The Weight (Tidbit Thursday 8/15/13)

The Weight

The dust hung in the air like it’s own atmosphere. It choked and obscured. The flickering torches lining the hallway clung to each speck and illuminated the space far more than they should’ve. The scurrying of vermin and all manner of creatures filled the space between the crunching of feet on the layer of bones on the ground. At the end of the hallway a plain door hung precariously on it’s hinges and behind that, power.

Judah pushed the door open. His faithful servant and mentor, Cristoph, hung back. His timidness was palpable. Inside the room was another array of torches. They filled the circular area, from the floor all the way to the ceiling that was well over one hundred feet high. At the center a clay pedestal raising chest high held the trophy Judah had journeyed so far for.

“Is that it?” Judah asked.

“Yes.”

A dried out piece of oat. That’s all that sat upon the pedestal. To most, it’d seem like

a piece of debris that just seemed to accumulate through the constant passage of time. It held little heft. As Judah and Cristoph hovered over it, it trembled under the force of their breaths.

“Tell me the story again.” Judah said.

“Sir, I’ve told you the story since you were a child.”

“I know old man, but we’ve come so far we should savor the moment. What better way than remembering why we set out in the first place.”

“Very well.”

In a time, before the majesty of man that you know, there was a lonely hero. He traversed the savage land bringing peace where he could and vanquishing the beasts that others couldn’t. His deeds were well known and gave birth to many other adventurers whose only goal was to find him and enlist his service.

One of these adventurers indeed found him and told him about a terrible beast that was plaguing his homelands. The beast released the rains from its mouth and upon his back an entire mountain. It’s feet replaced homes with the mark of the crescent moon. Nothing the people did could stop the beast. They needed the hero and he wouldn’t forsake them.

When he reached the tormented lands they greeted him with a road covered in flowers. He passed by all the celebrations and ceremony and set off for the beast right away. His stare passed by all the beautiful women who threw themselves at him. His nose never even caught the scents of the myriad of foods prepared for him. His focus was towards the horizon, his purpose was the beast anything other than that simply wouldn’t do.

He journeyed another day in search for the evil he was called on to vanquish. In the dead of the night, he found it. The tales of the beast had not misled him. This beast was truly a sight to behold. A mountain on its back, a mouth wide enough to hold a storm and feet like slices of the moon. The battle ensued.

For days, then weeks, then years the hero fought the beast. Day in and day out he plunged his weapons into his foe. He schemed and plotted but at no point did he ever feel as if he could win. As the tenth year of the fight began the hero began to lose hope. There was simply nothing he could do it seemed.

During one of their skirmishes the hero and the beast rolled through a dried field of oats. Once the fray had ceased for the day the hero noticed something. The oats clung to the mountain upon the beast’s back, yet the beast paid it no mind. The hero saw victory.

For another five years, once the fields had been harvested and nothing but the dried stalks remained, the hero would lead the beast into the fields and fight until nightfall. Eventually oats clung to every inch of the mountain on the beasts back. The hero noticed how the creature slowed and grew sluggish. It roared under the burden of the oat stalks. Finally, when the beast couldn’t move anymore, the hero moved to remove it from existence. He took one final stalk and began to climb the beast. Once he reached the very top he placed the oats upon the beast.

All at once, the sound of thunder exploded from within the beast as it’s bones snapped under the weight of the oats. It roared and screamed as life left it’s colossal form. Finally after fifteen long years of battle, the beast was dead, felled by a simple stalk of oat.

“This is that stalk.” Judah interrupted.

“Yes, that’s it. Rumored to hold the power to topple anything. It’s said that it can crush kingdoms and any foe large or small.”

“Which is what I intend to do. With this-”

“But, sir.”

“The straw that broke the camel’s back!”  

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A Family Tree Grows Where It Wants

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I never had the family I wanted. That’s the selfish, childish and ridiculous truth. It’s the truth that I am most ashamed about, but is also the most concrete. A lot of people make the same joke/quip about families and friends, something along the lines of choosing friends and being stuck with the family, but in this case, my longing is completely my choice. I think.

I’m an only child. I really hope you aren’t making the “wha!?” face that I seem to get whenever I tell people that. I read recently that “single child families” were on the rise, so hopefully there will be a generation of kids who don’t have to deal with that face. But, I’m not lucky enough to belong to that group, my generation is chock full of siblings. Which may be why I always wanted one so damn badly.

