Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Old Man finds his Home....a story about real Love.................

The Old Man had decided to return to the village where he was born. It was time.
He had been gone for so long, decades, and had left as a young man.
He smiled as he sat on the bus that was bringing him back to his home,to his children, to his grandchildren.

He smiled with the smile of someone who knew far too much for anyone. He had plans, after all, plans that were a secret.Plans that no one in his family waiting for him could even begin to imagine.

He held his backpack close to his chest as he stared out the window of the bus. The rolling waves of telephone lines and grassy fields went by in a blur , the smells of humid soil he had long forgotten, and he knew he was smelling his old home. It wouldn't be long now. his daughter and her family were waiting for him at their house.


The family owned a small home, enough to accomodate 3 children, 2 parents, and a very lazy dog whose presence resembled that  of a rug most of the day. An easy family, loud and unassuming, they were proud of their achievements and the mere fact that they owned a home. It was their dream, and the young couple patted each other every chance they could get, whether through a look or an actual pat, it did not matter. They had created their dream, and their children played happily within that dream. The idea that their dream would end never occurred to them, because as with all young people, dreams they think they accomplished do not end.

This was , however, an important day. Grandpa was coming back to stay. Not just stay, but to live with them, in a small room they had built onto the house.

The father was pounding his chest silently with pride, his carpentry was a work of art, at least in his mind. The room was small, but mother had made sure, made certain, that Grandpa's old desk and chair were there, and Grandpa's old bed, with a new mattress. Mother was smoothing the sheets and coverlet when one of the boy children ran into the room.

"This room smells old!" he declared.

"Well.." said the mother "It has many old things in it. Look, over there. That's Grandpa's desk. Go on over there. Put your nose inside it."

The boy child hesitated, then walked over with the brave stride of the ninja, his light sabre still held tightly in his hand...the desk was dangerous territory..

he opened the rolltop and whiffed loudly...

"Momma! it smells OLD!"

He waved at the  evil oldness  with his sabre and ran out of the room. There were more important things to do then smell the desk of an old old man.

The mother laughed. She closed her eyes and thought of her father, so close now, arriving any minute, really. She remembered him as he laughed, his booming voice as she sat on his lap and he showed her his silly drawings he made. The desk was the smell of him, the tobacco, the oaken wood, even the lead of the pencil he would write with.

This would be a good day. Her father was finally coming home. She felt like she was 6 years old again. She so hoped he would be happy now, living with her and her husband , and the children.It had been so long...since he had seen happiness. Yes, she thought firmly, we will make him happy again!


The bus had kicked up it's last breath of stony road. It sat humming as the driver carefully unloaded packages and luggage and bins of whatnots from beneath the belly of it's ageing carcass. The old man had fallen asleep and rubbed his eyes when he realized he had finally reached his destination.

"That would be 3 days, 2 in a crowded airplane and one on a bus" he figured.

He removed the letter from his pocket, from his daughter, and read it.

"Dear Daddy! John and I have decided we want you to live with us! the children are so happy! You must! You must get over all of this, get over it all, you cannot keep holding all of those feelings, I KNOW you will be happy here! You cannot keep being sad, I just will not allow it! You moved away and left us all and have been gone far too long!  Just stop! Come live with us John has built you your own room and I have all your things in there! You have to stop thinking about the past dad!!! Anyway, John and I want you to know your grandchildren better!! We still need you, dad!!"

The old man sighed. He put the letter back in his pocket. He had read it a thousand times, he knew it by heart. He kept referring to it to justify, to remind himself that perhaps his daughter was correct. Perhaps she knew something he did not know.. Perhaps he could live with them and forget it all, what he needed not to think of, what he needed to bury. Perhaps the sound of lively children would bring him home, whatever home was, and perhaps this was now home. He had been away for many years.

