broad pencil strokes. Two fine lines hinted at eyebrows, lifted in a lipless smile. The large eyes were slightly downcast, lashes thick and soft. Prominent cheekbones hovered above a thin jaw line and soft chin. None of the features were completely filled in. Only one nostril was finished, the eyes were half shaded, and light waves of hair framed the sides of her face and neck. Tiny wrinkles at the edge of her mouth spoke of tears and laughter. Pablo’s pencil bobbed and flicked across the page. He worked quickly, touching down in random corners of the portrait. He thickened a bit of shadow under the left eye, added another lock of hair, and sharpened the edge of the woman’s lip. Pablo was so engrossed in the drawing that he was not aware of his teacher standing just behind him, looking over his shoulder. “That’s beautiful. I’m glad to have you in my class, Pablo. You are very talented.” Ms. Sanadi smiled at him. “Who is it?” “It’s, um, no one really.” Pablo set his pencil down and glanced around at the other tables of students. He felt uncomfortable, as he always did, when teachers praised him. It was hard enough being the new student. “It’s obvious you’ve had some practice.” Ms. Sanadi took a step closer and leaned down to admire the sketch. She was close enough for Pablo to smell faint perfume, like crushed petals. “She looks sad somehow, but very pretty.” “Thanks ma’am,” Pablo replied quietly. “Now nothing against this fine lady, Pablo, but I’m obliged to make one critical comment.” Ms Sanadi grinned, as if to belay her tone. “As I said at the start of class, we are working on contour drawing. This is lovely, especially around the eyes, but contour drawing is just lines – no shading.” “Sorry ma’am,” he said, “I’ll start over.” He picked up the portrait, folded it once, and set it to the side. “Oh, don’t worry dear, there’s no rush. I won’t ask you to turn anything in until the end of the week.” She stepped away...
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