The Boy

November 14, 2007
By John Potee, Fallston, MD

The words echoed loudly in his mind “I’ll be back again someday, just wait, and I’ll be there, you hear me boy? I’ll be here”. He couldn’t help but wonder 20 years later if his father was lying or not… His mind swirled as the wind blew his face and chilled his lungs. The ocean had never looked so grey. In the surface of the ocean he saw his mothers face, or at least he wished that he did. Then he realized that he hadn’t remembered his mothers face in years, it made him miserable.
He couldn’t help but yearn for the days that he was young, simple, and… Actually happy. I seemed at times to be his hobby; he forgot the times, very often, when daddy drank, as if he blocked those harsh moments out in the recesses of his lonely mind. He also forgot the times Dear Old Dad would “Screw up” and carelessly disappear for months at a time. That’s what he thought when Dear Old Dad walked out of his life again next to the same place, at the worst time.
“He’ll be back son, he just needs time to straighten that mind of his out, now don’t you worry ” His mother said in her passionate caring do-no-wrong voice. She made things better, she always did.
Then she left him, just like everyone else he had ever loved…But not on purpose, and not because she wanted to, because she had to. She died, so quietly so very peacefully. But the boy she left behind was never the same, the boy that was supposed to be raised by her, loved by her, and reprimanded by her when he did something stupid that all normal teenage boys do, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was no normal boy.
He would never be normal he often thought, everyday life to him was another cheap soap opera, that made him gag at the very thought of it.
He waited there every month, by the ocean, the same ocean, the worst times. He spent most of his life at that damned ocean, and stood firmly planted in the sand, and every time he held back another tear.
He would come home to see the letters from his family in better places, having better times, where the sun always shined. Everyone was happy there, he thought. He never wrote back, but he always thought a lot about them. Truth be told he loved his family, but didn’t want to burden them with his response to the happiness they send him each month to try and get his elusive response.
He thought hard about family, about everything. He couldn’t help it, his mind was a whirlpool, and once started it was unable to stop. He hoped for better days, but realized they would never come. Every time he hoped it hurt him a little more. It would soon make him a mad man.

That night he thought deeply, deeper than ever before, he thought on something new, something so daring that it made him shutter ever so slightly. Leave it all behind live with the family you still have, live with the family that you don’t have to stand on a beach and wait for, they love me by god, I need love now more than ever, he thought over and over. He dashed to the counter where the most recent letter laid he ripped it open and hoped that they left a number. The letter read:

Dear: James

I know that you probably don’t read these, and we realize that your life has become very productive, and you’ve no time for us,
(He shook his head at the misconception)
But the offer still stands dear, your family misses you, and we want you here with us
Aunt Cloey
And Uncle Alan
and all of your cousins

Ps. call us; it won’t take much time out of your day.

He eagerly called the number, and the warm and accepting voice of his aunt answered the phone. They spoke for hours about everything. He confessed to her, what he had been doing for the last 10 lonely years since they left this state, and left him behind just like everyone else. His aunt showed sympathy for him.
“Come home to your family” she said, and that statement echoed in his brain replacing the words his father said, replacing the harsh memories and sadness. Family? What was this to him? He forgot the past, like some sickness cured. He wanted to move on, for once he wanted to leave, he wanted to be happy.

The plans were made, for The Boy to move on and become happy, to move to a place where the sun is always shining literally or not, A place where he was surrounded by love, and not by depression and overwhelming sadness. The plane tickets were purchased, with a smile on his face, a smile, for once in a long time. He felt alive, and without the bitter emotion of regret. His things were packed, and soon after he was on his way to his Family the word that made him warm, the word that made his so very happy for the first time in so many years. He was now normal in his mind, and he was never to remember the words erased. Instead of thinking he slept deeply on the way to his promise land, no thoughts, and no nightmares, just promising dreams of the things to come. He played the scenario back over and over again in his mind as he slept, when he would walk through the door of a beautiful home, and see his beautiful family, And when he did walk through that door, the tears that he held for so many years, let themselves out, but not in sorrow, in joy, he would never be miserable again.
And on that grey beach wet with the sea, his father stood, in the same place… At the worst time.

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