Little Red String

January 12, 2012
By waiting-for-the-rain BRONZE, Letcher, South Dakota
waiting-for-the-rain BRONZE, Letcher, South Dakota
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Everyday he’d walk,
walk a mile from home,
into the vast fields of grass,
golden grass swaying to the rhythm of the winds song.
And in those fields of grass,
fence posts are stuck in side by side,
connected together by a harsh barb wire.
Every day he went to one specific post,
one wrapped in string.
The display is his doing.
It’s a bright red string,
a big bulk of a tangled mess.
As he approached the post,
he bowed his head in remembrance.

In remembrance of what you say?
In remembrance of his father he’d lost the year before.
His father who would take him to the fields and jump around,
acting like a little kid.
He was his best friend,
his person to turn to.
But then one day,
when they were running around,
the father fell to the ground as he was struck ill.
They took him to the doctor,
to check if he was all right.
The doctor simply said,
“I’m sorry.”
The father was not to live much longer.
The boy was devastated.

They still went to the field those remaining days,
but they did not play,
Instead they stopped after one mile to sit
Because that was as far as the weakened father could go.
They sat there watching the clouds,
soaking in the sun.
Then one day,
when they were at their spot of rest,
the father looked over at his son and says,
“I know my time is nearing for me to travel into the blue beyond,
So you can grant me one last wish”,
His eyes were brimming with tears as he pulled a string from his red flannel shirt.
He loosely wrapped it around the boy’s pinkie finger.
The boy looked at his small hand adored with the smallest piece of string.
“I want you to remember something,
so I’m showing you a way to remember things.
What I do is I tie a piece of string around a finger and attach a memory to it.
Whenever I look at that string,
I remember what I’d forgotten.
Now I want you to tie a memory of me around your heart,
so you know I’m always here,
always in your heart.
Could you do that for me?”
The father looked at his son with tired eyes,
waiting for a response.
The boy nodded,
not sure what to say .
They looked each other in the eyes for the rest of their time out there,
tears surfacing at random times.

They went to the field every day they had left,
when one day the father never woke again.
The boy still went to the field that day,
but instead of being accompanied,
he was alone,
alone for the first time.
He stopped at their favorite spot,
that spot by the fence post.
He untied the string from his finger,
broke it in half,
Then tied the other half around the post.
Almost a silent memorial,
that slowly grew,
grew with the loneliness and sorrow of the boy,
As the days flew by.
He returned to the post each day,
bringing a new piece of string,
always red.
Never blue like the sky above him,
or green like the trees along his way to the post,
or gold like the grass swaying at his feet.
Always red.
Red because that is the color of the thread his father gave him.
Red is the color,
or was the color,
of the grimy string wrapped around his finger.

He never forgot his father,
but he did heal over time.
He never stopped coming to the post,
but his visits spaced over the years,
once every month it ended up as.
The string stayed for years,
Never breaking,
Must have been because of the compassion and tribute binding it together.

The author's comments:
I wrote this while at a writing camp. Its inspired by a picture I wasn't given the name to.

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