TJ stared at the blank sheet of paper in front of him and forced himself to refrain from ripping it to pieces in frustration. He tapped the drawing pencil in his hand against the edge of the easel, trying to get the idea in his head to manifest into an image he could put on the canvas.
It started to take form, albeit slowly. He lifted the pencil and started to draw, closing his eyes every few seconds to see it more clearly.
The outline finished, TJ moved in to shade and define with color. The man on the canvas was starting to look good, he saw, much to his satisfaction. His urban line of clothing hadn’t been doing well, according to the NY Associates, but this design he had seen in a dream the night before would blow them away, he was sure.
The gold-on-black design of the hoodie gave the man in his drawing a stylish and slightly high fashion look. The baggy, navy blue jeans were artfully torn in places to contrast the chic quality of the hoodie.
His cell-phone started playing the first notes of Look at Me.
“Yo, Kyle, what’s up? I’m in the middle of somethin’.”
His best friend had followed him into the design business and was actually his partner.
“Hey, TJ. I’m sorry to bother you, but this couldn’t wait.” His tone was subdued, and TJ was immediately attentive.
“What’s the problem, bro?”
“They’re dropping our contract, TJ. They found someone else to design for the fall selection.”
TJ felt numb. Distantly, he heard his colored pencil hit the tile floor after it slid through his limp fingers.
“They did. You should have a notice in the mail. I wanted you to hear it from a person, though, not a piece of paper. We’ll find another company to hire us, TJ. Don’t worry.” Kyle hung up.
TJ stared blankly at the design in front of him, wondering how he was going to pay the rent for his New York flat next month without a steady income. He got off the stool and walked over to the window where he could see the view of the skyline. He was going to miss having an apartment.
The sound of muffled thuds hitting the floor followed by the clatter of a falling easel caught his attention. He spun around, his hand moving toward the pocket knife he always kept handy in case of emergencies. It took the man a few moments to realize what he was looking at.
The man in the drawing was still there, but the clothes TJ had designed had fallen off and onto the floor, causing the easel to fall with them. Gold thread glittered against the black fabric, and artfully torn blue jeans poked out from under the large hoodie. The designer stooped down to pick up what had once been a drawing on paper.
The cloth was just as he had imagined it would be when he had put pencil to paper. The design was perfect. Looking at the hoodie in his hands and feeling the texture, TJ started to grin. Laughter bubbled in his chest, forcing its way out of his mouth with wild abandon.
“TJ’s back, baby!” he shouted. The image of a penthouse condo filled his mind at the thought of how much money he would soon be making with his designs. He and Kyle wouldn’t have to grovel for every clothing company for pennies anymore. Life was about to get really awesome.
A special thanks to TJ for his exuberance and willingness to share his dreams and ideas with me.