A Short Story/Prose about a relationship between a father and son.
Crouching on the sandy landing across the way a man is teaching two boys how to skip stones across the water. He looks around and searches for the perfect stone; flat and smooth. The two boys too look around and hold each rock up for the man to examine and approve. The man positions a stone perfectly between his forefinger and thumb showing the two boys the proper way, and then winds his arm all the way back from his side, then with all his might swings forward whipping his hand around releasing the stone to glide above the water skipping across until it slows to a stop and sinks to its final resting place. Every rock the man throws skips perfectly seemingly with no effort. But, when the two boys attempt to throw, the stones they release fly amiss from the harmony and sink in disappointment just a few feet away. And, they begin to cry at their failure. The man picks them up, each one, and he comforts them. He wipes their tears and he shows them a few more times how it is done, and they try again, and again, until finally they each skip a stone across the calm water, and there is joy and celebration.
A man, and a young man in the beginnings of adulthood were walking along the Causeway, they were talking, and their voices carried low across the lake. They stopped along the way a few times for the young man to make his point. It was more a one-sided argument from all appearances, but the man was calm and looked at the younger man with kind eyes and together they walked on, and the man put his arm around the young man. I think then, all was well.
He was old, and he was frail. He smiled trustingly and put his hand firmly in the hand of the younger man, and holding a wooden walking stick that looked as ancient as himself he walked slowly and gingerly down the steep hill from the top of the Causeway. The younger man seemed patient and in no hurry, he was kind and was loving toward the Old Man. And Together they walked along Water Street stopping a moment to look out upon the water as the Old Man pointed over showing the younger man something I could not see; for I was on the shore across the way. The Old Man was content, and he smiled often, talking, and touching the younger man’s face.
Fathers and Sons, together will carry the burdens of life and find their place. They will seek joy in the simpler things, and will live their lives vicariously through one another. The son, in adulation and imitation will become a better version of the man his father was. The father through his sons will live his dreams and desires and will push away his own failures of life, and they shall walk side by side. Fathers teaching sons, and sons learning. And, when the end of days come the sons will carry their fathers as the fathers had carried them through the beginnings of life, and together they will walk the surly bonds of this earth to a place where the son will let go of his father’s hand as the everlasting calls him. It is then, the son becomes the father and will teach his sons and his sons will one day teach their sons and on and on, and the circle will be unbroken.
My father is gone now. But, before he left he imparted upon me wisdom that I have never forgotten. When I look back I am haunted; for I had often refused to hear the words he had spoken. But, I believe he has risen above the mountains and his words call down to me and play over and over in my soul. He never gave up on his son. I am envious of fathers and the sons they have turned into men, because unlike them I had never walked with my father along that Causeway called Water Street, though often we stood together on the shoreline across the way and watched with curiosity.
I regret that I had never gone fishing with my father, or ever skipped stones across those calm waters, or held his frail hand in his last days. Now, I am old, and I have no sons. But as I have learned to fish on my own I stand in the water casting a line that dances across mingled with the words of life that echo from above, and I feel the presence of my father. He tells me things, and I listen.