© 2014 Kimberly Charbneau
Here's a story I'd like to tell about a day I spent in hell. It wasn't fun like I thought it would be, torturing souls uncontrollably. Nor was it scary, I was already dead. Just an empty spirit without a head. The other souls had all come around and asked what's wrong with that horrible sound?"
I said "I don't know, I don't hear a thing. Are you sure it's not some stupid fling?"
"No" they said. "It's actually quite the other. We've come to believe he's lost his brother."
I looked all around in quite a wonder, then scratched my head and thought for another minute or two just to myself. "OK, let's look. What the hell?"
And as we did, we came across a little boy playing toss. He turned his head and said "Get out! I got this covered without a doubt." His hair was matted, his clothes were torn, his skin was pale, and looked rather worn. But, he kept on tossing one after the other, then recollected to try another.
I said to the boy "What's goin' on? Why are you stuck here with nothing but trouble?"
Smelling the fear, he then turned his head and looked in my eyes as he then further said "Tommy's gone now, I ain't goin' back. The night is my soul all dressed in black. I'm stayin' here, so I suggest you leave. Go fly with the crows and just let me be. I've already died from the inside out. My heart is a hole without a doubt." He then turned his head back to his game as a single tear fell without any shame.
"OK, we'll leave, but this you should know. I too have lost my big brother Joe. We were always sitting at the silent lake behind the farm of fish and foul where horses ran to frolic and play. I still close my eyes and think about a childhood of memories playing catch and jumping rope, the tire swing we almost broke, just barely hanging from the old tree house. Or goin' fishin' in overall bibs, skipping rocks across the lake with mud and dirt like pig pin, but worse. Then making bets of who would get a kiss from Sally with pretty blue eyes until the sun started to set. Then night would fall like a soft cool sheet to cover the earth as we both raced back when mother would yell 'I'ts time to eat. You boys are a mess. Go wash your face, hands and sweat'. So then we did and sat down to eat every bite at the table with family, friends and all. Then, off to bed, we'd close our eyes with kisses from paw and a prayer to heaven, then a playful slug from my big brother Joe. What else could a little brother like me ask from the man watching after me."
That was it, the story I told in hopes that maybe his heart would unfold. Then as we turned to walk away, the little boy looked and turned to say "Didn't you fall one dam little bit the day he left to never return? How do you carry on in your life without getting mad that he left your side? Do you have no soul of any to speak? Or don't you care you were left to be?"
I looked at the boy and said in a voice, soft but firm, "You have no idea of the heart ache it left. The first day is tough, but that's not the end. It just gets harder while you learn to mend and move on each day, just one step further away from the night that drowns your every instant thought until you can't think without a care to die. That's why you're hear. You haven't learned yet that hell is only a place in your head drowning you out to the life god planned of simple words and peaceful soul, to be at ease whatever comes our way. Take your time and handle with care, a heart of love you know is in there just waiting to reach a whole new level unless you want to drown in self pity, misery, and it's company. They are only welcomed if you let them in. When you're ready, come this way through the door to the other side where dark is gone and life moves on with or without your mind's consent.
The little boy looked with fear in his eyes, his hand on his chest as though his heart again was in pain. "How can I leave my brother behind in this world he can't even see? Isn't it sin to never love and never breathe of other's pure joy they have left behind?"
For then I smiled at the young little boy with a look of the knowing he knew in his heart before he even spoke a word. As then he looked down to his own two feet, seeing the mud and holes in his shoes with toes sticking out so fragile and broken, he couldn't not care another split second. As he started to walk one step, then two, just a bit closer to where I stood, "He isn't here is he, my brother no longer? Only his spirit I feel all around?" the little boy asked as he brushed off some dirt from the old ragged shirt, then looked at his hands so dry and callus, then back at me as his eyes then watered.
I took a breath and stepped in to see not only the tears starting to swell, but dirt on his face and a single scratch down one side. It looked as though he'd been pretty worn from another hand of not his own. Three steps closer, I took my hand upon his shoulder and said "What's this mark along your face?", then saw another along his neck. As I stepped back in ponder, it occurred to me, he'd been imprisoned all this time and knew no better way to love except holding on to what he knew through his tiny life.
I looked at the others who still lingered the room behind my back, in all of questions waiting to ask without a word. But, I heard every thought racing through. "Who is this boy? What did he do? Did someone hurt him? Someone he knew?" Then, I looked back and the boy was gone. No where in sight that eyes could see. Not even a trace of the dirt on his shoes leaving foot prints to follow his way. It felt as if he was never there, just an illusion we made in our dreams.
It then occurred that all this time, he didn't need me or any of us. He just needed space, an empty place, to live out the pain that no one could see until he knew he wasn't alone and found it within, the strength to let go.