Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Song

The house was old, and small, and seemed to be wasting away. It was made of wood bleached by the sun and worn by the wind. There was no one there -it had been empty for many years. It stood by the beach with the tide never quite reaching it, even during the bigger storms. In the afternoons, the wind threw playful gusts of sand on its roof while the house answered back whistling softly as it composed its own song.

The old man passed by every afternoon, slouching as he scoured the beach for coins and forgotten trinkets. He liked to watch and smell the sea as it is ever changing, never the same, but always familiar. Time had left its mark on him; his wrinkled face was like leather that had been soaked and dried again. His hands were large and still strong, with old scars and liver spots. He was smaller than he had been in earlier years and occasionally the pain in his limbs made him grimace but did not stop him.

In time they became acquainted. The old man was passing as usual; the house was humming its song. The wind was blowing playfully.

A shutter fell, its noise breaking their rhythm. Everything stopped. Slowly the wind began to blow and the house to sing, but without its former strength. The old man looked up and stared. For a moment he felt sad, as if some of his own vitality had been lost. He went up to the house, picked up the shutter and placed it carefully by the doorway.

Next day he returned to the beach. For the first time in many years he didn’t look for lost treasures, but went straight to the house. He carried a carpenter’s toolbox. He set to work, at a measured pace. Time slipped by, and he began to hum. It slowly dawned on him that he was sharing the house’s song. It was a soothing song and brought back memories of a younger man as he sailed the seas and heard the whales. After a while he sat down, thinking of the house, imagining the life it had held in days gone by. He became lost in his memories and gradually fell asleep.

He woke up but kept his eyes closed, enjoying the song. He realized that the tune had changed. Something had been added, it was louder and younger in a way. It made him restless and for the first time in many years he felt he should be with someone else.

He opened his eyes and saw a boy looking at him. He had enormous brown eyes and was humming the new song. It was full of life and hope.

“Granddad, let’s go home”.

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