Thursday, January 3, 2008

Footprints in the Heart

For Cafe Writing - write a short story, scene, or piece of flash-fiction that incorporates the concept of falling in love with a photograph. Immediately, I thought of Gregory Colbert's photograph below, which touched my heart and I immediately fell in love with.



The first time I saw you, I immediately fell in love with you. A beautiful, alert and happy baby face surrounded by the two biggest ears I'd ever seen. I had come to this land unhappy to have left my own, unhappy to have left my best friends behind. But Daddy said it would only be for a couple of years - four at most - and then we'd return home. This was a wonderful opportunity for him and he said it would be a wonderful opportunity for me as well as I'd learn more of the world and connect with nature. I didn't believe him. I wanted to go home and be with my friends whom I missed terribly.

But then one day sitting on the veranda when I was sad and wanting someone to play with, I saw you. And you made everything all right. That first time I saw you, you were a mere calf walking and playing between your mother's legs leaving whirlwinds of earth behind you that covered your tribe with dust. You looked so happy that I could swear you were giggling. And you saw me and I saw you wanted to become friends as well. But although you were a baby, you were so big that I was a little scared of you. Yet you were gentle, funny and fun. And in time I learned to trust you and you learned to trust me. And your Mama learned to trust me too and that was important. She was so patient with us. I laugh when I think of the times you'd become so excited while you played that she'd have to calm you with a nudge of her trunk centering you once again and reminding you that you were to act dignified. No matter what, you were to always act dignified.

And we grew up together in this land. We spent our days exploring. You'd pick blades of grass with your trunk to nourish yourself and attempt to feed them to me as well. Always so giving, you always shared everything with me. And what about the day you finally were able to reach a high branch and tore it in victory! In your joy you hit me on the head with it and off I went to get stitches. We laughed but Daddy didn't find it so funny. And those hot days when the Sun singed our skins, you'd flap your ears to fan us. And we'd go and swim in the river where you'd fill your trunk with water and spray me under the guise of bathing yourself. Oh, that was so much fun! I knew you wanted to play but knew Mama was watching all the time. You'd hear her admonish you every now and again, "remember, little one, you must always act dignified." But she just wanted to raise you right because she knew one day you'd become the leader of your tribe and eyes were watching, judging.

And despite your thick skin, I learned of your tender spots by your mouth and ears where your skin was paper-thin. I learned this because you trusted me and allowed me to touch it. I had never had a friend of your kind and you showed me that you too knew of compassion and love. You felt the same things I did. We were kindred spirits living a free-spirited life in this wonderful, hot expansive land of yours. I learned so much from you, dear friend.

And today I am finally returning home. Yet, I feel this is my home now for it is the land I've come to love and I've come to love it because of you. And I find myself stricken with sadness. The thought of never playing with you again fills my eyes with tears that are incessant in showing their love for you. I hope you will always remember me for I will never forget you. No more days of going on explorations learning the topography of your land. No more gossiping with you dear friend of the attention-grabbers and troublemakers of your tribe. You will no longer have me as your devoted companion. It is now time for you to finally integrate more fully with your own and begin the road to your destiny.

And I cry. I cry because you have meant more to me than words can ever express. I cry because my heart will now feel a loss that was once filled with days with you. But one day I will return. This, I promise. And I will carry this picture of us always, this picture Daddy took the day he joined us on one of our explorations, this picture that shows the tender side of you, the tender heart I've come to know and love. And I will show this picture to others and speak of you and tell them how you too possess the same qualities we have - the best ones - and how it comes so easily and unconditionally to you, something that does not come so easy to us. I will speak of all the joyous times we had together so they could see the beauty of you and learn to love you just as much as I do. And this picture will stay with me at all times along with the memories of you, until the day I return and see you once again. By then we will both have families and our children can get to know each other just like we did and learn to love each other just like we do. But until then, keep me in your heart dear, loyal friend and never forget me. Because as you roam and lay your footprints on this land, know that your footprints are etched deep in my heart as well.

Goodbye my dear friend. Goodbye.

For Write on Edge .