He stepped off the bus, and the Midwestern sunshine of August warmed his face. He heard a voice call his name . He turned, and saw a man waving to him, a man he did not recognize at first. Then he remembered. That is my daughter's husband. The old man smiled, he was tired. He smiled with the recognition that this might, just might, be home. ...............home..........

The drive was not long, but the old man did not recognize his town. "My town" his thought laughed "my town" as though he somehow owned it . No, it had changed, but that did not bother him. He expected it, he was a master of change, and more change. He had embraced 'change' long ago, it was his friend now, and did not bother him in the least. He was always amused when he watched the young people encounter 'change' and also a little saddened for them when they balked at it. "Oh, well. they will learn." he would tell himself. Then, he would laugh at his own ill-begotten wisdom. "I guess I am an old man!" he would laugh again. It came out as a half chuckle.

"Hey, what was that? You glad to be Home? I heard you laugh!" the son in law spoke....

The old man noticed that his son in law wanted to talk. Lively fellow. Around 35. Had his hair nipped short, the old man noticed. Liked things clean. The car was clean. smelled like it had just been waxed. The old man buttoned his own open shirt collar. Might as well shape up.
"Just glad to be home." the old man accomodated his frisky son in law.
10 minutes, just 10 minutes to 'home', thought the old man, as his son in law made conversation. One way.

"Yeah, boy oh boy the kids can't wait to see you..I know you saw them when they were born...but boy have they grown!! Josh is 10 now! 10! Can you believe it!!? and Sarah is 8! She is such a little princess, but she sure has your eyes! and then there is Camden. You know, I hated that name at first but your daughter loved it so I said Okay I'll go along with it. We call him Cam, he is 6  now,,....gosh it's gonna be great the kids have a big big surprise in store for you just you wait! And that room you have..well, listen don't you worry about a thing I made sure it was well insulated! You won't hear those kids or  the lawnmower...I like a neat lawn....Nothing worse than a messy lawn to me.....hah...I like to keep busy, when I'm not at work, and you do know I'm still teaching math at the middle school, right? I sure do have my hands full, and so does your daughter, let me tell you she is so busy with the kids and she works part time at the Farmer's Market but you already know that, right? She wrote you, she said, and look , there's our street, sure has changed, sure has changed, we have a 7-11 now one block away and that comes in handy let me tell you, but well, anyway, we sure are glad to have you here  feel like I can call you dad now, since my dad died, well, I sure could use a dad, and boy oh boy those kids sure need a grandpa! well, here we are!!"

The old man fumbled in his vest pocket as his son in law drove the car into a very neat and tidy driveway. "Here we are!" the son in law exclaimed loudly enough for the rest of the family to hear as he exited the vehicle.

The old man popped a 0.5 mg Xanax under his tongue. no one saw.

He was 'home'. home......
The old man stepped out of the vehicle onto the asphalt driveway. He felt a bit wrinkled as he stared at the bright house, a bit frumpy as he fumbled with his worn backpack . This didn't feel right, he watched as his son in law , hands in the air clapping hurriedly for the rest of the family to announce their arrival. There was no red carpet, but a row of arrogant daisies standing like soldiers greeted him as he walked up the perfect sidewalk.  When the door to the home opened, he was glad he had taken the Xanax.

"Daddy!!!!" shouted a young woman, dressed in a party frock...or was it a party dress? A dark haired young woman of about 33 years of age ran, stopped, clasped her hands to her chest in a slow motion pause, then her arms opened wide as she ran, and jumped straight at the old man as he stood there, still reeling from his bus ride and the long winded heartfelt verbiage of his son in law.

"Daddy!!" the old man felt  her arms around his neck now, kisses on his cheeks, her eyes were dark, she reminded him of something he felt once, many years ago.

He smiled. Yes, this was her. He remembered her. She had sat on his lap and he would sing to her.."knick knack paddywhack give the dog a bone, this old man came rolling home..."

The next lot were the children. They stood in the doorway, the 3 of them, watching their mother as she held the old man closely as their father laughed and bent down to retrieve the backpack the old man had dropped .