A lot of people tell me that I’m lucky to be an only child. I didn’t have to share my toys, all the allocated resources for children belonged to me and there was never a shortage of attention. This is true, but the loneliness, the quiet, the blame and the attention were all mine as well. It’s really hard to explain to people with siblings about the downsides of being an only child. I imagine it might be hard to explain to me about some of the troubles of siblings, I guess it’s just a case of that legendary greener grass.

The loneliness is the,biggest one. See, my parents both worked. We weren’t rich by any means. But we weren’t poor either, due to the dual contributions from my mom and dad. This meant I had a lot of time to myself. Even as a young child. I had my action figures, and video games to keep me busy but those games often had two player options and I had enough toys to fill at least ten hands.

I always had a lot of friends. In fact, I generally made it a point to make as many as I could. I wonder now, if I did this as a way to fill the void. To trick myself into thinking that I wasn’t an only child, it’s just my brothers and sisters were given to other parents, for economic reasons or something like that. I have to admit, it was nice. I didn’t have to make all the sound effects for the tiny wars my plastic soldiers were waging and I was able to hone my skills in Street Fighter on a human opponent. But, they all eventually went home or I was sent away to my abode. Then I was once again growing up with shadows.

As I grew older the desire for siblings changed to a different sort of want. In a way I suppose my longing grew. I no longer just wanted a brother or sister, I wanted the BIG family. I wanted that family that you’d see in Christmas movies. Just scores of cousins and uncles and aunts all gathering in “big momma’s” kitchen. There were little inside jokes, hidden resentments, tender moments and singing, fucking A there was singing. I never had that.

Don’t get me wrong, in terms of extended family, mine is not small. Yet, I never felt like we were very close. Maybe it’s because we lacked a certain “older generation” component. See, all my grandparents passed before I was born. The closest I had was my great-aunt and great-uncle. To be fair, I do remember spending a lot of time in their apartment as a child. I’d play with some cousins while the older people conversed, read the newspaper, argued over the crossword puzzle and whatever else grown-ups do in living rooms. It just felt like it was passing through. Like we were there fulfilling an obligation rather than celebrating a bond.

Okay, here’s the caveat. When I talk about my extended family, I’m talking about my father’s side. I to this day, still don’t know many people from my mom’s side. Also, I only spent 9 years or so living in close proximity to a lot of my extended family. A job moved my parents and I away, so I admit that my cousins’ experiences are probably much different than mine. Understand that those observations are through the filter of a 20-something writer trying to remember an eight-year old’s perception.

The idea of family has been on my mind alot lately. Most likely because I’m getting to that age when people generally start families. Even though, if all goes to plan, I won’t be having children for a while, I can’t fight the thoughts of them. I think about if I’ll have more than one and if I do how I can’t possibly help them when it comes to dealing with a sibling. I have no experience. I worry that they might miss out on something because they won’t have any aunts or uncles from my side. I’m scared that they’ll never have those “movie Christmases” and end up writing a blog about it when they’re my age.

I suppose all this worrying stems from my growing sentimentality. Just the other day I found myself tearing up a little while listening to a song that I clearly remember playing multiple times in a row as a child, just because it made my mom cry, which I thought was funny. I’m contemplating the idea of legacy and roots a lot, not in an academic way either. I want my children (if they ever exist) to want their family. It terrifies me that they won’t.

Earlier I said that I never had the family I wanted and this was my choice. It’s true that I had no control over siblings or location or untimely deaths, but I had control over my perspective. I realize that there are people out there who had absolutely horrific experiences with their family and still do. I realize that there are people out there who are in the same situation as I am but feel no longing. I realize that I am, in a certain way, choosing to be discontent with the way things are. Maybe a few more rings in my trunk will change that or at least give me the map that leads to a feeling of completeness. I really hope so.

Don’t get me wrong though, I do love my family. People say that you’re forced to love your family. That’s a damn lie. But for me, I choose to love them. Even if it’s not everything I always wanted.

Forks (Tidbit Thursday 8/1/13)

Forks

Brian drove the beat up Ford Taurus over the gravel parking lot before coming to a stop in front of the ocean. It was a spectacular view; the waves were gentle and expressive, the sun was procrastinating in the purple sky and the wind carried just enough wind to remind him that Autumn wasn’t quite there yet. He shut the car off and looked over at his passenger.

“Here we are.” Brian said.

“Yep. This is the place.” His passenger said just before he pulled the shiny pistol from his jacket.

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