It was the dead of the night and nothing could be heard except the rustling of leaves in the park. Not even the footsteps of a willowy figure walking through.
Crunch. crunch. crunch.
As he stepped over a particular area filled with the fallen leaves of the trees; the sound echoed. He was startled by it. The noise seemed strangely loud and close, and the thoughts which had plagued his mind; now a distant but tormented memory.
As he paused to adjust the strap of his bag which was digging his shoulder he looked around. It was dark. Not dark in a harrowing way. It was the kind of darkness he welcomed. Darkness and peace to help him sort out his thoughts.
He squinted his eyes trying to decipher the outline of a bench nearby. And as he eased himself on it, he gasped in pain that shot out through his ribs.
“Good old Dad” he thought before grimacing and adjusting to a more suitable position. He let go of the bag which was almost overflowing with stuff and got out a piece of paper from his jacket. It had seen better days.
The paper was crumpled to the point of being torn. As the boy unfolded it gently he was greeted with a large stain. A stain that largely resembled blood. Dried blood.
Unknowingly, his hand went to check his nose as he re-read the letter. It was from his mum. Written for him to be opened on his 18th birthday. He checked his damaged watch to remind himself that he was an adult now, and soon enough after the bus arrived he would also be free.
He had been accepted into one of the top institutions for ballet training. On full scholarship. A prestige to learn with the best of the best. An honor is what his teachers had told him.
Unfortunately, no one told that to his Dad.
“You Gay?!” is what he roared after hearing the news. He father was a free thinker and for him to use the term in a derogatory way made him gape. Did it matter? To his father it did.
“Dancing is for girls” is what he had kept saying ever since his mum had passed away and the money from the ballet performances she did stopped coming home. His father had spiraled into an alcoholic and violent state. But his mum had given him hope. And talent.
Despite being beaten to the point of unconsciousness he made sure to read her letter at midnight on his 18th birthday for some support. She knew that her son was talented and she had left some money for him to follow his dreams. Away from the eyes of her squandering husband.
The honk of the bus slowly brought him back to the present. The driver was looking at him expectantly. He got up slowly, fighting back tears of sadness and pain as he walked over.
But he felt alone. So lonely. He missed his mum.
And as a sign, just as he was about to step on inside the bus; the skies cleared away for a bright moon to shine on through the darkness. And he smiled. Just as she had said in her last letter to him.
He wasn’t alone. His mum was going on this journey with him. He was going to experience new things, for her.
It was like he was 9 years old again and she was sitting beside him saying, “I got your back Buddy”
For my last post click Ready. Set. GO! – Chase your Dreams
For my last Storytime post click Food for Thought – (Story)