Blank Canvas

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Emily a seven year old girl was born without the gift of sight. She wants an artists paint set with easel, paint and paint love...

Blank Canvas




Sharief Hendricks


Emily van Wyk was born blind seven years ago. She has no sight at all, yet her world is so colourful and bright that she does not feel as if her eyes do not work.

The only thing Emily wants to see is love.


“Yes, Emily, what is the matter?”

“Mommy, I want to ask you for something.”

“Oh, of course, my baby, what is it?” Asked Vivica, holding her breath in anticipation of another daring request by her daughter. Emily could not understand why she didn't have what children with eyesight had?

“Mommy, can I please have a paint set, please mommy?” Said Emily as she felt for her sandwich on her plate.

“A paint set, Emily?”

“Yes, Mommy, a real paint set, with an easel and everything.”

“Where did you hear about an easel, my baby?”

“I heard it from TV.”

“Well, young lady, did the TV tell you that a real paint set is not cheap, it's for an artist. By artist, I mean special people that can visualize something and then transfer it to canvas?” Said Vivica as she put the glass of juice into Emily’s hand.

“But I thought I was special mommy, you and Dada always tell me I am special, am I no longer special mommy?”

“No, my baby, mommy did not mean it that way.” Said Vivica with instant regret for her phrasing.

“Which way did you mean it, mommy, that I can't visualize or I can’t transfer to canvas?” Said Emily, with a cheeky smile on her face.

“Sorry I confused you, my baby,” said Vivica while trying not to let the lump in her throat expose how emotional she was. She thought back to when she met Emily's father, Duncan, for the first time at the Community Centre of the Arts. Painting, modern dancing, theatre and music, were taught there. Vivica and Duncan signed up for Art and Painting classes. Both were gifted artists. They even won a team painting competition where the one illustrated and decided on the colours while the other did the painting then they reversed their roles. Their portrait won the first prize that year. That was when they fell in love. They were both nineteen at the time.

Vivica remembered how happy she was when Emily was born and then how distraught she and Duncan were when they learned their daughter was born without the gift of sight and that she would remain that way for the rest of her life. Before she sank deeper into her sad memories, Emily rescued her.

“Mommy, can I ask you a question?”

“Yes, my baby, you may.”

“Why don’t you and Dada sleep in one room anymore?” She enquired as she felt for her juice then lifted it and took a sip.

Shocked and in need of a new topic to avoid answering Emily’s burning question, Vivica quickly came up with a way out.

“Ok young lady, you have convinced me, a paint set it is. Complete with easel and all the paint accessories you need.”

The warm smile that emitted from Emily's cheeks just pushed the tears that Vivica was holding back right out of her eye sockets. She had to quickly wipe it away before Emily caught on what was going on.

“Yippee!” When can I have it, Mommy?”

“Well, its Friday today so I am sure Dada won't mind getting it for you tomorrow, being a Saturday.”

“Oh, thank you, mommy.” She said as she stretched out her arms and opened them wide, in the direction of her mother’s voice.

When they embraced, Vivica thought of her husband and how heartbroken Duncan was about his daughter's condition and how it made him feel like a failure. He cursed the drinking habits that he felt might have contributed to his daughter’s burden. All the Specialists they booked Emily with told the new parents that Emily's blindness was nobody’s fault. There was nothing they could have done better or differently. Duncan came home at 2 am on the morning of Emily's third birthday. When Vivica questioned Duncan where he had been and why he smelled of liquor, instead of defending himself and going off on her as he did in the past, he just sat there with his head in his hands and started sobbing. Vivica had never seen Duncan cry before not even at his father's funeral. Then he asked her forgiveness. Then he told her why he was feeling that way. He went to buy Emily a birthday gift when it dawned on him while he was browsing in the toy shop that all the parents, were so excited about the same thing, as he heard many of them say,

“I can't wait for my child to see her gift.”

He explained to Vivica that only then did he understand the extent of Emily's challenge. She would never see. She won’t recognize him until the day she died. She won’t know what her father looked like as if he was never in her life.

That third birthday morning, she and Duncan just sat on the couch in a loving embrace. That was the furthest she allowed her mind to think back then she let go of the extra-long embrace she had Emily in. "Mommy and Dada love you very much pumpkin."

Saturday morning and Emily’s excitement got her out of bed early. She felt for the special-markings on the wall that helped her find her way to the bathroom. She quickly washed her face and brushed her teeth. The specially made indentations on the walls act like brail in a book for the blind as it guides her to her father’s bedroom.

“Knock-Knock!” She shouted at the door.

“Who is that at my door?” Asked Duncan in his best-animated voice, knowing its Emily.

“It's Picasso!” She said then opened the door. Duncan was a bit surprised and proud of Emily's answer.

“Good morning Em, how did you sleep my princess?”

“Oh, Dada I slept so lekker (nice), knowing today is the day I become an artist like Pablo Picasso."

“Wow, princess, who told you about Pablo Picasso and how do you know his first name?” Asked Duncan as he wiped the sleep from his face.

“TV told me.” She said.

Vivica made her way to Duncan's room after she heard voices.

“May I come in?” She asked as she peeked through the half-opened door.

“Good morning Vivica, please come in.”

