I have tried to be somewhat blind, When my flaws are too visible, And look for the good in the bygone ages, But, My days see no good, They go by like skiffs of rain, The stars of its dawn are dark, The soles of my feet are pinned to the ground, A step too hard to come by, My days are barren, But my ear receives a whisper of a bird song, A cracking of seeds, In spite of my troubled existence, tulips fall on the grass of the earth, In spite of my troubled existence, the air is filled with the scent of water, I must arise and live, One day at a time, For in spite of my troubled existence, the earth still lives.
The woods were filled with resounding laughter as Barry playfully pursued his son. The tall trees provided perfect hiding spots for Dylan and made the game even more interesting. The sound of cracking dry leaves beneath Dylan’s heavy boots sold him out as Barry traced it every time. The sun was crimson against the white sky. The yellow blossoms were all dabbled with crimson. There was warmth and a friendliness that exuded comfort. The duo was used to the silence of the woods, the peacefulness especially after Dylan’s mother passed on during child birth thirteen years ago. She was the fun one, the most playful between the two. The silence consumed all that it touched and made Barry miss his wife all the more.
Sometimes, Barry would sit outside the house on a finely finished log staring at her grave for hours. He missed her. They were close. The chemistry between them redefined love and family. Although she died too soon, she had left him with the best gift ever- Dylan. Tucking his chin against his chest, Barry let the long hands of the evening sun caress his face, his shoulders hunched and his knees pressed together.
The forest begun to hug darkness close and soon, Dylan would be home from school, hungry and exhausted from the long arduous trek. Barry rose from the log, gathered some firewood and headed to the house. He elbowed the door handle and with a loud screeching sound, the door pushed open. Barry’s father had lived in that house and his grandfather before him. The house was like an heirloom, old, sentimental and always in the family.
Dylan’s white coat reflected the moonlight a few paces from the door. He had his hands buried deep in his side pockets and a scurf wounded two times around his neck with its length dropping down to his knees. He opened the door, hooked his coat just by the door and headed to the dining room as was his habit. Soon after, the smell of fried steak filled the air, signaling that dinner was ready. Dylan took out two plates from the kitchen shelf and a couple of cutlery and set them on the table. Barry sat opposite Dylan at the table, served the food, said a thanksgiving prayer and they all dived in. Midway dinner, Barry stole glances his son’s direction his eyes slowly watering as though the moment was too painful. His son didn’t deserve what he was about to tell him, he was happy with his school and him living in the woods and remembering his mother everyday was perfect. Moreover, Dylan enjoyed his steak and he didn’t want to change that. He, however, had to tell him that night. “Dylan.. Dy.. lan,” he hesitated then silence creeped in again. “Are you enjoying your meal,” Barry forced a question out to diffuse the awkwardness of the silence which was met with a swift answer from Dylan who was unsuspecting of the situation. Barry couldn’t bring himself to share the news with his son. It was certainly not the moment.
To be continued in the next post.
Dinner was soon over and Barry couldn’t escape from his own mind. How will he tell his son that they soon would kiss goodbye all the memories of their home? His wife had been buried there and each year they would plant a tree to mark the number of years that had gone by. The past thirteen years were beautiful, winter came and summer came and memories were made. He had to muster the courage because soon he would be required to report to work.
Barry had quit his job after loosing his wife to look after his son. He weaned him and saw him grow with a striking resemblance to his mother. He often reminded him of her. Now, Barry had applied for a job with a technology company located miles away from the woods and he had just received a letter that required him to start in a week. He had missed working with computers and everything about technology and wouldn’t miss the opportunity for the world.
He has to move soon since he cannot commit to and from work on a daily basis. The news is big but also weighs down on him. Sweet and bitter. He thinks about Dylan having to leave his friends from school and the struggle of joining a new school and finding new friends. “Goodnight daddy,” the small soprano pierced through the air bringing Barry out of his world of thoughts and he responded casually. Dylan packed up his school stuff and headed to his room. He too went to sleep after deciding that he will break the news Friday morning then move out on Saturday evening.
