The day was far from being bright and sunny. The clouds hung like a curtain over the sky and the winds howled with the pouring rain. The neighbors hummed along with it as they looked to their cross.
No, it was not a bright and sunny day.
I held the little boy’s hand because he was afraid of thunder as we waited in the dining room for his father.
“Mommy, why is daddy not here yet?” he asked nervous. He was always fond of daddy because he made the house feel safer.
I should know, that was how my dad made me feel every time he came home with groceries and tons of cookies.
I sighed and smiled at him “He’ll be here. He always goes home.” He looked sad for a moment but then I continued, “For the mean time, why don’t I tell you a story?”
His eyes suddenly widen with curiosity “What story?”
I got up and heated the kettle, thinking that good old hot chocolate might lighten the mood.
“Well, it can be about anything you like, but I like ones that have not yet been written.”
And so I told him a story, and the story went like this:
A time came when every man was an island. They were silent all the time as their islands drifted in space. This was the product of greed of their grandfathers, recklessly tearing their own planet apart. But all of them knew how to speak, because the words were still stuck in their heads wondering who to say it to. At first they were happy, but eventually the islands would be unbearable so they took off into space.
Two islands, a boy and a girl, came close to each other. Both of them used to have families.
The boy’s island was filled with trees, but he saw the girl immediately because hers had a single old one and a flower. The islands stopped moving. The girl shouted over to him, “What’s your name?”
And the boy said “Well, I don’t have one”
“I must have one, but I’ve forgotten, you see.”
And so, she gave him one.
Eventually the boy decided he was in love with her, so as she slept, he cut up all the trees on his island and built a bridge towards her. The girl woke up, she was surprised to see him sleeping next to her. Slowly she leaned onto him, smiling.
Tommy was starting to get sleepy now, I should have saved this one for a bed time story. But then the door opened abruptly and in came Alex with bags of food.
“Daddy!” Tommy rushed to him in a hug.
He mouthed “sorry” to me. I smiled and rolled my eyes as I went into the kitchen.
“Well, what are you two up to today?” Alex bent down to meet Tommy’s gaze.
“We,” I said, walking to him, “were kept worrying sick about you. That and storytelling”
The sky was getting dark and everything in the house lay warm from the outside, as the warm paint on the walls made things feel brighter.
This reminded me of my old house, before my father died. The man was so full of life that it shocked all of us when the time came.
Sometimes my dad and I would go outside and he would try to teach me basketball, which eventually I learned by the way, because he liked the sport. Typically, my father wanted a son, but he would always remind me that he didn’t regret a thing. I believe that.
“Hmm…” Alex wondered as he saw me staring into the plates which I laid out for dinner.
“Don’t ‘hmm…’ me, I thought you were used to it.”
“Yes, I am, but you never tell me what you’re thinking, which makes me wonder still. What were you thinking?”
I sighed, I appreciated that.
“It’s about dad again”
“You miss him, don’t you?”
“Yes, but the soup’s boiling. You better turn the stove off.” In the background was the burbling of cream against the inner steel of the pot.
It was all set.
“Tommy, let’s eat!” I called into his room.
We all sat down, it was strangely formal and yet it was the normal way things went.
“I passed over the highway this morning, there was an accident.”
Alex strained himself from saying everything, but I asked him anyway. “Who was it? Are they okay? Please tell me you weren’t involved.”
“I wasn’t involved. It was tragic. A family’s motorcycle was wrecked in the road. The kid looked dazed and a pregnant woman huddled in the arms of a man who was crying.”
“I just saw everything and the man refused to let go, which meant, you know—”
We all fell silent for a moment, until Tommy was done eating and left the table.
I got up and turned to hug him from behind.
“Stop thinking about it, you’re starting to make me feel bad, too”
He laughed under his breath “Let’s not buy a motorcycle, okay?”
I smiled at him, “But oh, no! I’ve always wanted one.” He sensed the sarcasm.
We went to bed after a movie. It was a Saturday so there was little work to be done.
He lay there staring at the ceiling. I could tell there was a lot on his mind. Now I know how he feels whenever he asks me about what I was thinking.
“Alex?” I looked at him.
“We’re going to be fine, aren’t we?”
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