Writing course lesson 2
|He had always been an obedient child, never a problem. Sure, he complained some when his father told him he was going to work at the mill and like it. He was the owner’s son, so it was natural for him to take over the business. It didn’t matter to his father what his dreams were; the only important thing was the mill. The pair became a study in contrasts: his father’s passion for the mill verses his hatred of it.
He sat sulking over lunch one day, feeling sorry for himself when the affable, backwoods forklift driver sauntered over.
“Hey there, how’re ya doing boy?”
“Just great,” he said sarcastically, staring at his feet.
“Ya don’t sound great to me. What’s the trouble?”
“The trouble, if you really must know, is that I’m mad at my father. He always tells me that if a man doesn’t like his job, he should get a different one.”
“Yup, I’ve heard him say that. And ya know, I agree.”
“So do I, the only problem is that it applies to everyone except me. It doesn’t matter what I want, it’s all about him and this stinking mill.”
“What, ya don’t like working here?” he said in disbelief.
“No I don’t. I hate this place.”
The old-timer stoked his chin as he replied, “Well, if ya don’t like it, why don’t ya leave.”
“I can’t quit,” he spat, desiring to add ‘you fool’. “Dad has already planned the rest of my life here at the mill. I have no choice.”
“Ya don’t say. How old are ya boy?”
“Seems to me, a boy your age ought to be able to do what he wants.”
“Maybe in your world, but not mine.”
“What do ya think would happen ifen ya told your pa ya was leaving?” he said with a twinkle in his eye. He grunted and said, “Just a thought boy. I gotta git going, but ya all think on it a bit.”
He sat, working up the courage to confront his dad, when, as fate would have it, his father chose that moment to yell out to him, “Hey boy, you going to sit there all day dreaming, times a wasting. Get back to work.”
“Yes sir,” he muttered, realizing he would never have the courage to leave.
The old man’s question haunted him like the Ghost of Christmas future. Day after day he fantasized about what it would be like to be free from the mill.
“If I could do anything in the world, what would it be?” he thought.
Ideas flooded his mind like an overflowing dam, carrying him to far away lands with exotic employment opportunities. He strained all the ideas through the filter of his mind and let them drip one by one to his heart, like a drip coffeemaker. He quickly discovered that every idea had a common element. His dream struck him like a falling tree; he wanted to be a writer.
“A writer,” his father shouted. “Are you crazy? You can’t write, and even if you could, there’s nothing in that thick head of yours that people would want to read. Get your head out of the clouds boy and back to work; now,” he said dismissing him.
“No,” he hissed with quiet determination. It had taken him five weeks to drum up the courage to confront his dad; he was not going to be stopped now.
“What did you say?“ his father bellowed, turning to face him.
“I said no, sir. I’ve thought about this and decided that I am not going to stay and take over the mill.” He stiffened his spine and said, “I am going to be a writer.”
“What’s gotten into you boy? Where did this stupid idea come from? You been talking to that musician again?”
“No dad, I simply realized that I need to follow my dream.”
“I don’t believe this,” he said throwing up his hands. “I gave you everything you ever wanted and this is the thanks I get. I built this for you and now you want to walk away.”
“No dad, you built it for yourself. You say you want to give it to me, but it will be yours until the day you die. I love you, but I can’t stay any longer.”
“What about your mother? You going to leave her too?”
“This is something I have to do, she will understand.”
“You little ingrate. If you were younger, I’d take you over my knee and whip the tar out of you.”
“Maybe so dad, but I’m not and you won’t.”
His father’s face turned crimson, as his body began shaking with rage. He reached out to grab his son to shake some sense into him, but stopped unexpectedly, a cruel smile forming on his face. In a calm voice, edged with steel, he said, “If that is what you want, go ahead, makes no difference to me. But know this, when you walk out that door, you’re finished. I’ll disinherit you and make sure you can’t get a job anywhere. Maybe when you’re starving, some sense will come back into that thick skull of yours. Only then it’ll be too late; I won’t let you back. What will you do then dreamer? You walk out that door, plan on never coming home again.”
He stood in shock, conflict written all over his face. Was his dream big enough and real enough to give up everything he loved? Slowly, his head and shoulders wilted in resignation of his fate.
“Ha,” his father shouted. “I knew you couldn’t do it, you little wienie. Now, get back to work and never talk to me of dreams again.”
A renewed determination stirred in his soul, starting in his toes, working upward, causing his chin to lift in victory. He looked his father in the eye, saluted smartly, said, “Good bye, sir,” and executed a snappy ‘about face’ that would have made a crusty old Drill Sergeant smile.