Kayla Pongrac

Creatures of the Past


I stumbled upon the break-up plan while babysitting my little cousin. When Madeline tired of making her Barbie dolls kiss, she brought a coloring book into the living room. As soon as Madeline and I sat on the carpet and started coloring, it hit me: I should draw Drew a picture. I should break up with him the way in which Madeline would break up with her boyfriend (I mean, if she had one).

“Maddy, do you have any paper around here?”


“No, I mean . . . do your mommy and daddy buy paper that you can draw on sometimes?”

“Paper! Paper! Paper!”

Okay, so the conversation wasn’t going as well as I had wanted it to, so I decided to try to find the paper myself. I spotted a sketchbook near Maddy’s volcano of a toy chest and quickly ripped a piece of paper from the binding.

“What’s you doin’?” Maddy asked as I began drawing two stick figures.

“Oh, I’m just drawing a picture for my friend.”

“Are’s that chu?” she asked, pointing to the stick figure on the left. The one with the little fuzzies on top of his head. Otherwise known as Drew.

“No, this one is me, Maddy,” I said, drawing the last few centimeters of my legs.

“Woah, you skinny!”

Right when I was about to draw my first word bubble, Maddy grabbed her Barney-colored purple crayon and drew a huge diagonal line that went through both of my stick figures.

Wow. That was it: all I needed to do was draw a circle and I was on my way to creating one of those diagonal-line-through-the-item warning signs. In this case, it was a break-up sign.

“Look at you, Maddy! You’re such a great artist, thinking outside of the box like that!” I said as I made my red circle as bold as possible.

Meanwhile, Maddy was working on a new drawing of her own.

“What are those?”

“Dinosaurs! Rawr!”

Maddy lifted her hand and piloted a lime green crayon around above her head. I watched it rise and fall in altitude before turning my attention to Maddy’s face—her soft skin, her blue eyes—her innocence made me wish that I was a little girl again. A little girl without boy problems. A little girl who treated crayons as toy airplanes and spent her evenings drawing creatures of the past.

I looked down at my drawing and there they were: my two stick figures, just standing there, looking dumb and naked and so annoyingly clueless.

“You missin’ smiles,” Maddy said.

“Can I borrow a black crayon?”

I drew the smiles—one for me and one for Drew. Then I folded my drawing into a pocket-sized square and wrote, “We’ll both be happier this way.”

When I returned home later that night, I hung the drawing Maddy gave me on my fridge and selfishly wondered if Drew would soon do the same.




Kayla Pongrac is an avid writer, reader, tea drinker, and vinyl record spinner. When she’s not writing creatively, she’s writing professionally—for two newspapers and a few magazines in her hometown of Johnstown, PA. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit www.kaylapongrac.com or follow her on Twitter @KP_the_Promisee.