The oldest child nudged the 8 yr old. "That's our grandpa."

The 8 yr old shrugged. "I know, stupid."

The 6 yr old picked his nose. Then he ran to his mother. "Pick me up!"

As the old man was being hugged, he looked down at the littlest child and spoke to his daughter.

"Say, now who is that? Is that Cam? I'll bet that's Cam."

The mother let go of her daddy and picked up her youngest child.

"Cam! this is your grandpa! Give him a kiss!"

The small child hid his head in his mother's neck and whispered.

"It's okay , Cam. You don't  have to kiss me. It's nice to meet you, Cam. And.." the Old Man waved to the other children.."It's nice to see all of you. Sarah, hello. Josh, hello. "

The children in the doorway waved back, somewhat , and settled onto the porch swing, to text their friends. "omg our grandpa is here he is going to live with us now gotta go so weird "......


Dinner was always at 7 pm. Mother usually made the dinner, but Dad did , too. He liked to explain to the children, who weren't listening, how his own mother had always cut the ends off the sandwiches he ate as a child.

The Old Man had been shown his new room, which smelled of cedar, and a nice pine. He liked the smell. It reminded him of his childhood, and he closed his eyes and remembered walking through a forest after it rained, and the day he found a mushroom and brought it home and his mother told him it was a morel mushroom. She cooked it for him and he had never tasted anything quite so wonderful.

When he opened his eyes he was sitting on what had once been the bed he and his wife had shared.
He stared, then ran his finger across the rivelet of wooden beads that ran across the top of the headboard.

Yep. same bed. It had been polished. He remembered when it was dusty.

He also noticed his old desk had been brought out of storage. Where had they stored it? He wondered.

His daughter knocked a hesitant knock on the half open doorway to his new and improved room.

"Dad? Hi, hey! what do you think!! I put the desk in here! wow, we had 3 guys we know help us move it! I had it redone, tho....all the stains are know, the tobacco..ugh..all gone now, tho! of course, you can sort of still smell it..I left some FeBreze behind the desk in case ...I mean, in case..but, really..."his daughter sat down next to him...and took his hand..'Dad. This is Home now. You are Home.'

she smiled, and patted his right hand..

He unpacked his backpack. 4 shirts, 3 pairs of trousers, underwear, and a box of pictures. wallet. pocketknife. toothbrush . sundry items.
He didn't own much. Not anymore. What was the point? He was 65, he had already done what all men do, he went to school, grew up, got married, had children, owned a home, became a widower...he had children.

He looked for his bottle of Xanax and took another one. "One for the road" he thought. "Just to get through dinner ".

A flurry of activity followed.

Dinner would be outside, on the patio.

"Why do we have to eat outside???" the old man heard one child..which one was it, he amusedly wondered...they all sounded so similar...the old man decided it must be the 10 yr old...

"I hate eating outside! "

Shhhhhh! The Old Man heard his daughter scuffle towards the ill mannered voice...SHHHHH.."this is a celebration! Grandpa is here and we are going to make this his special day! He is going to love this. When you get old, you will be glad someone is there for you, mark my words, you will wish YOU had a nice dinner outside on the patio with your grandchildren, so , listen young man you will be there and don't you sulk you be nice to your grandpa he won't be alive much longer so behave and be quiet!"

the Old Man sat on the bed and laughed quietly. He wondered if they had already chosen where he would be buried.

He sat holding a smooth, round stone. He held it until it became warm. Perhaps this is my heart, he thought. My heart is this stone, and if I caress it it will come alive. He could feel his pulse as he held the stone tightly in his hand. It was as if the stone had actually begun to have a heartbeat.

"Silly old man" he said silently... tossed the stone onto the bed, and watched it become a stone again.

The dinner .

The Old Man was, of course, seated at the head of the table. His daughter made sure of that. She had attached balloons to his chair, which wavered precariously over the Old Man's head as he eyed the proceedings, all in his honour. He was not untouched, indeed, he was amazed at such a display of affection shown to him from so many who he had not seen for so long.

