Tommy

Delbert H. Rhodes

Today, he reaches his tenth birthday, a special day for him, and everyone who knows and loves him. Yet his Mother, strangely, feels somewhat distant, she seems to be just a little left of center. Mr. Reland passed away one year ago but although she terribly misses her husband he is not what troubles her. Tommy is a wonderful child, her boy, and she loves him and he her, should it matter that he is not truly her son. Still, she has always sensed and possibly, even known that the boy is different from other children, additionally, and although academically he soars above the rest, her feelings permit her only uncertainties.

2-4-07-15Tommy arrived into the care of the Relands ten years ago, and under strange circumstances. Travelers who were looking for a place to sleep entered an old farmhouse. In one of the bedrooms and all alone, a baby lie sleeping in its crib. The child, alas, abandoned, appeared uninjured and healthy. A search for the parents ended in failure; Child Services And Family Care aided the infant.

To his great fortune, the find soon provided Tommy a home. The lad and his newly found family love each other, nevertheless, he really never quite fit the mold, so unlike other children, so different, and including his stepbrother, Kamron.

Nights while his brother sleeps, Tommy often lies awake staring at the stars. The heavens are beautiful but more than beauty their allure is incomprehensible to him. Then, one night the unimaginable happens, while transfixed by the celestials, the star gazer wonders of his home, his family.

Remarkably, a shiny coin, a penny, appears beside him on his bed. “Wow!” “But, where did you come from?” Unusually bright and warm to the touch, the coin is wonderful. Resting it inside his palm, the startled boy closely regards its inscriptions and graphics; and as much as the penny appears usual, it is not.

Within moments, Tommy begins to remember things, curiously, he recalls not only how the coin was created but its creators, a team of researchers, headed by his Father. “Somehow, this tiny penny holds,” the boy silently says, “the key to life and my life.”

After a short while, the true purpose of the coin is revealed: it is a Galactic Library, harnessing the histories of every world, every planet, solar system, galaxy and universe; it is a bridge to Tommy’s ancestry and the truth of his arrival to this distant star.

Although centuries older, today, a son celebrates his tenth birthday; in addition to which, his first responsibility is to his people, his family. As the party below takes shape, he calls to Mother. The two alone in the upstairs hallway, she notices that he hides something. “What is inside your hand?” “Mother,” he begins, “I want to ask you something.” Before answering, and somewhat bewildered, Mom, smiling, says, “Of course, honey, what?”

Almost gliding across the floor, Tommy opens his hand, “Tell me, Mother, what do you see?” Hesitating, thinking that her son is merely joking, Mrs. Reland remains speechless for a while. Then staring at the coin, she answers, although somewhat uneasily, “A penny, why?” Placing the coin inside Mother’s right hand and while staring deeply into her eyes, the look on her son’s face causes Mrs. Reland more discomfort.

Instructively: “Look again, Mother; less is the difference between more than plenty.” “Understanding the worth of this penny is to understand the worth of your people.” Returning him the penny, “My people?” “Tommy?!” “But, what exactly do you mean?” “Besides, you are just a little boy, what do you know?” Intently, “I am neither little nor a boy.” Mrs. Reland pensively regards her son; and as though a vision cloaks his face, her chest quickly rises, her breathing increases and her heart races.

Today, on her son’s tenth birthday, a Mother must wrest with an awesome realization and responsibility; she must somehow come to terms with an uncertainty that she has always known, and it not only changes ‘her’ life but life, itself.

Copyright (c) 2015 Delbert H. Rhodes

Not a Father’s Son

Delbert H. Rhodes

His mind sinking his body hurting the stars stare down at him, his vision dimming. The pounding of his heart seems louder than the sounds of his breathing. As a boy, he often visited this beach, and now this would be his last. Out there, the waves swell, as stars swim back and forth in the water.

The dune upon which he lies was his favorite as a child. Snake tracks ever graced its sands and fluffy turf, but the creature was never about. The dune pushed him higher while the sky leaned closer, the clouds brushing his face. The boy loved thinking, the daydreamer he walked inside his thoughts, and the adult, the curious storyteller. No matter its  influences, thinking is passionate, private. Now privacy and thinking have little to offer him, as he openly lives his final moments. Odd: that a man could blindly perish in plain sight. Years ago, his great-great grandmother met with death here.

This man has experienced many things, yet one thing would never be his. You see, at the age of fourteen the boy asked of his father, everything a curiosity. “He stopped coming to see you when you were four years old,” his mother’s eyes looking at yesterday. His aging ears replayed her voice, and now the words swim with his mind. “Strange,” he quietly says, “to live and die without a father’s love. ‘I am not a father’s son.’”

 A chilly night, and the trees hush the winds, crickets blow whistles, as ancestral arms embrace the lost man. Like a loving mother, the night keeps vigil, she watches him. Slowly, the feelings in his legs lessen, and coldness blankets him. “Del, bring me a wash cloth.” He remembers how seeing his naked mother always embarrassed him. Strange how the mind works, the taste of Bazooka Bubble gum slides around his tongue, a smile seduces his cheeks.

His breathing suffers; he feels trapped. He has no children, he has only death; the connective links of mind and body deteriorating, somehow, the man reaches into his pocket. The carcass of an old reptile lies near him, its body cold and his body cooling. Death is romantically ironic, unwittingly; the viper and the man finally meet. Darkness closes his eyes, and soon, a paper flies away from his hand. During an early morning run, a man finds the body and within a few yards, a paper in the sands:

Father’s Day

 Where is my dad
Oh hear me say
Who do I call
On Father’s Day 

To the skies I look
(And) God sits there
To Him I cry
To me a stare 

Oh, daddy, daddy
Where are you
In a world of colors
My color is blue 

On that last day,
I close my eyes
Fatherless I have lived
My father dies

Copyright © 2007-2014 Delbert H. Rhodes