At Their Peak

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes the simplest chores can turn into the strongest memories.

Submitted: July 17, 2012

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Submitted: July 17, 2012

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What magical spell did they hold over the one who held them in their hand?
 
Like oversized cooked spaghetti noodles, they seemed to form a mass of intertwined plastic coated copper snakes with no tails, only heads sticking out so they might bite the hand that dares to untangle them.
 
Each year they came down off their haughty heights and were carefully wrapped so that they would be preserved for the following year.  Each new year they were reclaimed from the basement, transformed into a giant ball of wired yarn.
 
It took as long to untangle them and check for bad lights as it did to mount the ladder and place them in their rightful place along the ridges of the roof.
 
For the past ten years, it was a ritual filled with excitement for both father and son.
 
Why was this year different?  It made no sense.  Each was well aware of what was required. Each was capable both on a ladder and on a roof.  But this time, the boy took the lead, running ahead and up and over the roof, before the father could reach the top of the ladder.  Frozen, from that precious stand, with both hands still on the ladder and both feet still on the rungs, the father looked up, up to the peak of the house to view his son, almost taunting him to hurry up, make like a spider and scurry up the roof to join him at the top of the world.
 
It seemed a lot further to travel to the rooftop when the man did it this time, alone, with no smaller shadow beside him.  He reached the peak and swung one leg over one side and sat to take in the view.  Feel the thin air, smell the chimney scents closer, stronger from this vantage point.
 
In the quiet of the moment the father and son, without speaking so much as a single word, both sensed a torch had passed.  What made the boy now run to the top of the roof also made the father pace himself.
 
They strung the lights as usual and in no time they were back on their perch, job complete.
 
Now sitting together, the father felt like an old general at the end of a war, victory in hand, but in his mind he was counting the cost, remembering those things now past and never to return.  Rather than contemplating the past, the son was feeling his lungs as he purposely took the deepest breathes that he could and listened and felt the winter air fill, then escape them.  He felt like taking flight to each rooftop in town, touching down just briefly to tag them with his feet and claim them as his new found country.
 
But then father and son looked at each other as the sole inhabitants of this special land.  Their eyes met. Fathers grown wispy, the sons full of excitement.
 
In an instant, their eyes switched places, the sons growing teary and dads lifted by the joy of knowing that without a word, his son knew how much THIS meant to him.  They sat quietly, afraid to move and break the spell.  Then they climbed down the roof and ladder together.
 
Later that night they flicked on the lights and dad looked and son looked and the wonder of the lights filled both sets of eyes and hearts.
What magical spell did they cast?
 


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At Their Peak

Short Story / Non-Fiction