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You can't outgrow anything, least of all yourself.
Calliope Irja Pearl Nelson
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL ADDRESS
Calliope Irja Pearl Nelson
When I was a boy, my country was torn in thirds. Everyday, stepping out to go for a swim, stepping out, with wood under your arm, an axe on your back, was dancing on the edge of suicide.
I would sit and stare at the floor, minutes through hours, narrowly avoiding death. How time flies! I used my wits, my uniquely Childhood imagination make that dirt floor into something it was not.
And could not, be.
Then, quite suddenly, I glimpsed paradise in startched linen.
I never knew that peace and hope could be contained in a seemingly worthless hole. Barely bigger than a pinprick in starched linen, that hole was my key; mine, to a colorful, whimsical fantasy. What I believed Earth would become, and if I could, I would make it so. I think I may have known I imagined Destinations.
I saw rolling green hills in the light of the morning, the grass rippling and the flowers opening.
Nighttime brought men beating their drums, sweaty and concentrating so hard they just barely forgot the Earth. Women and children dancing around the fire, smiles concretely etched on their dark faces.
I could sit in the filthy dirt transfixed for days by what I saw, my Mother washing clothing just outside door. In a detached corner of my mind, I prayed for her survival.
The magic contained within the hole in the wall never faded, it was my imagination that broke.
I left when war broke out. I left after my Mother died, before I died too.
I lived in a village not so far away.
I bought a cow.
I grew up;
I married a woman whose smile concretely etched her dark face. I carried wood under my arm and an axe on my back, no longer dancing with suicide. I passed by old childhood home, that hole tugging my heart and tickling my stomach. And I had dared to think I had forgotten about my Paradise.
Then, quite suddenly I knew: I can glimpse my Paradise.
I knew my childhood home was rotten and stale. Was my Childhood rotten too?
The wood rest on the floor like the peace after the war, the calm before the storm. Holes littered the rotted linen, but I found my hole, one pinprick among thousands. I prayed my imagination still worked, that my Childhood was still intact on some distant plane, whole, my imagination fresh. I glanced in the hole, my heart heavy.
Would I see nothing?
I saw myself.
I knew and I shake my head.
How simple paradise is! How naive was I not to recognize the woman whose smile concretely etched her dark face, dancing, would be my wife, and, the man beating his drum while sweaty, concentrating so hard, he almost forgot? He was what I was going to become.
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"A very thought provoking story. And you are right, you can't outgrow yourself." -- Jacqué June, United States.
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© 2009 Calliope Irja Pearl Nelson
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