The lawn was impeccably mowed, even the grasses near the sidewalks were cut as though a barber had clipped them with a straight scissors.

The Old Man, feeling he should say something, complimented his son in law on the perfection of his gardening skills, but immediately regretted it when his son in law began to speak.

"Dad...I can still call you dad, right? I sure do love nature and it's when I am out here in nature that's when I'm about my best...I feed that grass only the best...honey, am I right? yeah. only the best. Heck , even the kids with their skateboards and trampolines and water balloons, well that lawn holds up...and..."

The Old Man half listened to his son in law, to be polite, and shared an occasional word with his daughter who did not sit down so much as she kept getting up to half run to the kitchen to bring him a glass of water, or a pitcher of iced tea, or a bowl of soup, or  a salad that she explained to him she had found on the Food Network, and as he watched them all, including the children who ate hurriedly as though they had never had a day's worth of food in their lives, except for the 6 yr old, who began chucking his bread at the dog's head, which the Old Man found amusing, as the dog didn't seem to mind one bit..

no, the Old Man was taken in by a large vine he saw, out of the corner of his eye, a vine next to the fence behind the garage where a riot of roses beckoned him like a siren on a lonely rock beckoning the sailors to their impending doom.

"Dad? Daddy? You didn't touch your chicken. Dad?"
The Old Man unstartled his thoughts.
"I'm sorry kiddo. Well, I don't eat chicken . The salad was delicious, however."

The Old Man saw his daughter look at her husband. He could feel their glance, like a taut bowstring, as they judged his words.

"Dad, you know, at your age it is important to eat. I broiled the chicken."
"That's right, dad!" the son in law piped in not to miss out on this discussion.."your heart will be fine with broiled chicken! "

The kids stopped texting and eating and looked strangely at the Old Man. They opened their cameras on their phones just in case he had a heart attack right there and then. It would play well on youtube.

"You know.",,said the Old Man.."I sure do appreciate everything, this fine dinner, my lovely room...gosh, what can I say? " he coughed, and the children were very disappointed when the cough was not a full blown cardiac arrest..

"What can I say except , thank you dear.." he looked straight at his daughter...'and you, son! what a lovely yard you have, I am so pleased to sit here in it..I am at a loss for words..." he smiled at his son in law, who smiled back , his arms crossed pleasingly across his chest.

"Yes, this has been a fine party!" remarked the Old Man.

A strange silence. Then, the Old Man pointed towards the Roses on the Vine.

"Say." the old man interrupted as the family sat around him, pleased at his gratitude.
"Say, where did that beautiful old vine come from? That is remarkable. I believe that is called a Seven Sister Rose..."

The Old Man turned and realized his daughter had just brought him a bowl of ice cream. He picked up his spoon.

"Oh. That." his son in law sat down, and pulled up a lawn chair next to the old man. Suddenly, his son in law, not known for whispering, actually whispered.

"That thing. That old vine. Well, it belongs to that OLD woman."

The Old Man ate his ice cream.

"THAT Old woman." his daughter chimed in, as she slapped away a mosquito. "That woman, the crazy one. "

The Old Man ate his ice cream. It was quite delicious by now.

"Dad? well. we won't let the kids go over there. The neighbours think she might be mentally ill, who knows. It's nothing you should concern yourself with. Dad? Dad, you want more ice cream?"

"Yes, please." the Old Man smiled.

The oldest child stopped punching his sister .

"Dad," his daughter sat down, forgetting about the ice cream.."I promise you , you will love this neighbourhood. There is a senior centre down the road..only a few blocks. They have dances! Or, of course, if you want to write again..remember those silly stories you told me as a child? I always thought you should write children's books, dad!! You aren't too old! You can volunteer, I know you like dogs! Dad? Dad? You listening?"

