hope

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: March 07, 2016

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Submitted: March 07, 2016

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Hope


A small ship with a dirty torn canvas was about to moor. A man in his late 30s limply stepped on the populated dock. As he leaned down, his long brown hair covered almost all of his face. A boy came up to him, saying something he couldn’t nor wanted to hear. “Water” - man whispered, - “Water… Water.” Suddenly, his eyes grew heavy and he dropped on the dock. That’s how I met Patrick Scribner. I was that boy.
My name is Arnold. I am a son of dock owner. At that time I was helping my father billing and gathering money. The day was passing fairly well. Only one guy left without paying. For this type of customers, dad had a special procedure. First, he sent the boat on auction. If someone wanted a boat, he sold it. If not, he burned it. Unfortunately for that scam, nobody wanted his boat. Half an hour later, there was no sign of that boat. Two hours after, I see this guy with no sign of life. Instinctively, I thought he did not want to pay either and was tricking me into something. Once there was someone who took advantage of my inexperience.
I just began to work and didn’t know about all instances of this job. He told me about his family, how it is hard for them to find food to survive. I lied to my dad. When my father checked bank and realized what happened he beat me up and changed my job from gathering money to washing floors at a local butchery. Thinking I made something noble, I didn’t feel guilt. However, while in the butchery I saw that guy again. He was ordering huge amounts of meat for his son’s wedding. That situation made me so frustrated, I could not fall into the same trap again.
Suddenly, all my flashbacks disappeared, and I saw the stranger trying to play me. I kicked him. And then again, but harder. Same thing over and over, then I started screaming. This whole situation got me mad. “How dare you challenge me? Do you know what happened last time when another asshole like you was here? Do you know how bad that floor smells? Do you… Do yo” Emotions within me started to take over, leaving me with no control of my behavior and emotions. I began to cry. Hey, I was a skinny 9 years old. I suddenly felt something heavy on my right shoulder, pushing me back with such force that I fell. That was my father. He has more scars on his face than hair. “What is going on? Didn’t I tell you not to involve in punishment, but tell me, or you are looking forward to get your ass whooped? If so, come over, I will give you plenty.” I did not respond. Seeing my father made it worse. I was frightened to mess up, and  my emotions completely paralyzed my body, making me shudder. “Did he pay?” he asked. “N-no” I replied with still shuddering voice. As he looked at the stranger, his face changed. Instead of anger and grief, there was an apologetic expression I have rarely seen. He helped Patrick to get up, gave him a cup of water, asked about his journey, however, the stranger didn't talk much. All we got from him was his name before he fainted.
He woke up two days later in my bed. I was really timid to talk to him since my welcoming probably prolonged his treatment. However, he had no idea what happened, or at least, he acted like he’s never seen me. I helped him to get up, got him my brother’s old clothes, gave him scissors to cut his hair and beard before he was ready to get a meal. My dad was seating at the head of the table, while my mom was still in the kitchen cooking. “Well”, my dad started, “what is your name again and where are you going? Last time I tried to speak to you, you were… heh not very mouthy.” “My name is Patrick Scribner. I am endlessly grateful for your help. My journ..”, he said, before his stomach grumbled so loud that my mom could hear it. “Let him eat, Eric”, my mom said, “can’t you see, he is hungry?! Come on, eat darling.” Patrick wouldn’t. Then my dad insisted, “you heard her, and you better do as she says. You can ask him”, pointing at me, “what happens when you displease her.” I looked at Patrick, rolling my lips inside, slowly shaking my head left and right. “You already have done a lot to me, however, I have nothing to pay you back, besides the boat I have arrived on. Take it, and maybe I would be able to pay some part of the debt I owe you.”  “Haha, I burnt it!”, my dad said with particular excitement, “Nobody wanted to buy it, so I did what I did.” Perhaps, he wanted to see traveler’s reaction, however, Patrick didn’t express any emotion on his face. “Why would you do that?”, my mom yield, “Couldn’t you waited for a day or two, for him to recover? Maybe he would have paid. ” “Well, you did what had to be done, I don’t nor cannot  blame you. I don’t have much. I don’t have anything at all to be honest. So I can’t pay you back for a meal no...” “Enough”, my mom said, “I have been cooking this Goddamn turkey all day, you better eat it now. After you done eating, you guys may discuss who owes what! Do you understand?”, she was looking at him and dad. “Well, I am hungry. Martha bring me and him beer. It is going to be a long night.”
After a couple of hours, 5 bottles of beer and one turkey my mom started to clean up. I remember vividly how Patrick started to help her with dishes before she ordered him to sit and enjoy the day. My dad got drunk at that point, and when he is drunk he starts to act weird. Coming from the back, he started to hug mom saying something I could not understand. Seeing this, Patrick offered me to get upstairs and show him my brothers room, the room that I occupied. As we advanced I heard some noises, but Patrick assured that it was nothing, but my imagination. Perhaps, he was right. I sometimes heard those noises from downstairs when my dad tells me to go sleep. I think we had ghosts in our house. I should tell dad about it, or not? He would beat me, or what is worse, send me to that butchery again. 
I opened a wooden door. “This is his room”, I started. The whole place looked clean and nifty. ““No sign of dust, you could literally eat out of the floor”, I said, indicating the hard work one put in. “Hmm, your brother could make money by cleaning rooms if he does what I see.”, he added. “Well, I clean his room now.”, I said, “He left for a war one year ago. He rarely writes and when he does it is usually something like “Hey, I am good. Going to place bla bla bla.”, and that is it.” “Do you miss him?”, he asked. This question made me vulnerable, however, I felt very safe talking to him. You know that feeling when you don’t know a person and you are not afraid to be judged. “Well… yes, he is my brother, of course, I miss him. When he is here, dad doesn’t drink, so much, mom doesn’t cry at night… and… I don’t feel so lonely.” This last word made my eyes water and I felt weak. “Stop crying, wimp”, I whispered to myself. “Hey relax… it is ok to miss a person. And it is ok to cry from time to time.”, he tryied to cheer me up, “If you miss a person you love, and you cry about it, it doesn’t make you less of a man. You know what… Take this.” He pulled down a stone out of his pocket. “That is a very special stone”, he said, “I hate to lose it, but I think you need it more than I do. Whenever you want to make a wish, close your eyes, think about it, say AKALAI MAKALI, toss it towards the sea and you wish would come true.”  I took it. At that moment, my dad came upstairs. He saw me in tear. Confusion quickly turned into anger, and he hit Patrick with all his might. I tried to stop dad, but couldn’t, I was only 9. Being intoxicated with alcohol and anger, he rushed downstairs to take his gun and finish with the traveler. I run down to explain what happened and to stop his madness. Mom saw dad’s state and quickly rushed to find out what was going on. She stood at his way then changed her face expression from curiosity to anger. She saw me crying and running after dad. “No, not again… I told you if you touch him one more time I will…”, she yields hysterically. “Get out of my way!”, he commanded, “I disallow anyone to touch my son.” Life of a person was on my shoulders. I caught up with dad and made him stop. Well, mom mumbled something before hand from behind, and he froze. I explained the whole situation to him in details. How he tricked me to go upstairs when dad hugged mom, how he was patient and curious in my storytelling, and how he gave me majestic stone, and how I was going to make a wish, that George would come back sooner. We all froze. Then suddenly something unbelievable happened. I saw a tear on my dad’s eyes. All my life I saw him crying twice, today and when George was leaving. He started advancing forward, right at me. He rushed to squeeze me between his arms and body, while simultaneously crying, even more, then I felt how my mom started to cuddle from behind. 
After we finished our emotional reunion as a family, we advanced upstairs. Dad wanted to apologize, mom wanted to say thank you, but I just wanted to talk to him more, get to know him, be his friend. The door was still open. I rushed in first. He was still laying in the same spot, trying to stand up. “You better relax and keep lying.”, I said with still tearful eyes. “By the way, you were right, crying is ok.  I even saw dad doing it.”


