A Cup of Cocoa

February 21, 2009
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We peek through the clouded glass, the other boys and me, to watch him as he works. We?re quiet, oh so quiet, so he won?t know that we?re watching. He?s very mysterious with his work, toiling away all day long with the shutters closed; only God knows what. Sam thinks he?s a king who?s hiding from the evil usurper of the throne. Morgan says he?s a runaway convict imprisoned for murder. They?re all crazy, only I know the real truth. He?s a magician of sorts, he spends his days making potions , not poisons, but more like love potions, trinkets to show affection, tangible random acts of kindness. The boys don?t know that I know him. They don?t know my secret, I tell no one because I don?t want it taken away from me.

I met him two weeks ago. I came here after school as usual to peek through the clouded glass. The other boys had gone home for the day; home is no place for me. I stood by the window while my wild imagination raced with speculations about what was behind the boarded windows. All of a sudden the door opened a crack. I stared at the single bright blue eye peering at me from the darkness. A harsh voice croaked, ?Come on in boy.? Being the childish, innocent, curious boy that I am I did go in. It was one of those strange moments where a decision has to be made and sometimes it?s good and other times it doesn?t go as well. This decision was the best I could have made because I got to meet him.

I entered through the dark door into a glowing room. Each wall a different vibrant color giving the room southern warmth not usually felt in the Rocky Mountains. He had shelves covered in strange tools: bowls, bricks wrapped in white paper, white triangular bags, and small silver cones, a large stove stood in the corner emitting luscious fumes.
?What?s your name boy,? my wonder was interrupted by his gruff question.
?Dillon,? I quickly replied, ?Dillon Dise, sir.?
?Well Dillon, what do you think??

?Sir?? I asked inquisitively, ?What is it all??
He chuckled, a deep, low, rumble like, chuckle. It sounded like far off thunder just before a rain storm. His big blue eyes pierced my gaze like a dagger, ?What is it? What does it look like? Use your imagination boy!?
His answer was shocking, no one asks us to use our imagination any more. We usually get straight forward answers or we?re told, ?Look it up!? I used to use my imagination, long ago. What could all of these peculiar tools be? Crazy means of torture, maybe he?s lured me here like the witch lured Hansel and Gretel to her home, and now he?s going to eat me. It couldn?t be that. What could it be?
?I really don?t know sir?
?Well, young man, you think about it and until you can come up with an agreeable answer I?ll spend time finding out about you.? His voice was friendly but harsh as he started asking questions. I figured they would be the typical questions that adults ask of young people. I was greatly mistaken. These questions were deep, thoughtful, and mostly different.
?Who are you??
?I told you, sir, I?m Dillon Dise. I?m 12 and I live off of Mulberry and City Park??
?No! You don?t understand the question; I?m not asking who you appear to be to others. I?m asking who are you, what are you made of, who are you under the surface??
The question shocked me. It was as if he actually cared to get to know me. Not who I am. He didn?t care about my age, my family, my school. He wanted to know about who I was, what I was made of. I?d never had an adult show so much interest in me; I wasn?t sure what I thought of him yet. How was I expected to answer questions about me, when I didn?t really even know who I was?
?I don?t know sir.? I meekly answered. I was embarrassed to show my lack of self understanding. ?I used to know who I was, I used to be firm in each of my beliefs but that was all rattled. My foundation was shattered when,? I paused, how much should I tell him? I looked into his calm eyes like the ocean silent, serene, but always questioning, ?When he left me.? I didn?t really want to reopen this wound. It had been two months since Rowan left me, left us. I can never say died, I like to think of it more of a brief vacation. I?ll see him again some day, I know I will. How could he ask a question like that? He doesn?t know me; he has no right to ask that question. But I had a choice; I could have chosen not to answer.
He stood slowly and went to the large black stove. From the rustic cabinet above he pulled out two mugs, he then proceeded to pour a dark brown liquid from the silver pot slowly simmering on the stove top.
?Have some hot chocolate.? It wasn?t a question, I wondered what good hot chocolate would do, but this was before I understood his magic. I thanked him for the chocolate slowly took a sip. A rush of warmth flowed through me. I never thought I?d feel warmth like this again. It was as if I?d never been sad, as if I had not a care in the world. There was no reason for my depression, no reason for my hurt. Someone cared about me; someone could extend a hand of friendship and want to know me. It made me smile for the first time in months. That?s when I knew, he was a magician.





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