Father Nature

March 29, 2010
By Jesse.S BRONZE, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Jesse.S BRONZE, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

He was in his private place now, at the bottom of the hill. His house was at a distance barely visible to the naked eye, almost undetectable to those who did not know of its existence. The adolescent boy stared nostalgically at the contents of a large cardboard box filled with gloves and boots, balls and mitts, items that were far too sacred to give away, even though they hadn’t been used in years. They reminded him of cold winter afternoons making snow angels, and scorching hot summer mornings playing catch. These objects, reminiscent of the youthful innocence he once possessed, laid heavy within his heart, penetrating his most precious thoughts and secret ponderings: the boy’s mother and brother, the family to which he had once belonged.

He took another swig of the bourbon, the liquid spread through his body like an insidious disease, destroying all loneliness and pain. The boy’s father, his only living relative, took the form of a mere caretaker, obligated by what the boy felt was only a biological bond, and nothing more. And so, the boy’s life was devoid of punishment and boundaries, resulting in a mind capable of acting in any reckless way it pleased. There was no one to stop him. Drunken car crashes, rowdy parties, failed tests, and cool, hard, pointed disrespect — it was never met with reprimand. Too depressed, or maybe just too tired, the boy’s father endowed an unfaltering trust upon his son. Though this trust allowed for frivolous behavior without consequence, and indeed seemed enviable to all his friends, it slowly gnawed at the boy’s already wounded, mourning soul.

This unrestricted, unlimited freedom was holding the boy prisoner. His friends had to follow to rules and laws, the governments of their households. They were instilled with a sense of fear and responsibility; they arranged their lifestyles around consequences foreign to the boy’s self-ruling existence. The boy felt cast out from his friends, as if his unconventional upbringing was so outside of what society defined as proper that he became an alien shunned by his own world. The monotony of his daredevil existence was no longer exciting or craved for, but soon became a burden so forceful within the boy’s psyche he could think of nothing else. He became clouded by an inner turmoil that he himself had erected as a result of his father’s passivity. He could only be vivified through punishment, through a reprimanding hand that would condone his detestable behaviors and admonish his guilt. He yearned to taste his own blood, dripping from a blow he knew he deserved. Longing for the limits his peers so detested, the boy pleaded to the tempestuous sky for the justice his father could not provide.
Rain, as if each droplet were a stream of the boy’s consciousness, slowly dripped down his skin. Lightening struck the forest into existence, brightening the woodland for only the boy to see. The forest’s branches were swaying in a ferocious wind, whispering seductively to the boy, beckoning him to enter their sinister haven. The boy began to run, not looking back, not regretting. He was a boy of the forest now, and all of humanity was but a distant glimpse in the corner of his eye. With toes sinking into the wet, fresh dirt, he sprinted past tree trunk after tree trunk, cutting the wind, rapidly exhaling the pain of his past. Branches cut into his thighs and arms — deep and thrilling. Brown with dirt and red with blood, Adam was no longer a boy, but an animal of the night.

Away from the anguish of his civilized existence, the beast felt at peace.

The author's comments:
Inspired by the Romantic writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, I wrote this short story to connect teenage angst with the ultimate powers of nature.

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