Short fiction about a boy...
|The first time I noticed Tripoli, I melted into tears.|
As I went around the shopping mall, I caught a glimpse of a boy sitting in a corner of an intersection of two streets. I was shaken as I stared at him, his eyes were staring ahead, he seemed totally alone. People just walked around him, not a single individual even looked him nor gave an inkling he was there. My heart bled.
I started toward him, when in an instant he got up and walked away from me. I followed him, kept up with him as he seemed oblivious of his surrounding. I was a mere three feet from him when he began to run. I called out to him, however, he did not hear me because the crowd of people around him were as noisy as the street noise of vehicles on the road. I started to run as well, however, he obviously did not hear me because he crossed the road, turned a corner, and that was the last I saw of him.
The next day, I drove around the same corner where I first noticed him. And there he was, totally alone among the crowds. Immediately I found a parking on the other side of the road, got out of my car, and started to walk towards him. I stopped short of about three feet from him. I was held by the sadness in his eyes, the emptiness of his stare, and the lack of color on his face.
I stood across from him, my heart was full of dread, of pity and a tingling of emotions that brought tears to my eyes. In my heart, l wanted to hold him, to tell him I was there for him, to care for him if he was lost. I was mesmerized by the way his arms seemed empty as they were folded across his chest. I noticed, however, that his clothing were neat and clean; and I could not understand why he should sit at the corner. Was he waiting for someone who left him behind? That he must wait at that corner until whoever left him came back to pick him up?
I wiped away my tears. When I looked up, the corner was empty again.
I went back to the corner a number of times. I wanted to have a conversation with Tripoli. However, weeks passed without seeing him again. Still my interest about him grew. I decided to walk near and around the area where his corner was. Then one day, I noticed an elderly man sitting on a chair in his front yard. I put on a brave face, asked him from where I was a few feet from him if I could talk to him. Well, I was just overjoyed because he asked me to approach him.
I told him what I wanted to talk to him about. I described Tripoli and sort of opened my heart to him. Well, for goodness sake, it sort of happened that he knew Tripoli. The following was his story:
Tripoli was the son of a musician who used to live next door to him. When Tripoli's family moved next door to him, there four of them: his Dad and Mom and another brother. The Dad was a lawyer and the. Mom was seamstress. They seemed a good family and he began to befriend the family. It turned out they, too, wanted to befriend him. To make the story short:
Tripoli and his younger brother went to a private high school. They loved soccer and so they became members of a team that was sponsored by the Neighborhood Association. Since Tripoli was two years older than his brother, he was allowed to join the team. His young brother became a team player two years later.
Tripoli was a serious young boy. He loved reading, going to the library to borrow books, and he loved to write little pieces of work. In fact, he loved to write poetry as much as he loved to play soccer. In fact, he was the number one player in his team because he was awfully good at kicking the ball into the goal.
Well it happens that one day when the Neighborhood team competed against another team from the next village, Tripoli got hurt when the football hit him on his back. The number of days he spent at the hospital to repair his back grew to weeks and weeks. He became awfully bored that even reading became a problem for him. Then, his Dad, unfortunately, had a car accident and passed away. His mother was terribly patient and nursed Tripoli at home. Tripoli was affected by his Dad's passing, and he became a recluse. He refused to get out of bed.
The one good thing that happened was Tripoli finally got better, and he was able to get out of bed without feeling excruciating pain. He began to go to the gym and did a lot of exercises that made him stronger. He rejoined the soccer team. It took him sometime before he was able to kick the ball to the net, and regained his position as team captain.
Then another tragedy happened. Tripoli's mother collapsed one day from a heart attack. She, too, passed away within days of the attack. Tripoli and his brother became despondent. Tripoli's brother began to drink, smoke, and finally he left the team because he could no longer play properly. He was always drunk.
Fortunately for them, their elderly neighbor attached himself to the boys, took care of them, and made sure they were both fed and clothed and continued with their sports. Although Tripoli practically cared for his brother with the help of the elderly neighbor, his brother joined gangs in the street. Even with the help of the elderly neighbor, his brother became abusive and wanted to fight Tripoli. One day Trippli revealed to the elderly neighbor that his brother had left home
Tripoli became very, very sad. He started looking for his brother, and the best way he knew how to do it was to sit at the corner, and hoped his brother would come to his senses and come home...
Fresh with the story from the elderly neighbor, I felt terribly sad. However, with the elderly neighbor by his side, I was certain that Tripoli would one day find his way back to smile again...