Breaking Rain

July 12, 2009
Gently carving the soft curve of its back, slowly moving the knife back and forth, back and forth, taking off but a millimeter of wood each time, trying to get it just perfect, and unwilling to accept anything less. The monotonous, lulling sound of the smooth movement, back and forth, keeping the rhythm going. Hours and hours he sits there, patiently creating his work of art, slowly shaping it, millimeter by millimeter.

The smooth arch of it’s neck, the soft twist of its tail, the dent of its chest, the perfectly rounded legs, the sharp nose curving outwards with the ears, small and delicate on either side of the head. Slowly, the wooden giraffe begins to take shape, as bit by bit, it’s hard outer crust is ever so carefully removed to reveal the beautiful sculpture hiding within. And there Jabu sits, hour after hour, searching for the animal hiding inside.

His throat aches and cries out for a sip of water but he ignores it, pushes it to the back of his mind as he continues to work. Where shall he get water from, he does not even have a roof over his head. The icy air seeps through his thin shorts and engulfs his body, sending a shiver up his spine. He pulls his jacket closer around his thin body, the old, torn garment his most proud possession. But still the wind keeps coming, blowing itself harder and harder against his rough skin, burning every inch of his body,

Yet he continues to work, carving away, pouring all his love into his masterpiece. His whole world is focused solely on the block of wood in front of him, the giraffe hiding inside, waiting to be found. Back and forth, back and forth the knife goes, almost as if on its own accord. Nature taking over his body, he becomes one with it, merely an accessory to finding its hidden secrets. Another gust of wind causes him to shiver, the knife jumping in his hand. He pulls his arm away immediately, coming so close to ruining all his work with one impulsive movement.

Suddenly, a drop falls onto his hand. As Jabu looks up he sees the water falls as the sky frees raindrops from its unpredictable grasp, each drop an individual blessing from God, yet all together, a nightmare to Jabu. He swiftly removes his jacket and flings it over the wood, before anymore drops can harm it, and there he stands, towering over the sculpture, shielding it with his body from certain devastation.

The pounding drops sting against his exposed back, each one feeling like a dagger severing his skin. Like shafts of ice cutting into him, cold water slowly seeps into the depths of his bones. Igniting every nerve in his body, torturing his soul, yet he must protect his wood, he must save it, it is all he has. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from the rain, nowhere to go except right here, protecting his worldly possessions.

As the clouds finally depart, the sun once again gracing him with its presence, Jabu removes the coat and pulls it over his head, back into place. He returns to his sitting position on the now soaked through ground besides the growing masterpiece, but as his gaze shifts from the floor to the wooden block that had eventually begun to take shape his heart sinks. The water had managed to sneak its way through his coat and had squirmed its way into the wood, had ruined the artwork.

Jabu stands up, turns and walks away, a single, silent tear rolls down his cheek as he leaves behind his only hope left of surviving in this cruel world. His last chance of receiving any form of income, of anything that could keep him alive for the next few days had been destroyed and is left behind him as he walks away into the distance, all faith in humanity and nature washed away with the storm. A broken heart leaving behind a dying soul.

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