End.


Epilogue 
My name is Patrick Scribner. I was a wealthy respectable aristocratic in my hometown. People were jealous of my fortune and status. I was disgusted with modern values and prioritizing of money over factually anything. After I realized how horrific was the world I was living in, I decided to leave. I wanted to start my journey by going to India or Africa. Realizing how long and expensive my journey is going to be, I quickly sold all of my property for half price, sending all cash to the savings account. I bought a boat, made some investments to increase my account, bought sailing supplies and left my home with no bye note. After three days of sailing, I got into a storm. My ship submerged within an hour. Luckily I was able to escape before it completely went down. I sailed for 1 more week with no food or water. On my 6th day, I saw Earth. It took me a day to get to it, having only my hands to row. Then I met this miraculous family. After all, of the confusion have been settled, Eric told me more about his older son. George is a national hero. He single-handedly bombed two enemy tank’s. However, he died in action. They found out two months before I came but never told to Arnold. “Thank you”, Eric said to me looking straight into my eyes. “You don’t have to”, I said. “No, shut up and listen! To be honest, I am tired of your “polite” ways to say things.”, he added with some passion, “It seems like my little one is getting attached to you. I like that, however, I am not saying thank you for playing with my kid, nor for being involved with him. He needs you to compensate George’s absence”. His eyes started to water again, and his voice to break down, “But I am not praising you for that either.” “Then what for?” I asked. “I am praising you for giving us hope, giving hope to my kid.” Silence remained in the room for a brief moment. “Why do you think he sleeps in his room? Why he cries whenever he talks about him? My baby boy loves George. We love our boy!”
One week later, after a complete recovery I left that family. They furnished me with a good boat, a lot of food and, well, hope. Hope for humanity, hope that under the clouds of corruption and jealousy, the brighter days would come.

 


© Copyright 2019 Abraham Jones. All rights reserved.

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