“You wouldn’t believe it if you haven’t seen it yourself, but he actually has a tooth in the middle of his head.”
Mom always told everyone that he was created by her illness. Mom had something called schizophrenia grandma said, and everything in mom’s world looked like a Picasso Painting.
The day he was born, was the first time in several years Magnus mother Mary Anne escaped being a prisoner in her own illness. He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, and as long as Magnus was by her side, everything was normal. Quite normal anyway, for the staff in the maternity ward shuddered when they saw Magnus.
Mary Anne told everyone that they just didn’t see beauty because their hearts were blind and because that mr Hatman had told Mary Anne that they were bewitched! She said -if you could really see my child, you would see he’s a beautiful little baby. Mary Anne didn’t care at all about what the staff said, she knew of sheer experience that things are not always as they seem.
Mary Anne’s world
In the “normal” world, everything is quite calm and the colors go from gray to rainbow-happy. In Mary Anne’s world all is more like an explosion of colors. Just as if the rainbow had gone crazy and literally shot everything out in a hysterical laugh, grey and calm do not exist . It’s the hysterical chaos Mary Anne really can not tolerate, or those annoying little figures mr Hatman called Jackass-berries or Jackleberries for short. The Jackleberries was talking nonstop to Mary Anne about things that were completely stupid and irritating. Sometimes they came to her in the morning and sometimes in the middle of the night.
When they came and mr Hatman was nearby, he would paint them over. Mr Hatman is a very small magician that with the help of his brushes can transform anything into anything! He says it is not a disease Mary Anne suffers, but that she against her will was embroiled by the witch Screams into the magical Kingdom of Tree! When she saw Mary Anne’s beauty for the very first time, she became so furious that she tore a hole in the veil between the two worlds.
Mary Anne didn’t to be honest, really believe everything she experienced and the diagnose was much easier for her to handle, than a world full of magic. She often think “this is my illness and I will make my deranged reality do what I want”. Mary Anne can sit on her bed sometimes, in the nursing home Misty Lantern and solve crossword puzzles or talk to grandma on phone, when suddenly the corners of the room get sucked into the middle, while slowly spinning. When this happens, she feel sick and hangs up, for all of a sudden, she is leaving earth.
If she is lucky mr Hatman waits for her when she enters the Dungeons of Tree, -you’re not even allowed into the Tree, mr Hatman said and bow deeply with his hat in his hand “welcome back my beautiful lady”! Then he gesticulates a with the hat toward the awful cages in deranged shapes and colors .
-I don’t want to be here, Mary Anne complain. Mr Hatman gives her a sad smile back, and goes whistling before her into all crazyness, and with his back against her, he holler -I KNOW! And from nowhere he takes his brushes in both hands and just paint away most of Mary Anne’s pain, so that everything looks more or less normal.
One day mr Hatman said -I think I know how you will get out of here for good! Sometimes mary Anne suspect mr Hatman was in the real world too but, she was afraid of that thought. It made her feel more sick!
In the dungeons everything became a mirror of reality thanks to mr Hatman! He made Mary Anne feel like “home” even though she wasn’t. The comfort in all crazy was that she knew she was sick. When the Jackleberries came, they had hundreds of questions! “Why doesn’t it rain on the moon? Can you drink water without urinating? If a train is going 300 km per hour, how is it possible to walk in the opposite direction then?”!
Mary Anne hated when they came. They were extremely unpleasant and very similar mosquitos, which drove her even more mad. The worst was when they came and she was visited by her doctor or a friend. They could sit on her shoulder and whisper all the questions or jump around on the bed, up and down babbling and babbling. She couldn’t make them go away and she was the only one who saw them.
Then it was Karon – the Snake Dragon made of stars and the dangerous forest …
Magnus goes to live with grandmother
For a few years mom and Magnus lived together in a nice little apartment in the middle of town, but when Magnus were to start school, he moved home to grandma. Mary Anne knew that she would become sick the same day he started school, and she would become too ill to be able to take care of him.
Fortunately the love was so strong in the Colin family, so moving home to grandma wasn’t bad at all, not even something weird worth considering, Magnus thought.
Grandma Fanny had also said the first time she saw Magnus, that he was the ugliest child she had ever seen. The thing is, it is not nice to say to anyone or about someone but, it is a part of the spell and the impulse can not be controlled. After a few hours with the child in her arms, he became the most beautiful baby, to grandma too. It was the grandmother who told the tale of how he was born.
“Before Mary Anne became ill, she was like any other young woman at all. She was working at the convenience store outside their city. Every morning she took the bus to work and in the evening she went home again. Mary Anne was very beautiful and it didn’t take long before a young man called Tommy fell head over heels in love with her. She also fell in love, really much in love, very deeply so.
