Friday, September 25, 2015

The Man And The Boy

The Man And The Boy

The man found the boy by the gate to the church. He stopped behind the boy, just a single step back, but enough. The boy did not turn to look at the man, because he did not want the man to see him crying.

Waiting silently, the man stood as still as one of the grave markers beyond the fence. He would wait all day, if that was what was needed.

A flight of doves filled the air above from the church's courtyard, and the boy watched them soar into the morning skies.

"Padre," the boy began, "says he is gone to Heaven."

The man looked down at the trembling in the boy's small shoulders.

"Yes," the man said, "that is what a priest must say."

It was the sound of the man's voice that made the boy turn to face the man. His eyes were drowning in tides of tears.

"You do not believe that is so," the boy murmured.

"No," the man said quietly.

The boy turned away again. His body went limp, and for a moment, the man worried that the boy might collapse into the cinders.

Suddenly, the boy spun towards the man and swung his fist wildly in the air. His small, clenched hand hit the man's leg. The man stood and waited through two more blows, before he picked the boy off the ground and held him to his chest.

"I will miss him so," the boy cried into the man's shoulder.

"Yes," the man confirmed, "you will for a time, but soon you will know he is still here."

The boy's head bobbed back and away from the man's embrace.

"Where?" the boy sobbed, "do you see him? I do not see him. So where?"

The man pushed the boy's hair from where it had fallen in sticky strings over the boy's eyes. Then the man put his hand over the boy's heart, pushed forward gently, and with a quietly assured voice, said, "He is still here." His hand moved to touch the boy's forehead, and he continued, "And he is still here."



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