But the Old Man wasn't listening. The Old Man kept smelling those roses..........

Weeks passed by and the Old Man didn't really notice. At his age a week was a day and a day was a week. Some days he sat inside and watched the sunlight play like childish shadows through venetian blinds in his small room.
Some days he would begin to remember and then jump up and , rather than punch his daughter's beautifully painted walls, he would help his son in law with the yardwork.

He contributed what he could, moneywise, his pension was secure and he felt a sense of ease when he could hand over a month's worth of pay to his children and grandchildren.

Even the grandchildren didn't mind him being there by now, they would ask him to help them with this, or that, and he actually enjoyed the youngest one , who taught him how to fingerpaint and make music with a paper toilet paper roll.

The Old Man took walks.

He walked by the senior centre, and it looked very much to him like a church, so he avoided it, because long ago he had learned to listen to his instincts, and even though his daughter continued to reassure him that the people inside were very nice, he just knew he would never go into that building.

There was only one house, however, he was intrigued by. Just one.

Oddly enough , it was the one house his daughter, and his son in law, advised him never to tarry! not in front of! or even go near!

It was the house with the roses.

He liked to call it that in his mind. "The Home of Roses". It felt correct, it even felt like a poem, when he walked by it. It was. Familiar. something drew him to it's presence.

One could barely see the house itself, it was not jutting up to the sidewalks like the other homes, but was relaxed, back, behind, hidden like a secret where pear and palm both met, where winding clematis and huckleberry twisted violently in an odd caress, where roses of every sort blasted through and scurried up wooden trellises, where rocks of all sorts peeked out of unpainted windows and butterflies swallowed the very air around the whole place. The Old Man watched, sometimes, as he heard cawcaws of blackbirds and the sorry moan of mourning doves and the keekeekee of cardinals and bluejays and the chitter of squirrels coming from the yard of the old house.

Nary a peep of humanoid was ever seen, but he knew someone lived there.

He knew because he could hear a kettle whistling at night . He would look at his clock.

2 am.

Who does this? Who sings in the middle of the night?

The Old man was becoming more intrigued.

Nonetheless, his family kept him busy. They took him to the park, where he sat on a bench and watched his grandchildren play and he even enjoyed it when they threw their soccer ball at him and told him to catch it.


Months passed by. The Old Man had settled into his room, he was, as he heard his daughter put it (she didn't know he was listening), 'waiting to be with mom, poor thing.'

Actually, he wasn't sure what to think of that. Young people often think they know what's best for those who get old, and they have very self assured presumptions about what old people think.

The Old Man was slightly amused by this, because he knew perfectly well that the young people, most of them anyway, would be old someday and then they would find out.

They are not old at all.


The sky was a grey blue. That granite colour it gets when the clouds just barely cover the sun  and you know perfectly well the sun is there, but the only ones who can see it are pilots in huge 747s flying over you.  You are on the ground, you can't see it.

The Old Man was bored. The spring had not arrived and the winter had come and gone. He had watched the rosebush next door wondering if it was still alive. Well, of course it was, he said to himself, it is just dormant, as are all things in winter. Sleeping, waiting. Such a long wait.

The children were in school most of the day and the Old Man rarely saw his daughter or son in law, they were busy being parents, busy creating their dreams and desiring their destinies.

The Old Man looked at the rock sitting on his nightstand.

"I wish." he said. He held the rock tightly. "I wish."

He stood up, pulled his trousers on, his rubber boots, and large coat. His white beard, and white hair uncombed and unbrushed, he adjusted his glasses.

He went for a walk.

He walked next door.

He stood for a minute, held his rock tightly in his hand and made his last wish.

He walked, straight and slowly, up the stony moss path to the door of the crazy Old woman.

He knocked. There was no doorbell. As a matter of fact, there was no doorknob.

The first sense was the chamomile. It was merely a wisp of smoke into his nostrils, but it embraced his brain like a lost memory, suddenly discovered.

