John was an enigmatic sort of person. He was 4 1/2 years older and next in line with me. He was a risk taker, a little dark, unapproachable, impenetrable, and brilliant. He enjoyed his own company most times so I looked forward to when I was allowed access to his inner-sanctum.
His bedroom was collection of unusual and mysterious things. My recollection of his room always included a skull and crossbones upon entering, just above the door.
The events of one particular day best reveal his character. He might have been 14 years old then and I would have been 9 or 10. We were alone in his bedroom. His mischievous expression, always prelude to something unexpected, commanded my full attention as he opened his sock drawer and reached to the back for a little brown bottle. It was filled to only 1/4 capacity. John told me to be very careful and still as he placed the bottle in my hand. The weight was extraordinary. Grinning, he took it back, unscrewed the top and spilled the contents of the bottle onto the floor. It dispersed to all directions into the tiniest of little silver balls. Using a piece of cardboard John scrapped the floor coaxing one ball toward another. When the two made contact they instantly became one which he pushed toward the next until they formed one silver puddle. There was no trace left behind. John used the torn edge of another piece of cardboard to push the silver ball onto the first one. Then he curved the board with the mercury into a funnel shape and artfully poured it back into the little brown bottle and screwed the lid onto it. John beamed triumphant. I was speechless.
They would that you never realize your brilliance.
They would that you never live a day knowing your truth, your strength, your creativity.
They would break you into bits and pieces.
They would absorb these parts of you to become one with them…mercurial.
A great gust would take away what’s left of you…perhaps as far as a desert!
Your bones could bleach there under the heat of the sun.
With the stolen pieces they attempt to realize how you are but they can’t. They can only express a gross misinterpretation of your intention.
And in failing they feel contempt and loathing for ever having taken notice of you.
What a colossal waste of precious time! Will they ever come to realize the beauty and wonder residing within themselves?
It’s been said that each of us has one book inside, a story to tell. I wrote this one.
While struggling through a convergence of life-changing events and making little progress, I was suddenly presented with the most amazing gift. A childhood memory suddenly emerged. It seemed to have an urgency, pleasantly so, not at all like matters before me. I began to write. With every detail that I could recall, I was gifted another, until all of the shapes and colors were there within a my 50-page novelette.
It is a story from my childhood which took place in 1950’s on a farm in Virginia. As I wrote the words I felt warm and comforting support for a time that I spent with my grandparents, so very dear to me now. Until the time of writing, I was unaware of how much meaning that summer with my grandparent’s had brought to my life. And how impossible that it remained safe in my heart all along It was written with love and a deep and ever-growing appreciation for my family. It might well have been entitled , “The Gift”.
Here is an excerpt.
Two Little Girls
As far as I was concerned, summer began with the day my father installed the screens in the windows. Early that morning, Mother would have taken the summer sheers from storage to the clothesline in our backyard. By the afternoon, she swooped up the freshened bundle and brought them back indoors to hang on the rods at the tops of the windows. When the transformation was complete, I’d run from room to room to see the curtains flying on the breeze that raced in through the windows of our big old house. Like a magical invitation to adventures possible only with summer, when one day melted into the next and no one asked about the time, I felt that I could fly too and that anything could happen.
There were 5 children in my family. My brother Lionel was the oldest; my sister Cecilia was next, followed by my sister Rose, then my brother Isaac, and me. We spent summertime totally absorbed in keeping pace with our friends as was our Mother in keeping up with us. She mended our scraped knees, our bruised egos, and the holes in my brothers’ dungarees. I remember lemonade and tuna sandwiches, cotton sun dresses and hair ribbons; the pennies I collected for the corner candy store, and my ankle socks that never stayed up. Summers seemed much longer then when hopscotch and jump rope, hide-and-seek and tag, dress-up and make believe, with my bicycle, my dolls and friends filled the days until supper time. When August finally came around, among the five of us someone would be chosen to vacation with our grandparents in the country. It was in the year 1957 that I was to spend my first summer there.
I’d thought so often about my first trip to the farm. But like the landing of a cascading boulder, my mother’s cheerful delivery of this summer’s plan completely shattered my vision of it. Leaving little room for the way that reality alters things but similar to most events concerning “the children”, I was quite certain of my unvarying reverie. It was always the same. My brothers and sisters are running through a country field with me, very happily and as usual, following close behind. But everything had been arranged and I alone would spend two weeks on the farm that year.
My family had gathered in the living room when Mother made the announcement. But my frustrating lack of enthusiasm was like a call to dinner in emptying the room of everyone and I found myself alone, save for the dog. While I struggled with the concept of being on my own, Spiky jumped onto the couch next to me. Placing his head upon my foot he kept a concerned and watchful eye over my disposition until we both fell asleep.
Later that day, I listened to Dad’s recollections of farm life adventures while Mother prepared supper. As she filled in with the finer points and particulars she’d taken note of my mixed feelings with her knowing smile that always took the sharp edges off of things. “Don’t forget that your cousin Joanna is just about your age and lives close to Grandpa‘s”, she nearly whispered. Then I thought of the pocket inside the little green suitcase as the place where my Jacks would find a perfect fit.
~~~~~~~ Truth is Beauty is Love ~~~~~~
You are amazing. Create something beautiful today!