Wednesday, August 09, 2006


The old man looked up again and stared at the boy. It was remarkable, the acquiline face, the little nose. Something inside the old man woke up . the Hunger had begun. The boy sat on the stone bench and ate the sandwich his father had made him, staring straight ahead at some pigeons, painfully aware of the old man who watched him. The boy was praying. Praying to a nameless god. Telling the deity that he should have gone to school, that he shouldnt be in the park so early in the morning when no one was around.

The old man walked up slowly to the boy and sat next to him. He continued staring at him, while the boy visibly stiffened. Finally the old man spoke up "Good morning , son" . The Boy looked up at the stranger, and noticed how there were beads of sweat on the man's forehead. How his eyes had a faint dazed look in them. He was growing scared and yet he could not move. In retrospect he would wonder why he never got up and ran.

The boy replied "Good morning" and lowered his head, looking at the ground, the sandwich in his hand long forgotten. The old man smiled "What are you doing in the park so early on a Sunday?" The boy looked up a little confused and murmured "Today's Wednesday" The old man shivered a little. There was silence around them, the little boy now quite scared, and the old man battling a demon that wouldn't rest. Finally he looked at the boy and whispered 'I can't help it, it eats me from inside. They said it was because of a similar experience as a boy" But I dont remember much of it now, memories from my youth have lost their place. I remember prison, the courts, the people who wanted me dead. But most of all, I remember the pleasure, the warmth of being with someone. The feeling of satisfaction later." The boy remained silent.

The old man touched his hair," so soft, mmmmm" but stopped suddenly. He looked at the boy again, and asked him "What is your name?". The boy replied "Daniel". The old man stared in silence and asked him "Your mother, she's not there anymore, is she?" , The boy looked into the old man's eyes and nodded. The old man stood up slowly. There were tears in his eyes, tears that flowed freely. "I'm so sorry, so very sorry." The boy felt something in the man's voice, a pain, one that had lasted years. That, coupled with his fears brought tears to his eyes too, he wanted to be home.

Finally the old man turned, weary and silent. He never said goodbye, he just walked away. That morning, an old man had found his redemption, and a little boy would never face his demons.