He heard some shuffled, sound, no..maybe a tinkling, or a chiming...he could not place it..a hand opened the door. one inch.

The Old Man felt he should speak.

"I am from next door. I was wondering about your roses."

Then, as quickly as the door opened, it closed.

"Oh take as many as you want. " said the voice, laughing.

The Old Man was confused. He mumbled a thank you,

and he left.


The next week he made an unpardonable mistake.
The Old Man, whilst eating dinner with his family, casually mentioned that he met the women next door, and that she was very happy to share her roses with them when gardening time began.

He realized his mistake when he heard his daughter drop her spatula on the floor as she was flipping potato pancakes.

"Dad!!!!! you WENT OVER THERE?? "

His son in law was not pleased. But tried to be understanding.

"Look, dad. I know a few police officers who would be more than willing to condemn that house and most of the neighbours....well..she should have been put in a home a long time ago....thats what they all say.."

The Old Man was puzzled "Who are 'they'?"

The son in law whispered.."THEY..the neighbours....ever since..well..."

The Old Man waited..

"ever since her son. Okay. That's it. her son. he died , okay? okay Dad? you happy now?? her son died. He was very young. You happy now?? Now don't tell the kids...they don't need to know!"

The Old Man sat back and put his hands behind his head. This was , well, odd.

"Allright." the Old Man said."Allright, you are telling me this  Old woman next door, her son died? yes?"

"YES!" the son in law wrung his hands like a bedevilled housewife . The Old Man noticed him quiver.

"We didn't want you to know, dad." his daughter stood in the kitchen door. "You don't need to remember things...."

The Old Man just watched them. Dinner was late. The children hadn't been called. He noticed his son in law was reaching for a bottle of cooking wine and pouring it into a plastic sippy cup. The potato pancakes began to burn.

Hmmm. thought the Old Man. Looks like the devil himself has a hold of these two.

The Old Man excused himself . The parents were now arguing in the kitchen and the children had still not come out of their bedrooms.

The Old Man knew what he had to do.


The next day all was well again. The children were shuttled off to school, annoyed with little things as children often are, and the parents were perky after their 2nd cup of coffee. They did, however, warn the Old Man before they left.

" Just stay home today. We don't want you to..well...remember..or be put off....or get hurt...just stay home, watch some TV! Hey dad..did you know they show Bonanza reruns all day? Remember you told us you LOVED Bonanza as a kid? Okay..okay dad....there's some mac and cheese in the fridge!!! Love you dad!!!"

and they left. It was easy, It was

Bye, Bye kids.

The Old man combed his beard. He brushed his hair. He opened his backpack and pulled out the last of his belongings. It was a small package tied with a blue ribbon.
He carried the rock in his right hand pocket.

He went to the house where the roses were about to bloom.

This time, the smell was chocolate. It grasped him like a gentle caress.

"Hello? Hello?" the man knocked. This time on the window. He tried to see in, but a smoke was in the air inside.

Hello. the voice answered.

"I came to bring you something." the Old Man stated. this time, with an assurance he had not even heard in his own voice, ever.

The voice inside had never heard such an assurance before either. It hesitated, then answered.

"Is this something I need"? she asked. "Because I have everything I need , and I don't need anything else."

"Yes. " the Old Man sighed. "It is something you need. Something I need. Please, open the door, my old friend. Please let me in."

The door slowly opened.

The creak of it was delicious, that gentle groan of an old door that most people use WD40 to fix but this was a beautiful creak, a winding down sound of everything ancient and sacred. The Old Man adjusted his gaze.

Behind the teapot on the woodstove.. stood an Old Woman, and a sight he had never seen......., but suddenly remembered he had seen her a thousand times. In every painting of Venus, in every portrait in every sculpture of Artemis , Athena, Hecate , Diana, Isis, Sophia, in every beautiful image he had seen online of the starsystems of the Hubble telescope he knew this woman better than he knew himself, he knew this Old Woman very well indeed. He had known her forever. He knew her well. His mind balked at such a notion, but he could not stop staring.

