Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
I ran because I didn’t know what else to do.
I ran because I could hear them yelling in the living room, shouting about this, that or the other, screaming about such and such, fighting over nothing in particular. I ran because it hurt when they fought, because the knot in my stomach twisted tighter and tighter with each hateful word, because Mother and Father didn't really care if I ran, so I was going to run.
I ran out the back door and into the night, where the warm breeze fluttered through my hair, where the tall grass swished through my bare feet, where the words of my mother --"Look, John, now you've gone and made him do it again..."-- faded away and I was left alone with my thoughts. Past the picket fence, down the long dirt driveway and up the hill with the willow at the top I ran. The willow whispered to me as I desperately climbed its branches, whispered how it understood and that no matter what happened, it would never, ever yell at me or hurt me. Never.
I climb to the top and the stars shimmer to greet me. The stars are brighter out in the country, where I live, where my parents fight. Mother used to tell me they were the tears that Jesus shed when He knew how much we were going to abuse His Creation. How much we were going to sin. And every time you see a shooting star, He's crying again.
I'm too old for most stories, but I will never be too old for that one. Because every time I see a shooting star, I think of a time when they fought, and how much it hurts, and I wonder how many tears He's going to have to shed before Mom and Dad don't fight anymore.
I shiver, but not because of the cold. It's such a wonderful night, and not to be wasted at the house. The breeze and the willow sing me a song, but I can't hear the words. The melody drifts around me, it wraps me in its arms, it speaks of peace and love and truth and joy...I listen until my eyes close and my arm droops lazily over an outcropping limb.
I open my eyes and look down to see my father standing at the bottom. His face is warm and his eyes are kind, and I can see that the fighting is over for tonight. I climb down and let him hug me and tell me how everything is fine now and that they won't fight ever again, but I know that they're going to do the same thing in a week or so.
I smile and say "Yes, Dad" and let him lead me home. On our way down the hill, I look up at the sky and see a star shimmer across the horizon. My dad points to it.
"Look, Gabriel, a shooting star!"
I look up, and then down as a tear of my own drops to the ground and is soaked up by the understanding earth.And no matter how many light years apart we are, I know He understands.
We set out for a nighttime stroll along the lake. The breeze, uncharacteristically warm for November, ruffles through the trees. "I wish we could go out on a boat tonight", I say, glancing at the empty boat docks. "I wish someone would buy us a drink", she says, glancing at all the couples walking past.
Strolling past the massive ship housing the yacht club, we reach the bench at the edge of the dock. Looking out across the lake, with the city behind us, we talk about everything and nothing. What we want from life, what we will someday name our kids, who we will marry, where we will live.
Hours later, a cooler breeze wraps itself around the dock. Shivering, we call it a night and start the walk back towards the city.
Suddenly, a voice cuts through the stillness. "Girls, hey girls!". A man looks down at us from the deck of the yacht club. "Girls, why don't you come on up for a drink?". Not the types to turn down adventure (or a free drink), we look at each other, shrug, and head towards the ship entrance.
We manoeuvre our way up to the deck, feeling like we are in a more modern and smaller budgeted re-make of the titanic, complete with a grand entrance hall and winding staircases. We are met by the gentleman (Harry) and quickly realize that he is most definitely old enough to be our grandfather. We politely decline his repeated offer for free drinks but accept his invitation to tour the boat.
Harry asks us where we are originally from and is overly delighted when the answer is Russia. With a wistful look in his eyes and speech not slightly slurred by alcohol, he says "I met a Russian girl, Ludmila, on the internet once". Ten minutes later, we are acquainted with all the dramatic details of the online union and its sad conclusion (Ludmila is now dating a German man). Fifteen minutes after that, when he has asked us the same questions three times and begins to ramble about Ludmila again, we decide that alcohol is the only thing that will get us through another five minutes and take Harry up on his offer to buy us a drink.
An hour and two Stellas later, we walk off the ship. "Well, at least we went on a ship", I say. We walk in silence for a minute, then she says "Perhaps I should have clarified. I would like a young, handsome man to buy us a drink".
Universe, take note.
By Anahit Gomtsian
By Anahit Gomtsian