That's all I've ever really wanted from anyone. I've only ever wanted someone to hear what I had to say without me actually having to speak. If someone were to ask me why I took up art in the first place, that would be one of the reasons I'd give them.

Various other reasons tie into why I wanted to become an artist, such as the fact that I liked it and it kept me from having to socialize with people, but the more I think about it, the deeper it seems to get for me.


I grew up in the eighties. While other kids were focused on what new John Hughes movie was coming out, what REM or Bon Jovi concert they were going to attend, or what new celebrity style they could pull off, I was at home. I was at home, sat at a table lined with pencils, pencil shavings, crumpled up pieces of paper and discarded candy wrappers everywhere. I didn't have anyone to turn to when I didn't feel like sketching that day and wanted to do something different, but that, of course was my own fault.

That all changed when I started high school and met the one person who had the biggest impact on my decision to continue to pursue this career path.

It was 1989, and I had just turned fourteen years old. I had just started my freshman year of high school and I was completely intending on keeping my reputation as the boy who didn't have any friends and didn't talk to anyone in school. I planned on keeping my nose to my sketchpad and passing my classes with the bare minimum requirements as each day went on.

Spencer Smith, however, had other plans.

I did not go to a big school. I went to a very small, private Catholic school in Summerlin, Nevada, so I knew the faces I had grown accustomed to over the years. But when I saw that boy hop his way into the lunchroom our first day of freshman year, I knew he was new, and he was not afraid to show everyone he was new.

Spencer was loud and eccentric, obviously a complete polar opposite of myself. I watched him slightly out of the corners of my eyes bound from table to table introducing himself and everyone being oh so nice in introducing themselves back. I rolled my eyes at their seemingly polite facades, and shoved my nose back to my sketchpad, waiting for our bell to signal us to go to class.

That was, until I heard the feet of the chair across from me screech against the tile floor.

I didn't want to look up. I'm not good at socializing with people in general, and, if given the chance, I will gladly avoid all social situations. However, the tension of the silence that included another person got the best of me and I glanced up to see this new boy sitting across from me, a wide smile on his face.

"Hi," he said brightly, making me shrink back slightly at the volume of his voice.

I rolled my lips together and cleared my throat slighlty as I sat up a bit straighter. "H-Hi," I said softly.

The boy in front of me cocked his head to the side and his eyes went straight to the sketch that was sat directly in front of me. "What're you drawing?"

I looked down at my sketch and blushed slightly because no one ever really cared to see my work, so when they did ask, it caught me off guard. "I-It's a cabin hidden in t-the woods," I said in an almost whisper. "I-It's not f-finished, though."

The boy in front of me nodded, his smile getting impossibly wider as he leaned over the table to get a better look at the sketch. "It looks incredible," he said, his voice sounding genuinely awestruck. "You're really talented."

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