The Sketch

The Sketch

A Story by Treo LeGigeo

That day.


He loses his first kiss in autumn. He's twelve, she's just turned thirteen, and at the time he isn't sure what all the fuss is about but knows how special it is anyway.

She's gorgeous, pale-skin, brown hair, dark eyes always filled with happiness and joy the way he wishes he could be. She doesn't want to be there any more than he does, and they grouse to each other about how they don't need a 'special school.' It's the first time he's worked up the courage to say it.

She carries a book too, just like his sketchbook, but she says it's a diary. It's hung with a little lock on the front and he jokes about it being the key to her heart, a little boy's poor attempt at flirting but she laughs anyway. He wants to hear that laugh again, and he does, when he shyly asks if he can draw her.

It's half-way through his sketch that she leans in and presses her soft lips to his. It's a little clumsy and awkward, given how she's standing up and he's cross-legged on the ground, and nowhere as romantic like he'd thought but still somehow just as he'd imagined.

He's going to marry her, he decides. Marry her, and live in a big house on a hill with a chair out the front where he can sit with his sketchbook and a set of swings in the yard for their children. He'll be an artist and she'll be a teacher, and all the schoolchildren will love her just as he does.

A gust of cool wind blows by as she pulls back and stands straight again. He lets out a little chuckle as a orange-red leaf catches in her hair, raising a hand to pluck it out before letting his pencil flow across the page once more.

Only a few weeks later he doesn't understand why she left, where she went. But the news, the reports of war are getting worse, and there are bigger things to worry about.

A few months later, his parents tell him they're moving to America. And that's that.

Time passes. He remembers the kiss, the day, and the girl, and he wonders if she'll be alright. But he's growing up now, there's no time to think about first crushes. Not when the world is in uproar over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

His father talks him into enlisting. Times still aren't good, it's always a noble cause defending the people. Heaven knows someone needs to do it after all that's happened. It's not like he's got any other skills for after high school.

On the morning he's planning to go to the recruitment office, he wakes up slumped at his desk, fingers still clutching the pen he was using to fill in his forms. The window is open from the previous night, and a slight morning breeze wafts a handful of loose debris from the yellow tree outside in onto the bare floorboards. He puts down the pen.

He throws the forms into the trash and tells his parents he's moving out. The next week he enrols himself in an art college.

It's decades later that he walks past a window and sees the book that hits him like a punch in the gut. He buys it, despite barely having enough for rent, takes it home and doesn't try to stop the tears when they come.

He digs out the bundle of papers from the old storage boxes he never saw the point of unpacking, useless piles of junk from his childhood that he holds onto who knows why, and pulls out a torn page from the very bottom of the pile. Folded with it is a thin, pressed, no-longer-gold leaf.

They say there are some things in life that stick with you no matter where you go, how many years pass you by. Things that shape you without you even realising. There are always the curious ones who ask him what it was like to live in the thick of it during the war, and he tells them.

But he doesn't tell them about the house on the hill, or the swings, or that bright autumn day.

He still lets himself dream, every now and then. Some people may shake their heads and mutter about letting go, leaving fantasy behind, but really it's the other way around. Because he knows its not real, and that's why he can't forget.

But sometimes, somewhere, in some other pane of reality, he imagines it coming true.

What's your last name?” He gestures to the slate-grey lines criss-crossing the waxy paper. “So I can write a caption, just like in a gallery, see?”

And she smiles that beautiful smile of hers that he'll remember as long as he lives.

It's Frank,” she says, reaching forward to write it for him. “Here. Anne Frank.”

© 2013 Treo LeGigeo

Author's Note

Treo LeGigeo
During World War II, countries under Nazi occupation forced Jewish children to attend segregated schools.

Feedback would be lovely.

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and today I read it again...destiny I suppose ..twice as real and tender...wonderful write..Laury

Posted 7 Years Ago

Good story... I never saw the Anne Frank thing coming. Well written.

Posted 7 Years Ago

Hey! Sorry for not getting back to you early. Firstly, I would like to thank you for entering this contest.
This story is a work of magic.It is sober,sophisticated, and deals with the emotional maturity of a twelve year old perfectly. You work like a wordsmith, and I'm really grateful that I came across this story. :D

Posted 7 Years Ago

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That was amazing. I love how you didn't know who the characters were until the end and how the story progressed. I am literally out of words- I don't know how to describe how great this is, other than just utterly amazing.

Posted 7 Years Ago

Its a very bittersweet love story, and I enjoyed how it was set in the past, during the war. At first I thought it was going to be a typical love story but it was way better. The ending was like a hard punch in the back, it knocked the breath out of me. (Thats a good thing) You have a real talent :)

Posted 7 Years Ago

My, oh my. I've been going through submissions for contests all morning, and when I came upon this I had this gut feeling that this would actually be something great. You see, I haven't really found one that has left me feeling breathless and dazed like this has. This is an incredible piece you have here. Thank you so much for submitting into my contest, and giving me the opportunity to read something truly magnificent.

Posted 7 Years Ago

wow! at first when i was reading it i was like ok this doesnt make much sense, but at the ending i was like oh wow cool! i dont know much about anne frank but i still found it amazing! way to surprise me! now i just gotta read the other submissions..;/

Posted 8 Years Ago

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I didn't know a story could be so bittersweet. What a twist at the end! Wow. Amazing job.
(PS: No grammar or spelling errors!)
(PPS: Is there actually anything in the actual diaries about a boy like this?)

Posted 8 Years Ago

Treo LeGigeo

8 Years Ago

Thanks you! Glad you liked it.

And I don't think so, but it doesn't discount the possib.. read more
Absolutely tugged at my heart strings! Beautiful story...perfectly bittersweet ending. I loved the golden leaf "motif" thing.

Posted 8 Years Ago

I absolutely loved this. It was definitely bittersweet, and while I knew the ending was probablys not going to be happy, I didn't expect that ending at all. Your writing style is especially captivating. Normally, I'm a nitpicker, but honestly I couldn't find anything wrong with this.

A nice story with a pretty good twist. :)


Posted 8 Years Ago

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24 Reviews
Shelved in 7 Libraries
Added on September 12, 2012
Last Updated on June 14, 2013
Tags: World War II, Nazi, Historical, First Kiss, Romance, Love


Treo LeGigeo
Treo LeGigeo

Sydney, NSW, Australia

I'm from Australia, so some people may find that I spell things differently. I love writing and have had a couple of publications of short stories and novellas under a pseudonym. I started .. more..


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