Pencils

Charles Litvin sat in the Human Resources Managers office waiting for his exit interview. His resignation had caused a stir amongst his company’s hierarchy and they wanted answers

He had been working in accountancy since leaving university and had been a company man for the past twenty five years. He was five years away from retirement and a generous pension but had suddenly decided to throw this all away to pursue a long held dream

He had never wanted to be an accountant but his parents had put pressure upon him to get a ‘proper job’ not to pursue ‘pipe dreams’. Friends said they he should look for ‘long term stability’ and think about his ‘career path’ rather than do something that had no guarantees

‘You don’t find many rich artists but there’s plenty of accountants doing well for themselves’ his brothers and sisters would tell him over and over again

Charles Litvin had always wanted to be an artist from that first day in school. The beautiful Miss Coffee had placed some pencils in front of him and instructed him to ‘Draw me a picture little man’

From that day that was what he did. Everyday he would grab his pencils and draw pictures; animals, dinosaurs, cars, planes, people and anything that took his imagination. As he got older the drawings became better and his teachers always encouraged him to keep going. His parents however were not so keen ‘Concentrate on the important subjects because It’s maths that counts’ were their warnings

The young Charles was a diligent student who wanted to make his parents proud so although he carried on drawing it began to be put on the back burner for longer and longer periods until by the time he was ready to go to university he barely picked up a pencil. Art gave way to accountancy and figures took the place of figure drawing

The itch was always there in the background and he would often daydream about that moment when he was first given those pencils. The sheer joy that he got from putting his ideas, thoughts and dreams onto the page still made him smile. Sometimes he would pick up a pad and pencil but here were always over demands on a grown man’s time so it never amounted to much more than a few doodles. But still the itch remained, barely perceivable but still there in the background

A life of quiet despair seemed to be the way most of his colleagues lived their lives, full of unfulfilled dreams that they had given up on. For Charles Litvin, however, the itch began to grow stronger with each passing year. The desire to scratch it just would not go away and rather than ignore it he woke up one day and knew just what he needed to do to get some relief from it

The results of his drastic action led him to this point, sitting in front of his Manager and the Head of HR who wanted answers. His Manager leaned forward and started the exit interview

‘Now Charles old boy we want to know what this is all about. What is it that you really want?’

Charles Litvin stood up, smiled and picked up his briefcase. ‘I just want my pencils back’ he said as he walked out of the office, never to return