However, sometimes she thought that it was something strange about Tommy and how they met, for some reason she could never remember their first meeting. She told grandma, she asked Tommy and he answered but a few minutes later, she forgot again? Mary Anne’s doctor explained that memory failure could be a part of the diagnose.
A few after Mary Anne met Tommy, she began to hear voices. Finally it got so bad that she couldn’t distinguish between what was happening in her head and reality. Mary Anne’s doctor was a good old man and he had a fascination about Schizophrenia. He told Mary Anne that he would never give up trying to help her and he didn’t. As a good psychiatrist he prescribed various medications to her all the time, in hope that one of the pills would help, they didn’t.
The drugs made Mary Annes illness worse and when she became too sick, she thought that everything around her melted and became distorted. She became depressed and tried to “tap” away delusions but eventually she enrolled herself to the Misty Lantern, home for the mentally ill. Be that as it may seem, Mary Anne felt much safer at Misty than at home and Tommy just mysteriously disappeared! The neighbours said he left the city with a broken heart.
When Mary Anne turned 30 years old, she told me, grandma said, that a strange small man had appeared in her distorted world. Mary Anne had also began painting at Misty’s and painted everything she saw when reality disappeared. It ended up in hundreds of drawings, taped on her walls. I thought, grandma said, it looked like a story from a fairytale gone a little bit weird. -Then you see Magnus, the odd little man popped up! He was no bigger than a plum Mary Anne told us and had a unacceptably large hat. In his hand he always had at least one paintbrush and he painted everywhere, but not on paper!
Mary Anne told me one day that the little man had painted a beautiful child to her, that would, when the time came, bring Mary Anne back to us. -“From outside in to inside out”! Mary Annes doctor laughed when grandma told him and chuckled “great, when that day come, I’ll put a nice ribbon around all my psychology books and retire”!
The little man told Mary Anne that before she could return, reality had to take part of her world and when it forgot what had been seen, it would see what was forgotten. It was, grandmother said, a very exciting story. But, lo and behold! After a few months, Mary Anne’s stomach began to grow and an ultrasound confirmed that in it, a wriggling baby was sucking its thumb.
There was an outcry in the hospital. Everyone was worried and wondered who the father could be. -It is, you see Magnus, grandma said, not good if mom had a relationship with someone she did not know about in the hospital and that person would surely not be such a good person.
-But who was it that made mom pregnant? Magnus asked, -who is my father?
-Well, grandma said, this is the strange thing, we still don’t know! When you were born, blood samples was taken from you and everyone that worked in the hospital, or just willingly wanted to help your mother. -Even the old Bert in the kitchen who prepares all amazing dishes, let the good doctor try him, grandma laughs!
It was pretty tense amongst everyone before the results came, but, no one was dad, grandma said. Mom told us “of course not you silly people, this baby are created with the most beautiful colors in the world, and it was mr Hatman that painted him”!
Magnus liked the story very much!
Before Magnus moved back with grandma, his mom gave him a checkered small suitcase. It had a blue foundation and red and green lines over it, in the fabric making small squares. Mary Anne told Magnus that inside the suitcase he will find “pencils and crayons and brushes and paper and erasers and anything else you might need to become a great artist! -Each time you feel lonely or someone calls you ugly, take some paper up and draw something beautiful. -I learned that when you were born. -Everything we create is beautiful and when we really see the magic, she stressed, life will change”.
Magnus loved to draw and everything he painted looked so life like. After a few years everyone became speechless who saw his paintings. The small plaid suitcase followed him everywhere, even as he soon would turn 15 years old. He was just to start ninth grade in a new school but it was clear, was clear, he would not hold it in his hand anymore. He tied a pair of straps around it and threw it as a small backpack over the shoulder.
First day of the new school
First day of school he knew was going to be like all the other times he met new people. They would stare, drop their chin and say “oops, sorry, but my God you’re ugly!” No one knew how charming Magnus really was or how incredibly self-confident. But, isn’t it always this way when we meet new people? So much pre assumptions. Magnus walk proudly, with his little bag on his back through the corridor where three girls are sitting and studying mathematics outside their classroom. When they see him, they become completely silent! One of the girls hollers to Magnus: “Hey you! New boy! -Do you have a tooth in your head”?
