There was this boy. He grew up in the rural South. He drank Pepsi Cola from glass bottles. He ate Nabs. He worked in tobacco fields at the age of twelve. He dreamed. His imagination was his escape. It was his portal. At a young age, he knew other realms existed. You just had to be willing to find them. He wrestled a beanbag on his trampoline and gave it top rope elbows and missile drop kicks from the highest step on a ladder and defended his title every other day of the week in a packed out arena. He found fallen tree branches in the shapes of guns and freed hostages with them as the enemy invaded his yard. He played numerous grass court basketball games with his cousins, who lived on his unpaved road, each game being played like a championship being watched by thousands of screaming fans when the only things that were watching, were trees, clouds, and birds and whoever was rocking on the front porch. Life was simple. Life was carefree. He lived it. It didn't live him. Yet. The second hand kept ticking... There was this boy. He grew up. He went to high school. He drank Coca Cola from cans. He continued to eat Nabs. He worked the tobacco fields during the summer. And surfed. And skateboarded. And skim boarded. And played paintball. And chased girls. He didn't jump on the trampoline, unless it was to show off. The wrestling ring started weathering. The springs were neglected. The flexible mat saw rain. Wind. Dark, lonely nights. Frost covered morns. No more elbow drops from atop ladders. No more missile drop kicks. No pins to the count of three and a triumphant champion crowned. He quit looking for fallen tree branch guns to protect the perimeter around his house from those that sought to do it harm. The grass court basketball games ceased. Him and his cousins took a recess. Mildew started covering the backboards. The nylon nets dry rotted. The chain nets froze in rust. The small patches of dirt were overtaken by fresh grass. The basketballs dry rotted and disappeared. As did the bicycles. As did the adventures. As did the hideouts. As did the togetherness. As did innocent mischievousness. People exchanged their front porch rocking chairs for leather recliners in front of televisions. The realms not of Earth still existed, as did the portals to these places. He just chose to ignore them. Life was becoming complicated. Life was not seeming so carefree. He lived it, yes, but it started taking pieces away from him, in its own way. People died. People broke this boy's heart. He broke other people's hearts in return. Reciprocation overtook forgiveness. Dial up transformed into a cable connection. He exchanged a home phone for a mobile one. Was this the future he had waited so long to experience, to absorb and enjoy so he could be free? Were these the moments he rushed his childhood for and now there was no turning around, to go back to a day that was more simple, a day of less stress, confusion, or worry, a day when things were actually okay? The second hand kept ticking... There was this boy. He went off to college. He was lucky enough to commute from home. He received scholarships so the monetary burden was not heavy. He did good for the first couple of years. Then he decided to exchange his imagination - for recreation. His grades declined, but he maintained three point zero. He changed majors from Criminal Justice, to English, back to Criminal Justice. He went from protecting the perimeter of his house to becoming an enemy that infiltrated it. He found the wrong crowd. He became the wrong crowd. He had fun. Enough fun to kill three normal people. He had the time of his life and learned his lessons the hard way. He found ways around the system. He found ways to bend the truth. He found ways to be an honest liar. He found out how to be sneaky. He was supposed to be discovering who he was, when all he did, was lose a piece of himself with each passing week. He forgot about trampolines. He forgot about wrestling matches. He forgot about being champion. He forgot about elbow drops. He forgot about missile drop kicks. He forgot about basketball games. He forgot about cousins. He forgot about tobacco fields. He forgot about the sound the basketball net made on a perfect swish. He forgot about tobacco barn hideouts. He forgot about his childhood. Instead of looking at the world from the front porch, people locked themselves inside their house, ate in front of the television, and abandoned the dining room table. Instead of looking at the world from his own imagination, he locked his own soul inside a stone wall. He graduated on time, but at what cost? Was this the future he had waited so long to be a part of, a future that television had brainwashed him into believing, a future filled with so much promise? Were these the moments that he rushed his high school years for? Hackey sacking in the hallways and catching girls' eyes at the lunch tables had transformed into carrying bags, ditching class, and making sure supply met demand. The boy knew there was a time machine somewhere. Right? Maybe? Then it landed in his lap. A way for him to reconnect with his portal, at the expense of his parent's wallet. His first laptop. He began writing his first book. His imagination was not finished with him even though he was finished with it. The day came. He heard something. A calling. Voices from his friends. From the people he left behind in his realm. From the portal that still had a crack in the door. The memories came rushing at him all at once. They needed him, and he knew he would need them in the future. They had something to say, as did he. Together, they were the voice's voice. The second hand kept ticking... There was this boy. Life after college went like this. He wanted to get his Masters in clinical social work. Instead, he decided to help the family business. He dated. He married. He continued to write from his imagination. He continued to drown real life with recreation. He commuted two hours to work every day. He was a pessimist by