The old man had entered the contest for wood sculpting six months ago. Now, at the deadline, it was finished. As the crowd walked by and viewed his creation, they remarked that he should not have carved a living tree. His vision wouldn’t have worked on a dead one.
As more people viewed it, he wondered if the world had forgotten abstract art. Did everything have to be realism? He got angrier by the minute at their criticisms and tried to explain abstraction.
He got angry and threw his ax in the middle of the tree.
“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” That old quote popped into her head at 4 a.m. It wouldn’t be daylight soon this morning since the Earth was spinning toward the shortest day of the year. She was still awake at this ungodly hour, as she often was, yearning for the light.
She couldn’t sleep until it was daylight. The old dreams, the terrible dreams of her childhood, haunted her, and she knew she couldn’t sleep until dawn when they would subside. She remembered them when she awoke, screaming, but only for a few seconds. Only the light chased them away.
Doors to her were only a symbol. They had always kept her out, excluded her. From the time she was a child, she’d felt like she was on the outside looking in. She wondered if that clear blue pane would allow her to see inside. No doubt it was one-way glass. Doors were always one-way.
Since she’d become an adult and developed courage, she’d insisted on being allowed into the doors she thought were important to her. A difficult door had been to her career. It was not a career particularly open to women in those days. She had to push her way, kicking and screaming through that closed and locked door. It disillusioned her. During her career, she had to knock down one door after another.
Now she found herself fighting against the most difficult door of all. Time and age. This time, she wanted to stay on this side of that door, but she was being pulled toward it by an irresistible force. She didn’t want to go.
She watched him when he was a fawn. Come summer, he grew spikes. A young buck. He was unafraid of her. He grew accustomed to her apples. He came to the porch and snatched the food from her hand. She grew to love him that winter. She was alone.
The next summer, he was a four-point buck. He came to the porch. She tried to make him go away, fearful he was too accustomed to people.
It’s been ten years. An old buck comes to the porch. He takes the apples. She knows by his eyes that it’s him.
”Guy’s, isn’t is great to be out on our own today?”
”Jack, thanks for setting up this half-day in the balloon for us,” replied one of the guys.
Jack, Phil, and Carter were all good friends. They often worked twelve or fourteen hours a day. They barely had time to see their wives and kids. They had little time to see their friends. They talked frequently and recently, they had talked about how tired and stressed they all were. Jack decided to plan something fun for them. He needed time with his friends. He knew they all did.
Their half-day in the balloon was great. When they went for drinks afterward, the talk turned to their wives. They were also friends and they worked hard. Each one had a good job and they had the extra job of child care. The men were sensitive to that. They decided that they would plan a spa day for their wives and they would handle child care and the household for the day.
When the guys got home, they were more relaxed. They told their wives they were planning a spa day for them. That night, the three households were happy.
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding
Thanks to Susan for taking over Sunday Photo Fiction!