Finally, after gratefully few painful moments, she spoke.

"Why are you here?" she asked. She was covered in paint. she had been painting, he realized. She must be an artist.

"Why are you here?" she asked again, this time more softly. She removed her teapot from the stove.

He could see her clearly now, her white hair was wild , it rose like clouds around her head. Her face looked at him as though she was watching him from a place where only angels had the audacity to tread.

He looked down at his shoes. Then he looked straight into her eyes.

"I am here.." he told her. "Because I needed to see you."

He removed his small package with the blue ribbon, and handed it to her.
"I have a picture I want to show you." The Old Man hesitated, he had not shown this picture to anyone. He felt as though time had stopped , that all the clocks in the world had stopped.

She looked at him, perplexed ,yet knowing.

"Show me what is in the package" the Old Woman laughed.

As she held the thin package , the Old Man unwrapped it carefully. It was thin paper, and it softly fell away from what was only a photograph.

The Old Woman sighed, and held the photograph of a young man, around 23 years of age, his face smiling at both of them as though he could see right into their hearts from the picture..

The Old Man spoke:

"That is my son. He was 23 when he died. I needed to give this to you. Please understand."

The Old Woman looked longingly at the photo, and sighed. She looked up at the Old Man, and then, took his hand as a mother leading a baby to learn it's first steps.

"Come. Come with me." she replied.

He followed her, and she carefully walked him into the next room.

The Old Man looked. He rubbed his eyes, he looked again. He was not afraid, but his heart was no longer stone. He could feel the pulse within him like a force, a tsunami of joy, rising with a gladness he had long forgotten.

On the walls of the Old Woman's room hung hundreds of paintings, paintings of angels, paintings of god, paintings of people, paintings of children, paintings of Gaia, Europa , star systems, exploding gems of wonder, and in the midst of the paintings , as the Old Man sat down in the worn chair in the midst of it all, he saw the painting that would change his life.

He saw the painting of the young man in the picture he had been carrying for so many years.

He saw his son, the painting sat squarely in the middle of the room, amidst the cherubim and seraphim, amidst the starry night clouds and cosmos, his son's face beamed with a special light from the framed painting that the Old Woman had created.

"How can..How can.." the Old Man could not speak.

The Old Woman walked up, and knelt beside the Old Man.

"Let me explain. " she said softly, as she touched his shaking hands with hers.

"My son comes to me, he also you call it....but, you have already heard that from your family? That I am insane? Yes, I suppose so. I suppose to say that you speak with your children who no longer inhabit the body and freely live in absolute Joy, boundless Joy, Joy that we cannot even begin to imagine in this place..well, my son comes to me and tells me of it..and many will call that insane..
But, "The Old Woman pointed at the Old Man's son in the painting... "My son showed me this young man, in a dream...he told me, mother, this you must paint....this man....his father needs to know he is with me, and we are dancing in every star....his father needs to know...there is no death........"

The Old Man sat. As though hours or seconds passed, it did not matter.

He knew he was sitting in a miracle, and he had given up on miracles long long ago.

The Old Woman was not moving. She sat at the foot of the Old Man's chair and sighed.

"Perhaps some tea."

Startled at her voice, the Old Man finally looked away from the painting of his son...and looked down at the face of the Old Woman.

It was the same face of Kuan Yin, Tara, the Madonna. He knew this face. It was the face of his childhood.

It was the face of God.

"No. no tea. " said the Old Man.

He stood up and gently helped the Old Woman to her feet.
He pulled her close to him, and felt her heart beat quietly against his .

'At last!'. the Old Man smiled to himself. 'I am Home!'

"Yes." the Old Woman said. "Yes. We have found each other. Our sons made sure of it."


The roses bloomed quite remarkably that spring.

( and both of Their sons danced around them in Joy, as they always had done, forever and ever and ever and ever....................)

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