Always tell those you love that you love them, don’t assume they know it. And, if they do, it is wonderful to hear!
I just listed this miniature dollhouse scale chest at Enchanticals on Etsy.
“A Little Tale”…
His old man was a loser.
He never became anything worthwhile…just an auto mechanic working for somebody else. He didn’t even own his own garage. All he did was spend his days working on rich peoples’ cars and then spend his free time researching his ancestry and going to these secret meetings.
As a father, the kid couldn’t complain. He always had time for him and tried so hard to be his friend. It was the kid who rebuffed him out of shame and disgust. He wanted a father who was rich, successful, and knew all the right people.
Instead, his old man just knew poor people that he sought out, worked to help, and fed on Holidays. I mean, can you believe that? He sought out poor people. Geeze, what kinda loser is that? Man, how lame can a guy get? That’s why they lived in a dump in a trailer park with other losers…people who were poor or just getting by.
He wanted a huge house, hot car, nice clothes, and really neat stuff. No, his old man had no aspirations to be anything else than what he was and had no desire for possessions of any kind. Shoot, their dishes must be 100 years old; all cracked and yellow.
The old guy never shared with him what those meetings he attended were all about and why he went to them and the kid never asked. He figured the loser just got together with other losers and played poker. His old man must really suck at it too, because, he never brought home any winnings. Another failure…
The kid never knew his mother. She died when he was one. He often thought that was a good thing so she didn’t see what a loser her husband became, she would not have to live in this dump, always on the verge of being broke because he gave money to those poor losers, and with no chance of escape. But, when he looked at pictures of his old man and his mother, when they got married or before, the old guy looked so happy and so did she. They looked so much in love. How could she love such a loser?
He decided at the tender age of ten that when he turned 17 years old, he was going to escape this hell hole and run away. He was going to change his name and make a new life for himself… a really good life from here and far from his loser old man.
Sadly, he knew and understood very little or nothing about his father and his life. If he had listened to what his father tried to share with him on several occasions; he might have a completely different opinion of him and not judge him on his superficial assumptions. But, he refused to listen and rebuffed the man who loved him more than life itself…with his whole heart and being.
It hurt his father deeply, right to his very core, when he saw the disgust in his son’s eyes or when his son screamed at him that he was a loser and deadbeat. It felt as if a knife was plunged deeply in his heat when his son, his beloved son, told him he hated him.
Every night, he prayed that before his time on this earth ended, his son would have a change of heart and they would become pals. Then, he could pass on to him all the important things about their heritage that his son should know…needed to know. He could then share the important secrets and mysteries he held tightly within himself with the hope that that his son would pick up his sword, so to speak, and continue the family legacy.
He was so lonely and ached so much for his son’s approval, love, affection, and acceptance. But, he feared his son would be lost to him forever. He could feel it in his heart. As much as he loved his son, he could not break his vows or the code of the organization to which he belonged just to win his son’s love. Plus, his son was too young yet to be told any of those secrets. He took a vow and he would not break it. He knew when he took the vow the costs that vow might cost him one day. But, he gave his word to stay silent and he did.
It was an unfair choice he had to make… break his vows and tell his son or hold to his word. He knew the consequences of breaking his vows and he knew this life’s path would be hard, painful, and challenging. He had to choose against his son. A Sacred vow cannot be broken.
As planned, when the kid turned 17 years old, when the old loser was out at one of his secret “meetings”, the son left their dump of a house and his loser old man and set out to become successful. But, like a coward, he left at night. When he left, he didn’t even look back; he kept his eyes forward and kept walking with his dreams, hopes, and aspirations, but no plan in place on how to achieve them…not even a high school degree.
The years went by and the boy became a man. After leaving home, life, he found, in the real world with nobody there to care about you, was hard, cold, lonely, and hungry. In truth, he was terrified. But, his pride prevented him from returning to the dump and loser. Without even a high school degree, the only jobs he could get were lowly manual labor ones, dishwashing ones, sweeping floors, or the like.
One night, very late, as he was sweeping the floor of a closed tavern in one of a series of lowly jobs he had held since leaving, he thought, “Man, this is lower than my old man’s job. At least he has a skill.” So, he drifted from job to job, slept where he could, and moved from town to town with no particular destination in mind. But, each new town was no different than the one before him…lowly jobs, no place to life,, not enough to eat, almost no money, loneliness, and shoes with no soles. So, he made a decision to join the Army. There he could get his high school degree and learn skills and become a general or something way high up. But, he would have food, shelter, clothes, and a bed.
