“What was different about Auntie Louise?”
“Forget it. I don’t want to discuss it anymore,” Harold waves one hand across in front of him and his words echo bouncing off ever wall of the hewn out hole in the side of the hill descending down into the banks of Pigeon Creek.
For a moment, I am embolden beyond common sense, “How can I not see you as a monster when you refuse to be vulnerable?”
The fear returns as I watch Harold’s body remain tense – eyes narrow, nostrils flare, fists and teeth clench. But for some reason I tell myself to stay strong and stay put. Wait for his pain to diminish enough to share.
“Auntie Louise would tell me to count to ten right now,” Harold’s whole body uncoils. “I can recall her saying, ‘Count to ten Harold or one hundred or a million if necessary. Let the Spirit gain control.’”
“Where does Auntie Louise live?”
“She passed away many years ago,” Harold’s words roll off his tongue tenderly, but his eyes narrow and nostrils flare.
Harold raises a huge, rough palm between us face high. It startles me and I jerk away. I have to keep from falling backwards by bracing myself with my hands.
“If you were going to ask me what happened to her, don’t,” Harold then lowers his palm.
Of course I was going to ask. Of course I still want to know. Now, I also want to know why Harold doesn’t want me to ask.
“All you need to know is that Auntie Louise was the most humble and accepting person I’ve ever known. She was never afraid of me. She never pitied me. She never saw me for what I look like on the outside. She never ever wanted to change me.”
I observe as something strange and eerie and fantastic washes over Harold and then I feel it, too.
“She used to try and convince me that there are not really any good or bad people in the world. There’s just people. I don’t think I ever really agreed with her. From what I know of her, I think she truly believed it.”
I believe I detect a bit of a smile on Harold’s face and a gleam in his eye.
“That’s what was different about her. She didn’t want to change me. She told me that no man changes another. Differences is variety. Variety is good. I heard her say it many, many, many times.”
I sit silently. Describing Auntie Louise, his eyes twinkle, his lips turn up at the corners, his hands rest on his knee except to gesture in gentle swipes in the space between us.
After a brief pause, Harold continues, “Auntie Louise would always say, ‘Variety is good. Everything good comes from God, so differences must be God’s will.’ It was that simple to her.”
For a moment I believe he forgot I was there. His eyes narrow again, not from anger but from deep recollection, I soon discover.
“I’d argue that I am so very different but only she thinks it’s good. I’d tell her that I don’t think it’s good. I don’t want to be different. I want to be like everyone else.”
For the first time in several moments, Harold looks me in the eye. He stares deadpan at me. I’m wondering if he’s awaiting my response. I try to think of an appropriate one.
“Auntie Louise would say, ‘No one is like everyone else.’ She was right of course,” Harold places a hand on each knee and looks directly at me, again.
“You say she’s right but later you said your physical differences keep you from living a normal life. That’s good?”
“Normal life? Like everyone else. Isn’t that what you mean by normal? Sometimes I want that. But neither of us can say for sure if I got it, I’d like it. I debate within myself all the time about it.”
“I believe you would. Once people got to know you it would open up so many opportunities,” I uncoil from the cross legged position into a kneel.
“You see opportunities which I don’t oppose or deny. I see also obligations. I don’t say all of those are bad, either,” Harold shifts his weight forward.
“Some obligations are tedious. Others are good for one’s health and well-being,” as my thoughts turn to wellbeing, I wonder how sitting on the floor of a cave is good for mine.
“It would take a change of heart, a change of perspective toward my appearance by the masses for me to enjoy opportunities and obligations of a normal life.“
“Give everyone a chance to get to know you as I have and I think you’d see a change of heart in most people.”
Harold’s eyes roll towards his eyelid. Could he be considering giving the masses a chance to get to know him? I could introduce him. I begin to devise a plan.
Categories: Author Confession
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.