The Wanderer

October 15, 2008
By Sydney Layton, Chandler, AZ

Long ago in a far away land lived a wanderer. He being and elderly man had ended his travels long before his mind was done dreaming of the spectacular sites he would have liked to see one day. Depression had overtaken this man many years ago when he was forced to stop his traveling due to a wicked illness. The man had cancer and it was slowly but surely ending his life. He was not a rich man in wealth but a billionaire in wisdom and knowledge. He had lost his family in a tragedy years back, this had contributed to the man’s passion of traveling. To get out and see the world and all the mystical wonders that lie there. Now he had no one to share his wisdom and knowledge with and no one to tell the tales of all his earlier travels. The man was letting go to the illness instead of fighting back.
The man had a small cottage next to a flowing river. It was peaceful there a nice quiet place to settle down, but the man did not want to settle down yet, he wanted to go on adventures. Discovering lost tombs or ancient artifacts or just seeing places. One day he lay in bed, doctor’s orders. He was day dreaming about the wonderful times he had been blessed with. As a tear trickled down his cheek a soft knock on the door broke his dream and brought him back to reality. He slowly got up from his bed wiping the tears from his cheeks. He shuffled over to the door and opened it. A small boy with sandy blonde hair, and dirty rosy red cheeks was standing on his doorstep.
The boy looked up at the man with his gleaming green eyes and asked “May I come in?” The man was surprised, the only person who ever came to visit, was the doctor and that visit was never pleasant. The man ushered the boy in and sat him at the table as he sat across from him. The man was very tired and wanted to get back to his day dream and out of reality. So he asked the boy to speak up and tell him what he wanted. So the boy looked at the old man again with his green eyes and said “My family and I just moved into the village a little ways away from your cottage sir.” “And I just thought that I would like to visit everyone.” The man looked concerned and asked the boy how old he was. The boy responded “I’m nine years old today!” he stated proudly.

The man asked the boy why he was alone and told him that it wasn’t safe going to stranger’s houses. The boy said “The doctor said that you were really nice and needed a friend.” “So I thought I would be your friend! Do you want to be my friend?” This once again surprised the man, but he nodded agreeing to be the boy’s friend. This put a huge grin on the boy’s face. Then the smile went away and he furrowed his eyebrows. The boy reached across the table and brushed a tear off the man’s face that he must have missed earlier. The boy looked at the water drop on his hand and then at the tear streak it had left on the old man’s face. He then asked “Why have you been crying Mr.?” The old man gently responded to the boy saying “I was just dreaming of my travels before you got here lad.” The boy nodded as if he had gotten the whole message of the old man’s life through those twelve words.
Then the boy got up from the table and went over to the old man. The boy picked up the old man’s hand and placed it over his heart and said “I promise I will be back tomorrow.” Then a huge grin crossed the boys face as he walked out into the cool fall air. The man was almost baffled as to what had happened and if it was even real. Nobody had ever taken such concern in him, especially a young lad. Murmuring to himself he stumbled back to bed and fell into his daydream once more.
The next day he found himself doing the same thing, wiping the tears that had slid down his face. Once again the knock on the door came. He opened it less surprised to see the boy, than he was surprised to see that the boy had remembered his promise and honored it. He welcomed the boy inside and this time has some hot chocolate waiting for him on the stove. They sat down and talked all day long. The boy once again suddenly stopped and reached across the table, wiping another tear from the man’s face. This time the boy said something else “Mr. I don’t like to see those tears on your face.” The man calmly looked at the boy and replied “They are not tears of sadness boy, they are tears of joy” “You don’t need to worry about me lad.”

The boy did not seem satisfied with his answer and so he said “Mr. every day I am going to come visit you.” The man nodded and said that he would like that. The boy then got up and took the old man’s hand again but this time pulling him and taking him outside. The man reluctantly followed. The boy pulled him close to a tree by his house and picked up a dead branch. The boy turned to the man, branch in hand and said “Mr. everyday I am going to come visit you, and when I wipe a tear from your cheek I am going to make a notch in this branch.” “Ok?” The man looked puzzled but nodded. The boy took the man back into the house and then left for home with the branch in his hand.
Month after month this went on. The boy would come visit, wipe a tear off the old man’s face, and then go home. A full year had passed now with this happening everyday. One day the boy did not show up and the man was worried that something had happened to his friend. Then a knock on the door came and the man felt relieved. Ever since the boy had been coming he felt as though he was getting stronger, all though the doctors tests contradicted the old man’s feelings, he didn’t care as long as he felt good he was ok. He moved to the door and opened it. The boy was standing on his doorstep with an ear to ear smile across his face, along with twenty or so others standing behind the boy. Then they all yelled in unison “Happy 75th Birthday!” The man was so taken back he stumbled a bit, but he looked at the boy again and he got a wide grin on his face as well.
They had a wonderful party for the old man. They had party games and cake and signing, but then they got to the presents. The old man opened each one looking at it with a smile but these things he wouldn’t be able to use for long. He would have to give them all away soon. Then he got to the last one. The boy handed it to the man and said “this one is from me.” The man looked with appreciation at the boy knowing the boy’s family wasn’t wealthy and probably had to scrap up some money to buy him a gift. So he looked at the long, slim, wrapped item he held in his hands and then ever so gently he unwrapped it.

He held it in his hands sobbing. The boy came over to the man and held him until the old man quieted down. The boy then whispered in his ear “Mr. everyday I am going to come visit you, and when I wipe a tear from your cheek I am going to make a notch in this branch.” “My father is a carpenter and so everyday for the past year we have worked on it and now it is a crafted, sanded, beautiful, walking stick.” The boy hugged the man tighter and talked again “Do you remember when I had asked you the first day I met you why you had been crying?” The old man nodded “You responded that you had been dreaming of your travels, so now you have a walking stick, go.” The man looked at the boy bewildered “I am sick lad, I can’t!” he said “The doctor got the result back from your last test.” The boy responded “You can go.” “Your on the mend, you can leave right now.”
The old man stood up and hugged the boy so tightly, but the boy didn’t mind and hugged him back just as hard. The old man whispered into the boy’s ear “Thank you lad, thank you for giving me my dreams back!” The boy nodded and pushed the man out the door “Good luck” the boy said. The man walked down the road a little ways and then turned around as the boy yelled “Will you write often?” The man looked back at the distant boy and his house and land and then replied “Mr. everyday I will write to you and everyday you see a tear drop on the paper make a notch in branch for me alright?” The boy nodded and watched the man walk to the end of the road and disappear.

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This article has 1 comment.

Sydney said...
on Dec. 2 2008 at 10:48 pm
Hey if you read this leave me a message! What did you think?! I'd appreciate it thanks!! -Sydney

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