Our Barn

October 12, 2010
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The boy knew what he had to say before he reached the door. Climbing from his 1943 forest green Jeep, the man arose with a solemn look on his face, a face that recited “I’m sorry” when the words couldn’t reach his mouth. His clothes were the same shade of green as the evergreens that swayed in the distance. He had an impressive shelf of badges and awards draped from his jacket. And as he took his slow reflective steps toward the porch all the boy could think of was his father. His father’s smile was soft and often accompanied by the deep, harsh laugh that would erupt from deep in his chest. He could picture his dad at the record player in the basement just sitting with his eyes closed letting the music take him to a place that only the music could. The boy thought of a memory when a friend of the family was telling him how great his father truly was and what he had remembered most fondly about him. “I have to stop thinking about him, its only hurting me,” the boy thought. He turned and headed out the back door. He couldn’t feel anything whether it was the ground under his feet, the tall grass brushing him as he past, or the swirling cyclone of emotions that overwhelmed his body. Physically and emotionally numb, the only thoughts running through his mind were of his father. “How could I not be crying he‘s gone, cry damnit!” he called. He felt awful, one of the most important people in the world to him was just taken and all he could do was walk blindly following his feet without knowing what direction they were headed.
As he walked through the grass still reeling with emotions he realized he had no idea where he was. The boy knew this farm like the back of my hand and yet he had somehow managed to find a spot he had never been before. Immediately he looked around to get his bearings and find a spot to rest, the walk had made him tired and every step he took now was heavy, it was a different type of weight it was like having a dense spot deep in your chest that affected every moving part of your body. Scanning the dusky horizon the boy picked out a distant building, it appeared to be a barn but he was sure he had seen all the barns around the farm. He sauntered curiously towards the barn and as he got closer and closer its features began to become clear. The Barn was an old and dilapidated structure with a noticeable lean towards the right side it looked like a building plucked straight out of a surrealist painting, it seemed almost impossible that a structure could last so long under such feeble conditions. A few more yards and he reached the door. With a contorted face caught in between curiosity and wonder he noticed there was a nice clean welcome mat sitting atop the rickety old steps. But more out of place than the confusing mat were the boots his father used to work in. This must have been his father’s barn. The boy started to picture what it might look like inside tall stacks of records with dust over the more neglected piles, scattered remnants indicating the barns past uses, a few comfortable chairs here and there and in the middle of those records sat the boy’s father with a glowing face that lit up a barn that would otherwise be dark and quiet. The delusions of his dad got the better of him and he stepped cautiously up the old steps as they creaked and groaned under his weight. He reached the barn door and caught a few notes of a song he knew in the breeze, he knew it was real to him and he was determined to enter the barn and see his dad sitting quietly with his eyes closed waiting for his son to find him, delusion or not. It was a song he had heard over and over again come every holiday season it was the serenading waltz of the Vince Guaraldi Trio known as the Great Pumpkin Waltz. The song had never brought him to tears before, in fact it was a song he usually enjoyed sitting and listening to but now more than ever he felt the once hidden sorrow in every note. Tears fell from my eyes, he was finally crying, “finally”, he thought. All he could feel was deep grief that flowed without hesitation from what seemed like deep in his heart, but in a way it was as if the grief brought a reprieve of the weight that had followed him with every step the realization poured over him like cold water, his dad was dead. As he cried he realized he was crying for an entirely different reason than expected. He wasn’t crying for his own loss or the fact that his father had lost his life he was crying for the world. He felt sorry for the people around him that would never know his father. Never again would he be able to introduce his dad and let the world know how great he was. With this sudden realization he stopped… His need to open the door and see his father was gone he had no desire to reach what surly waited beyond those doors, disappointment. He knew as long as this old, dark, and quiet barn remained shut to him, he would always have his father standing behind it listening intently to the sorrowful notes with his eyes closed and surrounded by his music. This place that had existed unannounced to him for what had been over a decade as his Dad’s Barn could now and always be “Our Barn” the boy said with a tear filled smile.





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