the company he kept. His heart remained hard as stone, to protect him from the arrows of life that were darted his way every day. He made a friend that remains a close brother - a friend that makes the best mashed potatoes - a friend that will always have a special slot in his soul. This boy questioned his place in life. This boy believed he had no purpose. This boy wanted to run away. This boy wanted a fresh start, in another state, on another coast, or another planet. People hurt his feelings. He hurt those people back. There was no faith. No love. No hope. No childlike wonder. This boy and his wife had a kid. They got a divorce. He moved back home. The basketball goal was still hanging. Fallen tree branches littered the ground, and fake guns had been exchanged for real ones. People were focused on shooting real bullets. He knew imaginary ones were far more dangerous. All his cousins had moved away, as had the memories of the past. This was going to be a moment of self discovery for him. Of growing up. Of becoming an adult. Of purging one's life of the darkness. Of replacing negativity with positivity. Of going from the mindset that - you should not own a handgun unless you know what it tastes like - to - putting the guns away altogether and - grabbing a walking stick. This boy discovered that the only weapons he needs is his gift and the things that are attached to the ends of his arms. This boy's imaginary friends seemed more real to him than some of the people he actually knew. That told him one thing. It was time for him to move on. He reconnected with some people from his past, special people, people who he knew would understand the journey that lay before them. Even though he turned his back on his imagination, his realm never turned its back on him. It was time for him to accept this fact. Life was hard, but it was worth it. Life was not easy to figure out, but there was sense to make of it. Childhood was a faint memory. Adolescence was a tart reminder of what used to be. He missed high school. He had angst toward college. He did not want to be an adult anymore, but he had to be. A lot of things depended on it. A weathered trampoline continued to sit in the yard. The second hand kept ticking... There was this boy. He kept his heart guarded. He maintained his weekly responsibilities. He paid his taxes. He never missed a child support payment. He struggled. He was fine being alone. He let go of his anger. It would try to return. He let go of the darkness. It would try to return. He rediscovered his imagination. He faced adversity. Even though his heart was hardened, he let the right ones in. He became a constant in a sea of variables. He wrote even though he knew nobody would read what he had to say until many years down the road. It strengthened him unlike any other writer. He wrote when others told him to quit. He wrote when others giggled at his dream. He wrote when others questioned him. He wrote when the times were good. He wrote when the times were bad. He wrote when the truth was confusing. He wrote when lies made sense. He wrote when people hurt him. He wrote when he hurt them back. He wrote when people loved him. He wrote when people disliked him. He wrote for his past self. He wrote for his present self. He wrote like his future depended on it. He made mistakes. He made more accomplishments. He sobered up, recreationally and emotionally. He became a metaphysical powerhouse. Two of his cousins moved back to his street. One would think they were too old to rekindle the championships of old, and a black hole of epic proportions would be created if they did, so, maybe it's safer for now if they didn't. He ran into a childhood friend. She taught him how to trust. She taught him how to heal. She wiped the dust from his shelved created works, and said, "Do something with this!" He married her. His son moved away, not by his choosing, but more of a forced situation. He went from getting an unconditionally loving piece of his soul back, seeing it, holding it, making memories with it, it loving him back, every weekend, every holiday, every birthday, to hardly seeing or holding him at all. Technology gave him a way out for the time being. He faced those demons head-on from day one. They exhausted their own self battling him because that boy, who used to drink Pepsi Cola from bottles, wore his armor. That boy kept his chin up. That boy re-found his faith. That boy began to love himself. That boy had more hope than entire populations. That boy believed so others would with him. That boy knew there was a epic plan at work, and it would be years before all the hardships made sense. That boy faced his fears, alone, he cried his tears, alone, he questioned God, alone, then found Him in the answers because he discovered he was never alone in the first place. One day, this boy knows things will be different, and there is nothing that anybody on this planet can do about it. There are walking sticks in various corners of his house. If wander he must do in order for balance to exist, he keeps sandals at the back door. He found nostalgia in childhood. He found happiness in adolescence. He found understanding in high school. He found closure in college. He found irony in his early adult years. He accepted his calling. The basketball goal still hung on a weathered telephone pole. He took apart his trampoline and gave it away after his son moved. There was work to be done. The second hand kept ticking... There was this boy. He lost his stable job of fifteen years. Times were tough. He found a part time job. Times got tougher. Blessings came from places unknown. He survived. This boy and his wife tried to have a kid. There were obstacles. Doctors said it would not happen. She took medicine. It still did not happen. They questioned their hope. It still did not happen. They prayed over dinner. It still did not happen. Their faith was tested. Faith that is not tested is not faith. They made a choice. They continued to believe. They