© 2008 Rebecca Bush

27 comments:

Jeques said...

Is this fiction? Oh God, I am so moved by this compelling story of an uncommon friendship. I feel a lump in my throat, and tears in the corners of my eyes near the end but I am happy for the great read. And the picture, yes the picture that inspired this story. It is ethereal.

I wish you well.

~ Jeques

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a beautiful story, wonderful connection you wrote about

Bohemian Mom said...

This is such a wonderful story, I love it!
You write so beautifully!
xo

Chloe said...

Wow, that took my breath away! I feel at once saddened and deeply touched. The photo and your words are mesmerizing.

rebecca said...

jeques: yes, it is fiction! thank you! actually, gregory colbert's photography inspires me quite easily. he is a phenomenal photographer that captures the interaction between humans and animals so beautifully and, yes, ethereally. i'm so happy it affected you that way...thank you.

crafty green poet: thank you...i'm glad you enjoyed it.

chloe: "mesmerizing"....wow! i like that word! thank you so much for that lovely comment. words like that make my day...xoxo

boho mom: dear friend, you always leave me such lovely and encouraging comments that i always feel my attempts were well worth it. you're the best....((xoxox))

Christy said...

This is amazingly beautiful!

How can I post anything after this?

Speechless

Anonymous said...

What a magnificent post.

I was reminded of the movie Nowhere in Africa.

Becca said...

an extremely moving tale of a very close and unique connection.

beautiful :)

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Congratulations - marvelous, well crafted fiction - hard to believe you did not experience that whole piece!

SS

paisley said...

oh rebecca... that was ever so lovely... you carried me with you the whole way thru....

thank you......

lucy said...

jeques said it all. so lovely...thank you!

Granny Smith said...

Oh, this a lovely story written with sensitivity and imagination! It is a skillful use of both the prompt and of the photo you have chosen

paisley said...

even better the second time around.....

anthonynorth said...

Beautiful prose for a beautiful picture.

dailypanic said...

Touching story and beautiful photo selection. I hated that it was a goodbye photo :(

Chris said...

Rebecca, this is a truly spectacular story!!

Greyscale Territory said...

This is such a tender, beautiful story!

Gemma

murat11 said...

Great story, Rebecca: inspired by a beautiful and moving photograph. When I set out to do the Sunday Scribbling prompt, the very first photo that came to mind was this one.

Peace.

Autrice DelDrago said...

You possess great talent. You should bundle up your short stories into an anthology. Excellent work with this week's subject.

GreenishLady said...

I adore Colbert's work, and you have done a magnificent photo justice with your words. A beautiful, tender and moving story. Well done!

Cricket's Hearth said...

This was such a wonderful story, so hard to believe it was not at least based on a actual event. You are a very accomplished writer. If you enjoy writing stories based on your personal life, I would love to have you consider one of my prompts at http://sliceoflifesunday.wordpress.com
Again, thanks for the wonderful read.

Patois said...

How very lovely. You have done wonders in taking that photograph and making it alive.

murat11 said...

Rebecca: I loved the idea of a photograph that makes us fall in love with ourselves. Twas not a dig at all: it's what I call happy accidents that reveal truths beyond the grasp of heads: hearts' truths.

Nothing narcissistic in the least: it is love for the bright angels within us all: angels worthy of our love. A photo that kindles love for the world will undoubtedly kindle it within as well.

By all means, love on yourself, girl. The happy accident was lovely genius.

tumblewords said...

Lovely story - you surely made the photo come to life. Fine work!

bluebethley said...

What an evocative photo. Thank you for introducing me to the work of Gilbert Colbert. And the story that follows -- what a lovely extrapolation from the young girl's viewpoint. I'd like to see this as a poem as well, but what a sweet and moving story. I found you via Sunday Scribblings. Keep writing.

westcoastauntie said...

What an incredible story. The photo is amazing...and so is your work. I am awed.

Marie said...

Your story, like the picture, are captivating. This friendship and bond shows we can find joy in the tenderest, most unusual moments. You wrote this story so gracefully, that it seems the two go together! It could be a children's book so easily... thanks for touching me today.