The morning wind whistled gently. Both Barry and Dylan were up and ready for the days work. As usual, they said thanksgiving prayer for the blessings bestowed unto them and then made breakfast together. They made bacon and bread and ate them with tea. Now, the moment was here. He slowly moved to where Dylan was his finger scratching the tip of his nose and lowered himself to Dylan’s level. “I have to tell you something,” he said and a moment of silence consumed the living room. “What daddy?” Dylan asked. “We are moving out tomorrow evening,” Dylan dropped his bag with a thud as the news hit him. “No daddy no, we have a good life here why are we moving…..you said tomorrow?….. you didn’t even give me time to think through this.. I won’t leave my friends.”Dylan complained. Barry expected a reaction but not close to what he had just seen. The news saddened his son. He was not ready to abandon the things he had invested in in the woods and at school. “Must we move?” Dylan asked with a tiny sad voice leaving his father out of breath. They had to move and he apologized to his son as he forced the dreary ‘yes’ down his throat.
Dylan spent most of his day at school alone and thinking. His friends tried to cheer him up with no success. When the afternoon bell rang, Dylan knew he had to say goodbye to his friends and to tell them how much he would miss them after he left. He called them to one of the green benches just outside his classroom and shared the news with. Of course, none of them was pleased with what Dylan had to tell them. They all were sad.
On Saturday, dawn was devoid of a birdsong. Dylan was reluctant to leave his home but his father was determined to. Dylan was dressed in his insulated puffer coat that was gifted to him by his uncle on his 12th birthday to keep warm. As noon was approaching, Barry called out to Dylan to help with packing. Dylan, surprisingly, answered to the call cheerfully as if all that had happened was a dream he had woken up from. No one understood his mood. They took everything out of their closets and folded them nicely ready to be put in boxes. Just by the small door of the spandrel where Barry was going to take out boxes, bubble wraps, tape, stickers and marker pens for packing, was a letter bold and screaming with bright writings. No one could have missed it. Up the stairs, Dylan had a smile plastered in his face, like he had won a victory of sorts. Barry picked up the letter which read;
“If you should find this letter, then probably we are leaving because this would mean that we are taking out moving out kits, remember this before we go;
Remember the white snow by winter,
The orange afternoons by summer,
The hide and seek by evening,
Remember the beauty of the woods,
Remember the tranquility,
Remember the friends we would die for,
Yet if we should forget all these,
Move and force them to fade away,
Then better by far that we should forget and forever not talk about them,
Than that we should and long to be with them again,
Only that they will be out of reach.
Barry couldn’t hold back the tear that rolled down his cheek. On the other hand, Dylan couldn’t hide the big smile that revealed his white set, finally his father understood him. As Barry saw his son run down the stairs, he opened his arms and embraced him. “Forever with the memories,” Barry whispered as he wiped a tear off his cheek and they both laughed, echo reflecting, just like old times.
The society proposed the tall and dark, But I found a tall and light, Irresistible, charming, Caring, considerate, Maybe a bit more of each, We went for long walks down the river, He valued the little things, My mama proposed one from my tribe, But I found one outside, Cute, tall and dark Just like the society said he should be, But not from my tribe, My papa, Brimful with unspoken sympathy Proposed my happiness first, But he faces opposition, The society wins everytime, My friend says the intelligent and fashionable, But he is ill mannered, He doesn’t want anything long-lasting, The church said God-loving, Specifically one that doesn’t smoke or drink, He tells me he is a Christian, But he has a couple of stained wine glasses, Systematically arranged by his bed side, But I didn’t get to have a say, I didn’t get to choose, I didn’t get to tick my dream boy list, I might have found someone, Someone getting a 4 over 5 of my list, But I don’t have a say.