let go of control. She quit taking medicine. A worldwide virus came, a control mechanism unlike any other. Three months later, the boy's wife found out she was pregnant. A manifested miracle. He asked the important questions. "Why do I spend so much time in doubt?" "Why do I think the possible is impossible?" "What happens when I let go then let God?" The boy transcends the monotony of the every day. The boy enlightens his soul and others in the process, if they allow it. He is the type of friend he'd like to have. The boy takes away the clouded lenses. The boy constantly changes his perception. He believes in the grand scheme. He realizes what the realm he saw truly was. He realizes why those portals existed in his childhood. He realizes why the universe chose him. On a recent visit, he watches his eldest son, a son who he waits to see for months on end, try to shoot hoops on his old depilated goal at his old homestead, and when the ball hits it, the goal almost falls from the post. He watches his eldest son ride the property on a golf cart with his B B gun and defend the property against invisible foes. He hears stories of his eldest son playing imaginary games, while jumping on his trampoline, thousands of miles away from where he currently lives. The younger son grows in the belly of the girl who told the boy to, "shake the dust off of his dream and chase it." Each time the boy writes, he gets better and better, and his ideas flourish, and his creativity captivates, and his imagination soars, and his style transforms and mutates, and attaches to whoever reads his work, and the boy's heart mends with each tap of the keys so the reader can connect and heal as he has, because he cares for them and never wants them to feel as low as he used to, when he though thought life was going to be okay even if it wasn't, during a point in time when lies were disguised as truth but no more because we choose to see the world for what it is and we're tired of being tricked into believing that we deserve a lesser life than the one we currently live and dream about. The second hand keep ticking... There was this boy, could easily be changed into, there was this girl. There was this girl, could easily be changed into, this could be you. Not all of it, of course, but maybe parts of it? Where were you during childhood, Imagination? Where were you during adolescence, Sense of wonder? Where were you during high school, Exploration? Where were you during college? Questioning God and answering the World? Where are you now? The boy was finding balance while on his way. During all of it, the second hand of the clock never stopped and gave him a break while he took a breather, or found better footing, or unkinked the water hose, or found forgiveness, or apologized to himself for losing himself and for not being himself when he should have loved himself more so he could have loved others better than what he did, even though they were far from perfect. The world kept him drunk long enough with open ended promises full of doubt, when all he needed to do was be the man that he was destined to be, and, let go of the illusion that life would be different or better if he had made better choices. If that boy made better choices, then these words would not exist. For him or you. These writings would not be touching your soul, in a moment when you need them the most, because you feel like your drowning, and nobody will throw you a vest, except the writer writing these words, crafting you a flotation device in a world where people would rather flounder than swim. They would rather doggy paddle than breaststroke because they are at odds with their soul instead of being one with it. The second hand kept ticking... There was this boy. He splashed water on his face one morning. Facial hair covered his cheeks and chin. There were a couple of wrinkles next to his eyes. There were three stray, gray hairs in his beard. His heart was full. His countenance was scarred. His blessings were many. He thought about his dreams and where they were going to lead him. He never liked looking in a mirror. Not because he hated himself. Not because he thought he was unattractive, but because it reminded him of time. He remembered his basketball court. He remembered his trampoline. He remembered elbow dropping the bean bag. He remembered being the champion. He remembered high school. He remembered catching girls' eyes - nostalgia. He remembered college. He remembered rolling eyes - sweet bitter nostalgia. He remembered being young. He remembered eyes full of wonder - bitter sweet nostalgia. He prepared to dress himself, to face another day, to live life a different way, to say the things he needed to say. Then, his phone rang. The call was important. He answered it. The person on the other end spoke. The boy closed his eyes. The past made sense. The present witnessed it. The future welcomed him. He was finally at peace. The second hand of the clock kept ticking... There was this boy. You want to know what he did? He
There are four kinds of people on this planet: 1. People who do not believe in miracles. 2. People who pray for miracles. 3. People who become a miracle for others. 4. People who have been numbers 1-3. What's your excuse?
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4 Replies to “The Second Hand”
Nice bro I have seen these times and we all have learned and to hear and see how far you have come no words can tell how proud I am to call you family Sent from my iPhone
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Thanks brother. I appreciate the compliment. We all have come a long way. I’m proud of you dude and am glad you are in our lives.
Vernon that was great. It made me cry. It was a walk down memory lane. It’s your story. That would be a good movie or book. The man in the mirror. I loved it. You are so gifted. Love you
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Thank you. That it was. Eh, I wouldn’t want to bore people, haha. Thanks. Love you.