The two siblings sat at the low kids’ table. Scrap paper was scattered across the surface, along with little piles of crayons spilt from several tattered boxes. None of the colors were whole. Paper was torn off to expose broken tips.
Older than his sister by two years, the six-year-old boy was meticulously drawing a skyscraper, paying particular attention to the needle spire at the top. His palette of greys, dark blues and pale greens, matched his dour personality.
He stopped his coloring long enough to watch his little sister as she picked out a fistful of crayons – reds, oranges and yellows of all tints and hues. Held tight in her hand, she created a riot of fire and sunshine, gold and amber, ocher and tangerine across the top of her page.
Shaking his head with disapproval, her brother bent to his task, adding more architectural details to his high-rise.
Selecting new colors, the little girl picked out a rich purple. She gave the woman she drew flowing, dark locks the shade of ripe eggplant.
Provoked by the unconventional hairdo, her brother grabbed the offending crayon.
“People don’t have purple hair,” he yelled, throwing the crayon across the room.
Picking out another color, a lilac pearl, she added highlights to her woman’s hair. All the while, never breaking eye contact with her agitated brother.
Their babysitter, watching the interaction between siblings, fought the urge to laugh. The two were so different. The elder, so serious and pragmatic, never colored outside the lines. The younger was a free spirit who never bowed to coloring convention. She hadn’t met a line she wouldn’t cross.
It was time to step in, and defuse the escalating feud.
Leaning in, the teen hovered a finger over the boy’s drawing.
“Is this the Empire State Building?” The older girl knew not to actually touch his drawing.
His sneer was a clear indication her guess was wrong. The boy crossed his arms in defiance.
“Of course not,” he said. “This is my own design.”
Feeling sufficiently chastised, the older girl turned to her younger charge.
“There’s a lot going on in your picture,” she said. “I like the woman’s hair. Is purple your favorite color?”
“I really like pupple,” the little girl said, twirling a lock of her own blonde hair around the lilac crayon. “But, sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.”
The teenager wanted to hug the little girl, and tell her to always color her women with purple hair, no matter what anyone else said.