WHERE IS HOPE? Part 1.
Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Joanna returns from a social function where she was dressed to be in the "centre of attention" group and changes now, into her plain clothing, sunglasses and a head scarf. She sits incognito in the café sketching people. In her studio Joanna paints portraits from her sketches.
She sketches a 7 year old boy with his father and observes that he's being bullied. The boy cowers from the father, wearing a grimace on every wrong answer. He spills food onto the table and the father stands abruptly, holding the table with both hands and leans towards the boy. He recoils from his father and Joanna knows he's afraid.
Curious, she follows them. Ten minutes from the café they enter a red brick terrace house with white iron lacework on the veranda. Only two streets from her studio, she alters her evening walk to pass their house. The boy's light is on by eight o'clock and through partly opened curtains she sees his silhouette.
Some nights she hears crying from his room. Joanna paints a portrait of the boy's face etched with pain and sadness. She paints the father as a tall, thin and stern man who is aloof and angry at the world for his own shortcomings.
Kelvin, the father, has a receding hairline and grey/blue eyes. His mind is sharp and his words can be cutting. Kelvin's 7 year old, Josh, plays with his rabbits or pretends he's a super hero with the boy next door. Josh is friendly, smiling and laughing. He loves music and sings along, copying the dance moves.
Josh with Charlie from next door are inseparable, creating imaginary adventures around the neighbourhood. Charlie doesn't think Josh is scared of his father but at Josh's house, sitting together having a laugh in the family room, his father finds something wrong and tells him in a stern voice, "Joshua, that's it! Go to your room this instant and wait for me there." Then he tells Charlie politely that it's time to go home and he might not see Josh for a couple of days.
Charlie had no idea about Josh's abuse. The father hid it well. Josh had no visible signs. He would say he had been very sick and wouldn't talk about it, while describing everything else in his life. Josh has a role to play in hiding his beatings by the father who is supposed to love him.