Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The Blind Boy Who Could See
A week’s arduous trek had at last brought him to the footbridge that led to his place of birth; an undamaged bridge standing sentry amidst the mist, undefiled by what had happened beyond. He set foot on the bridge and crossed, at last bringing an end to a most-felt absence, slowly walking towards the Kingdom he had been destined to rule but abdicated fifty years hence.
The wailing agonies the bombs had birthed backdropped against the silent night. He sensed the new generation's - the toxic almost-adults - ire and hate. The moment he stepped foot inside his Kingdom, these youths gathered round him, smelling him, reading an odor that was unfamiliar, yet not.
Tired and weary he took a much-needed break and sat lotus in the middle of the dirt road and closed his blind, milky-white eyes to the discord and irascible dispositions that mocked. They did not know what to make of him. Yet His Majesty Most Revered was not afraid. Fear was a meaningless and useless emotion, yet the one his kind felt most comfortable and traveled in. He sensed it here, raw and palpable, smelt it, along with their liquor-scented breaths and the stench of open wounds where maggots had made their home. He placed his walking staff - one that he had made from a fallen branch of a hardy tree - across his legs.
"I mean you no harm. There is no need to fear me. I am but an old man," he said.
The almost-adults could not help but be amused. Who was this decrepit, old man who thought he could harm anyone? Yet the undercurrent of negative tension and apprehension was evident in the silence that interspersed the laughter and was not missed by him.
One approached. Their leader. His Majesty Most Revered sensed an insatiable and destructive fury that had made a comfortable home within, "What business have you here, old man?"
"I’ve come to seek counsel with the Prince."
The leader could not hide his contempt, "We have no Prince old man. If you speak of the coward that hides behind the palace’s walls, then I say again, we have no Prince. You take much risk with what little life you have left. Turn around and go home and go die in peace. It is dangerous here and no place for you."
"It is wise to remember that things are never what they appear to be," answered the old man.
"Oh, and foolishly brave as well! Old man, leave now. The only reason I’ve spared killing you is because you are old, but do not test me."
"I will not leave and I cannot control what you will do. To change the course of my destiny is as futile as your desire to have been born with two eyes."
"How do you know I have but one eye? You cannot see!"
"You have but one eye and I have none at all. Yet it is you who cannot see." As he spoke these words, he turned his milky-glossed gaze toward the leader’s eye. This greatly discomforted the youth.
"Be on your way, old man, for my kindness is wearing thin."
"I’ve offended you. I am sorry. Pay no mind to this old man and his foolish words. I have been away from the family of man for so long that I have forgotten how to speak your language." His Majesty Most Revered bowed his head in respect.
The leader remained silent, not knowing what to say, unfamiliar emotions having surfaced by an apology from someone who did not fear him. He walked away, followed by his group, leaving the old man alone.
Soon it began to rain, yet His Majesty Most Revered stayed lotus, undisturbed. He remained still, eyes closed, listening once again to the somber songs of his former land; melancholic songs devoid of hope. He began to weep tears of sorrow and felt them meld with the tears shed from the angry sky above. Thunder and lightning clamorously shattered the moonless, dark sky into vignettes of light. It would be but a matter of time before he was struck; the almost-adults placing bets on this most-welcomed diversion. Behind closed doors, families peered fearfully through closed curtained windows. To help was to face death. No one crossed the almost-adults, rogues that held their beloved land under their oppressive thumbs.
His Majesty Most Revered sensed the fear that surrounded: for the almost-adults, instilling fear was what kept them feeling alive; for the captive others, it was what kept them alive.
When the Sun at last rose on the East the following day, His Majesty Most Revered stood with the help of his makeshift cane and began to walk slowly towards his former home, the Palace.
"You are walking the wrong way, sir. You must turn around. The road out of the Kingdom is in the other direction," said a kind voice in warning.
He recognized the voice at once, a comrade of his youth. The voice was older, yet held the same timbre and kindness, "Thank you, Eng. But I am on the right path. I seek counsel with the Prince.”
Eng gasped, recognizing the voice as well. He quickly knelt before the old man and bowed his head in respect, "My apologies your Majesty, I did not know it was you. Welcome home. Welcome home my King."
-To be continued -
Posted by rebecca