“Emily told me that the TV told her about Pablo Picasso.”

Vivica sat on the edge of the bed next to Emily.

“TV told me, Mommy.” Said Emily as she put her tiny hands on her mother’s face.

Duncan looked at Vivica and said softly, “she needs to stop listening to the television Viv.”

“Dada, why don't you call mommy “Honey” anymore?” Asked Emily.

“Ok, Em, it is time to go and get your artist equipment,” Duncan said quickly in an attempt to change the subject and to avoid answering Emily's question.

Duncan got up and headed for the bathroom and left Vivica and Emily in his bedroom. He walked past Vivica's bedroom that used to be their bedroom. Duncan couldn’t help but look in through the door that was slightly ajar. His eyes instinctively fell on the space where Emily's cot used to stand next to his side of the bed, so he could give her bottle during the night so that Vivica could get some sleep. The warm sensation  Duncan felt in his chest was suddenly replaced by an icy reminder in his belly. Everything had changed. He sleeps alone now. He passed Emily’s room when his gaze fell on the bedside alarm clock radio branded with the Elsa character from “Frozen”, tuned to a radio station not familiar to him.

Good morning listeners, we have a full line up today, the Saturday Top 40 Hit Songs Countdown and then, of course, this afternoon, the return of the popular Relationship Segment with the Love Guru himself.” Duncan switched off the radio before the announcement finished.

Duncan and Vivica had not slept in the same bedroom for the past three years since Emily’s fourth birthday. The strain of yet another Emily birthday that her parents won't experience seeing the joy in their child’s eyes when she opened her gifts. Every birthday, the gifts Emily received had to be described to her and explained what they were. Emily could identify items such as dolls without much fuss. She would feel her way around it until she could make out what it was. Even though Duncan is a strong man, he took this particularly hard, and he started to distance himself from Vivica and from then they slowly but surely, began to drift apart.

Emily and Duncan got back home four hours later from art and paint shopping. Duncan wasted no time setting up the easel and white sheets of paper, paintbrushes, and tubes of paint for his excited daughter.

“So which colours did you buy for Emily Duncan?” Asked Vivica as she tried to hide the sadness in her voice.

“Well Viv, I didn’t, Em chose the colours. I know, I know, ok, it’s what she wanted. It hurts me too that she doesn’t know what colour is, but just go along with it, please, she is so excited.” Said Duncan.

Curiously Vivica asked Emily as she entered the kitchen still wearing her dark outside sunglasses, “so which colours did you ask for my baby?”

“Well, Mommy, I chose red and pink. TV told me they are the perfect colours to paint with.”

“Ok, Em Picasso I hope you are ready to start your masterpiece,” said Duncan, relieved that he still remembered how to set up a paint station.

“So, what are you going to paint?” Asked Duncan.

“I’m not gonna paint,” said Emily as she felt around the paint station for the brushes and when she found it, she held it up to her parents.

“You and mommy are going to be painting me, together,” said Emily, to her parent’s surprise. “How should I pose for you mommy and Dada?”

In the background, Emily’s “Frozen” alarm clock radio was playing softly in her bedroom.

It’s the weekly relationship segment, hosted by the Love Guru Tee-Vee! Good afternoon listeners, before we start today's show, I want to give a special “shout out” to the young girl that phoned in last week, Emily van Wyk. Her parent's love has faded in recent times, so Emily wishes to help them capture it again. We wish her luck on her mission as she uses my relationship advice to try and get her mommy and daddy to do an “activity” together. One that they both love and will hopefully help them to rekindle their love for the activity and also for each other.”

“What a bright little girl!"



The End


Submitted: May 31, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Sharief Hendricks. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Wow..... the last paragraph made my cry......

Love the love storys.????

Tue, June 2nd, 2020 5:44am


Than you so much...

That just encouraged me to post more love stories...most of my stories are I'm just polishing them up...then posting them...

I will now complete the few love stories I started but didn't finish....

Will post them soonest...

Thanx again Dloz !!!

Tue, June 2nd, 2020 12:40am

Sumit Kumar Arora

Heart touching story .

Mon, June 29th, 2020 11:13am


Aww ...thanx so much for commenting Sumit !

Thanx for reading means alot to me ....

Mon, June 29th, 2020 6:27am

Sue Harris

This is such a bitter sweet story, Sharief. So very emotional and beautifully written. The last paragraph really tugged at my heart strings. A very engrossing and memorable read, well done!

Tue, June 30th, 2020 7:41pm


Aww...thanx so much for that beautiful comment Sue....

I'm so pleased you enjoyed it ...

And I'm honoured that a writer with your excellent body of work read my story....

You just made my day....

Thanx soooooooo much !

Tue, June 30th, 2020 11:59pm

Keke Serene

I guess it's up to the audience whether she succeeds or not.

Thu, July 9th, 2020 10:05pm


Yes it is...

And I'm always positive so fingers crossed...

Thanx so much for the read and comment...much appreciated Keke !!

Thu, July 9th, 2020 3:43pm

LE. Berry

A touching family romance.

Mon, July 13th, 2020 7:20pm


Thanx so much L.E

Appreciate the comment !

Mon, July 13th, 2020 1:07pm

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