Magnus turn around and see three girls in his age, “Linda, Lena and Mathilda” and they stare terrified back at him, -oh my God! Mathilda says, who always walk around with a baseball cap indoors and start yawning. Linda writes something on a piece of paper that she crumples together and throw at Magnus. Magnus takes the piece of crumpled paper from the floor and unfold it. He smile back at them, in the most charming way he can and with that honest, beautiful smile he cause Lena to throw herself back on the bench she is sitting on, and yell “God, he will sneeze”! Magnus giggles shortly while he look at the paper and answer Linda, -Thanks for the compliment, you are handsome too!
The girls looked surprised at their dark haired friend, -you did what? they said in chorus, -you wrote that he was fine looking? Linda blushes, -No!, I certainly did not. -I wrote that he was the ugliest boy I have ever seen! Magnus take a new look at the note again and smile so big, that the girls think he’s in cramp or will maybe explode.
The mouth was way too wide and when he smiled, he showed all big square teeth in the same time. The watery blue eyes stood out as a couple goldfish bowls, the nose looked like a lumpy potato and over it a pair of black glasses were hanging. On top of this, his hair was orange and in the middle a tooth like hump stood out!
Moreover, this day he was also soaking wet, because of the never ending autumn rain. Magnus shook his head, -no indeed, he says, -it is quite clear that you think I’m fine and you even sealed it with your name! Linda jumps from the bench and moves aggressively toward him, but holds herself from coming too close. -Give me the note and I’ll prove you’re lying, she hisses angrily!
Magnus take his backpack suitcase off and bring out a pencil. He tears a piece of paper and write “I think you’re so fine! Hug Linda “. Then he gives the new note to Matilda with her cap and she show it to both Linda and Lena. Whatever opinion they had about his looks, they could not help but to be impressed by his great-looking handwriting. This makes Linda even more Embarrassed. -Give me the real note she yells! -That’s not even my handwriting!
Magnus shrug -of course you’ll get it back, I was just guessing you wanted your true feelings to be a secret? – I mean, my looks seem to be a sensitive point to you! Magnus reached out to give Linda her note. -C’mon take It, he says!
Reluctantly Linda touches Magnus hand and take her note back. She checked that it was the same as the paper from her math notebook. Without turning away from Magnus, who still was grimacing very strange toward Linda, she gives the note to her girlfriends. -Read it for yourself, she says firmly. She can hear how they start giggling behind her and so she turns around to ask, -what?
Matilda gives the note back to Linda who reads: “I think you’re so fine! Hug Linda “! This was in fact her own handwriting from her own notebook. Linda felt so ashamed, so embarrassed, so confused that she did not know how to react. Instead, she gathered her books and ran off all blushed down the corridor.
Magnus shrugs again! -You can tell her that my name is Magnus, he says and winks his eye to the girls. A little bit distracted, he turns around and continue walking to his new classroom again. Matilda can’t help herself and calls back at him -hey you! -“A-tooth-in-the-head-Magnus”, we will tell her that”! Then they broke out laughing!
Matilda is a bit of a troublemaker and couldn’t resist running up beside Magnus.
-Magnus, It would be best if someone could properly introduce you before you go into your new class, she says. Magnus shine up a bit. She opens the door to the classes surprise and bows deeply: -Let me introduce to you “A-tooth-in-the-head-Magnus” she exclaims, laughing until she almost loses her breath. Behind her Magnus still smiled and bowed back -thank you so much, he says, and was seemingly unconcerned over Matildas nasty presentation.
If truth was to be told, he was so used to bad behaviour because of his looks, that it numbed him. Still he really didn’t care either because he carried such good self esteem, really he thought nothing of this at all! On the contrary he figured, how many people got this much attention for free? He knew that soon they would be gaping instead and all vicious taunts would turn into lovesick girls and utterly impressed guys. Magnus passes by Matilda and walks proudly up to the teacher, just as she was about to hand out assessments. Stammering she also tries to introduce him to class -“A tooth mi … I mean … Magnus Colin”.
Magnus smiles incredibly scary to miss Andersen and take the chalk out of her hand, -I’ll borrow the rest of crayons too, he says! -Miss Andersen, I will help you introduce me! He walks up to the chalkboard and first Magnus draws his beautiful mother, the grandma, then his former school and finally himself. Over each person, he writes their name. As he are standing with his back to the class, he can’t see the new classmates alter their facial expressions when he draws, or how they get all blown away by his art. But… Miss Andersen says and stops for a second, -that is the most beautiful art I have ever seen? But… Miss Andersen sound a little concerned, – may I ask, do you see yourself like this?
Magnus had drawn his self-portrait as a young man with thick brown, back-combed hair, bright blue eyes and a seductive pouting mouth. He had drawn himself looking like a model on the front page of a novel.
Magnus put the crayons down and says while he turns around -don’t you all?