Everyone has dreams. Not those about fairies, giants, monsters or even talking animals. But dreams, aspirations, hope. We all have it, don’t we?
Jack is a young boy with a small brain but big dreams. Unfortunately born with a lower IQ than many other boys his age, Jack was ‘only’ good at one thing– dream. And art. Because of this, his classmates mock him. They despise him for his lack of intelligence, they dislike him because of his quiet character, yet, some are secretly jealous of him because of his unique, artistic talent. In class, Jack’s classmates will proudly destroy his skillfully created art piece, leaving him quietly drawing another.
On the outside, Jack appears nonchalant about being disturbed. When classmates bully him, he just smiles and walks away. When strangers stare at him with cold eyes, Jack just pretends that he does not see anything. When teachers comments about his terribly done and shallow science assignment, Jack compromises. He never stands up for himself, he never argues back.
But Jack dreams. He dreams that one day, one fine day, he will fly. He dreams that he will fly up to the faraway, fantastical sky, away from this dreadful world, a world of hatred and pain. Deep inside Jack, he feels the pain of rejection and the bruise of sharp, unloving words.
One afternoon, Mr. Ryan the art teacher gives Jack’s class an art assignment. They are to draw a picture with the theme being ‘dream’. While many girls launch into drawing pictures of beautiful fairies and cute dragons and many boys draw scary monsters and charming knights, Jack draws the sky. In it, the fluffy clouds seem to dance around the blue, crystal like ballroom in their elegant white gowns. The yellow, bright master of the house looks delightfully at his guests, pouring warm sunlight on them. Little children dressed in bright colours flutter around the room, playing and teasing. The entire ballroom is filed with laughter and soft chattering.
Jack wished that he were there. He wants to dance and play with friends too, without worries, without discrimination. Jack stares into space, dreaming, hoping. Escaping.
“Yuck! What on earth is this ugly looking trash?” Jack’s friend suddenly shouts from behind. Shocked, Jack turns back, only to see a discouraging, proud face.
“Which ‘cow’ ever dreams of the sky. Oh, so Jack thinks that he can fly! Prove it to us and we will believe.” Others join in the conversation. Jack’s classmates continue that if he can show them how he can fly, he then can be part of them. Although his classmates take this for a joke, Jack takes it seriously. Acceptance and fulfillment is all Jack hopes for.
Back home, Jack dreams. He dreams that he is high in the sky, flying. His friends looks from the brown dirty patch of earth below and gazes in admiration. They want to be him; they admire him, Jack dreams. If he can fly, he can be a part of them- their friend. With that, the not so intelligent Jack starts work. He observes that birds have wings and beak, so using his talent he makes it. A yellow cardboard paper cone shaped beak and bright, silky yellow wings. In just an hour, Jack completes his flying gears without much difficulty.
“I want to fly, and I can fly!” Jack whispers to himself at the 33rd floor of his HDB flat. Jack looks at the sky and imagines himself there, flapping his golden wings, playing with the elegant clouds. He wants to wear one of those white suits too, the ones that the beautiful clouds wear.
Then, flapping his wings twice, he heads towards the sky.
But, he never made it.
P.S. took this photo during a video shoot early this year. it’s supposed to be funny though:)