A Hole In The Sky

dusk SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“There’s a hole in the sky,” the child’s voice rose then hushed in part-fear, part-wonder.

“Indeed there is,” his father nodded.

The boy flicked his eyes away from the luminescent heavens just long enough to discern that his father wasn’t joking. He’d half-hoped his father would be, and his chest flooded with something like alarm when it did not seem that he was. What does it mean to have a rent in the ceiling of the universe? Would something fall through it? Would the world cave in like a shattered egg?

“Will it repair?” His voice was small.

The man put down the kindling he’d been arranging in preparation the evening’s fire. He straightened to a stand and leaned a heavy hand on the narrow shoulders of his son. Bird-like, the boy was. Fluttery and slight.

His youngest had always been a bit prone to the dramatic. The first to pick up on a change in atmosphere, the first to be reduced to tears, the first to wail at even the smallest prickling. Also the first to smile a welcome, the first to notice a green leaf peeking out of the frozen ground, the first to note the song of birds or a task well done.

He worried about such a skinless child, walking a life that did not always refrain from brushing far too crassly against tenderness. There were plenty of those who had repeatedly pressed him to be firmer with the youngster. To “toughen up the boy into a man” or “teach him how to grow a thicker skin.”

“How would I change the stripes upon a tiger?” he’d find himself replying. “Can I will a doe to become a lion?”

He could not bring himself to pain the boy as means to scar him into roughness. The child was made to be whomever he was made to be, and all a father could do was try to shepherd him toward maturity. Such as when taking the boy on this father-son hunting journey.

He squeezed his son’s shoulder and the boy raised a frightened face to meet his eyes.

“The sky will repair, Son,” he said, “though it may not go back to what it was before. For nothing can. It will move on — from day to night to cold to warmth to wind to storm. It will tear holes in clouds for sun to stream through. It will shred them to no shade. It will sew the threads together to again cover the sun. It is all as it is and all as it should become.”

The boy nodded. He swallowed down the tears that threatened, and tried to still the tremulous vibration of the world inside his mind.

“Now, as the sky does what it can,” the man handed his son a water-skin. “Let us do what we must. If you will fetch water, I will light the fire in tonight’s hearth.”

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

 

I’ll Be The Quiver

annie-spratt-t3IYuQZRDNE-unsplash

Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

I’ll be the quiver

For the arrows

You don’t yet know

How to hold.

I’ll guard the darts

The barbs

The jagged

Points,

Safe within the

Burnished leather

Of my years,

Till you grow enough

To be the quiver

For your own

Sharpened spears.

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: quiver

 

New Passage

Photo: © Renee Heath

 

It had been a long night. It will be a long day and night still.

The old man sighed and watched the spirits paint the sky.

The youth had spent the night secluded in silent contemplation. The elders had kept vigil not far from the tent.

Some elders frowned at the arrangement. “Right of passage should require complete solitude,” they’d argued. “How else will there be quietude enough to hear the whispers of the land?”

“Times had changed,” he’d stressed. “The current world requires the tent’s protection as well as our watchful eye. Surely the spirits, in their wisdom, understand.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Ten Day!

ten-from-etsy

Photo: Etsy

 

She’s turning ten TODAY!

No more single digits. A two-number age from now till the foreseeable horizon of life.

She’s excited.

She is giddy.

She is a tad hesitant about transferring into a group that possibly puts her in the same category with ‘old people’ like her Momma and Papa, or me, or even — gasp — her Nana, whom she loves but is oh-boy-so-very-old …

She is turning ten TODAY.

A birthday like none prior. No turning back now that she takes the one-way step into two-digit life.

She’s shiny-eyed.

Happy with a chance of maybe.

Her mother is a little teary. “She’s growing up. I’m glad and I am sad …”

She’s turning ten TODAY.

A cake with two handfuls of  candles. A dinner of her choice. A celebration. A row of little gifts. Perhaps one for every year.

She’s pleased.

She’s shy.

She is a little frightened.

“What if I don’t like being older?”

I smile at her sweet honesty.

Her mother sighs. “… Welcome to the club.”

Just Like Daddy

A boy, age 4, stating proudly: “When I grow up I’m going to be just like my daddy. I’m going to put ties on by my whole self and a suit and I’m going to have a (sic) iPad and two iPhones even three and be busy and go to work everyday …”

He pauses, and a little frown climbs up his young forehead … He takes a breath, and continues, a little less enthusiastically: “yeah, I’m going to go to work …”

He pauses again, reconsiders. Looks up at me, a tad concerned. “Can grownups go to work and … um … play?”

just like daddy

When I Grow Up

wings

“When I grow up, I will be a bird.”

The little girl is adamant. She has made up her mind. It is final. This is what she’ll be. She’s even wearing training-wings.

It lasts about a day.

“I’ll be a batgirl fire-fightress (sic),” she announces.

“Not a bird?”

A look that shows just how impossibly slow adults can get is followed by: “No, I won’t be a bird anymore. I will be a fire-fightress.”

She is deeply disappointed with me that I did not notice the colors of her clothing all in red and yellow or the swirly bracelet around her wrist that’s meant to be the hose. She’s completely done with birds and fully involved in counting fire-hydrants, yellow helmets at the dinner-table, and nighttime fire-drills.

The next time she comes she is in a tutu. I feel confident for all of five seconds that I know what she is now going to be when she grows. I should have known better. She sets me straight.

“Not a ballet dancer!” she intones dismissively, noting my apparent limitations in assessing the meaning of her chosen dress. “I’m going to be a fairy. Can’t you see this is a fairy skirt?”

She’s a skier the following week. A princess the one after. A “limpic” skateboarder (a la TV competitions she watched over the weekend). A zoo-keeper. A dentist (her mother crosses fingers for that one!).

For one moment she even considers being a speech-pathologist. Then she decides that she can do better and just use stickers and markers as the president, too. “I need them for signs so they will see me,” she lisps decidedly. “And for presents. Presidents need lots of presents because it is in their name.”

She considers a plumbing career (after their bathtub floods). Becomes a pianist when she spots a broken piano on the sidewalk and bangs a (thankfully) brief concert. She’s going to be an astronaut. A doctor, too (“to fix the aliens if they get sick and to give me medicine from tummy ache”).

There is a passing mention of a police officer or maybe a model, undecided who.

She’s a whirlwind of professions. One day she’s “for sure” one thing, and the next day for sure “not THAT!” but surely just the same another.

Her parents hold on tight and let her fly. Oh, yeah, there is a pilot era, too, complete with airplanes spinning in the park and an insistence on perching on the monkey-bars’ “top top one where pilots are.”

The jury’s out on what she’ll be when she grows up. What we know in almost certainty is that it could well be what she declared today, or yesterday, or in three different periods during the past week, or will introduce in full high drama sometime tomorrow or next month.

For now, she’s a rolodex of pure anticipation. Dress-up, here she comes!

dressup