After 10 years passed in the Army, he became a real man both in body and in mind. He looked back on how he treated his father and waves of pain and guilt overcame him. He was wrong, so so wrong. He had to make it right.
So, on his next leave, he headed back to his childhood home to see his father and apologize. He had written to him many times, but when the letters came back, he figured his father was still angry with him for leaving. “Who could blame him?” he thought. “What a jerk I was and how cruel and tough I was on my old man. I hope he lets me inside and accepts my apology.”
Sadly, the father would never see his son or know that he had tried to communicate with him over the years. He never knew his son wanted his forgiveness, which he would have given without a thought. When his son left that night, he came home to a dark house and he knew, just knew his son had run away and he would never see or speak with him again. His heart sank.
At first, he tried to lie himself it was only temporary and when his son got a taste of life alone and being unprepared, he would return. But, as the years passed, he knew he was gone forever.
This broke his heart and spirit. He lost the joy or desire to live. He lost interest in everything. Day by day he cared less and less about life and any part of it. He didn’t eat, sleep or even go to the meetings. Friends tried to help him, but he rebuffed them. He didn’t want to live without his son… even a son who was ashamed of him. So, one day, his mind decided he could no longer go on and his body got the message. He was diagnosed with a deadly cancer. He had six months, at the most, to live. Rather than wait for the end, lingering and in pain, one beautiful Spring Tuesday morning when the sun was shining and the birds were singing, he took his shotgun, put it in his mouth, and blew his brain out all over the lonely trailer.
When his son arrived at the trailer park, he started walking toward his father’s trailer. A guard in the owner’s trailer stopped him and asked who he was and what his business was. He told the guard who he was and who he was going to see. “So, you’re the son who left, hmm?” stated the guard. “Well, then go on through. I thinks ya know the way. But, you be surprised at how things change over tha years.” He gave the guard a look of both confusion and lack of understanding. The guard just smiled, turned, and went back into his boss’ trailer. But, before he closed the door, he said, “Whens ya is finished, stop by here. I gots something fer ya.”
He was numb. He just stood there staring at what was once his boyhood home. It was rusted, half standing, and a rusted broken down shell covered in weeds, vines, trash, and branches. He could see rodents running among the rubble. He started to weep. The pain of loss was so bad that he doubled over and fell to his knees sobbing. “What did I do?” Then he vomited. He was sick…heart sick. He would never get the chance to see his father and beg his forgiveness. He knew his father was dead. If he were alive, he would never have moved out of the trailer. He would have waited for him forever. Plus, his father always kept the trailer clean, maintained, and tidy. Flowers used to grow all around the outside. His old man was dead.
While on his knees and crying, he seemed to feel his father’s hand on his right shoulder. He looked up, but no one was there. But, he could feel him standing right next to him. He could hear, in his head, his old man telling him it was okay, he forgave him, and loved him still with all his heart. Weeping, he said out loud, “Dad, I am so so sorry. I was a stupid jerk of a kid. I always loved you. Forgive me.”
The feeling of a hand on his shoulder was no longer there, but he felt some peace, as he had had the chance to ask and receive forgiveness, as well as tell his father he loved him… something thing he never said to him when he was alive. He got up, wiped his nose with his handkerchief, and headed to the guard’s trailer.
The guard, seeing the swollen red eyes, dripping nose and sad face of the soldier, said noting. He just went inside and got what the father wanted his son boy to have. He handed him a thick large brown manila envelope with his name, in his father’s script, written on the front of it. He took it and walked away; head hung low and tears still pouring down his face.
He opened the envelope while sitting on an old bench in the town’s central woods. He read its contents and was filled with so many emotions, he thought he would burst. But, the thing that hit him like a train barreling down on him was what his father told him of his heritage.
His father was no loser...far from it. His father was a member of the ancient Order of the Knights Templar. He had taken a vow to care for the poor and to help those in need. He was mechanic so he would have time to uphold his vows. He was here in this life to help others, not to gain wealth and prosperity or to have expensive earthly possessions. He was here to do what his chosen life path had been… and he did. He was a hero. He helped so many and even sacrificed his relationship with the son he loved more than anything to keep his vows and try to make a difference in the lives of people who had nothing.
The letter also mentioned a chest which was waiting for him and where it was located. The letter said once he opened it everything would become clear. So, he rose from the bench and went in search of this chest that held the secrets and mysteries his father spoke of in the letter.
~ Marsha J. West, Author
(This “A Little Tale” by Marsha J. West may not be copied, reproduced, republished, edited, downloaded, displayed, modified, transmitted, licensed, transferred, sold, distributed or uploaded in any way without my written permission. My work does not belong to the public domain.)