A Haiku Series Expressing Emotional Engagement with Belief Systems
A Parent's Letter about Her Fears of the Influences of Different Beliefs
The Other Prodigal Son - A Sudden Fiction Selection
A parade for all the wrong reasons. Crowds trickle out from the sidewalks into the street, hoping to get a word in at the main attraction. In the back of the van, I can see the movement of the masses out of the side of my eyes through the wide, transparent windows. Raucous sounds permeate the barriers, attempting to assault my ears, and much more.
“You will be sorry when you find out how wrong you are!”
So many voices shouting out in protest, but the obnoxious screaming fades into the background as I gaze forward, never averting my eyes.
A couple dull clunks - followed by a few more, quicker - finally arouse my attention. I look not too quickly to my left to discern the cause of the noise. Small rocks pelt the side of the vehicle, scratching the windows, then fall away. Lobbing and line-driving, they find their way towards me, the small rocks quickly becoming some type of torrential downpour.
Behind the rocks, the people. Contorted bodies, throwing. Contorted faces, red and screaming, inhumanly, attempting to do with words what the rocks can’t accomplish. Jeers and insults again become discernible as my eyes survey the crowd.
“How dare you come back!”
“Leave this place before you taint it!”
I must return my gaze forward. Jaw stern, eyes on the road before me, trying to endure the last stretch.
“She wouldn't have wanted you here!”
My head whips suddenly again to the left, searching for the source. Green eyes, like hers, connect with mine for a second. The guilty, fierce face turns away. Coal-black hair, like mine, covers the head of a lanky body that has stretched since I last remember.
As I sit dazed, my body jerks forward. The van stops in front of a place I used to know. The crowd falls away, satisfied in their efforts. In front of the house, an older man stands, coal-black eyes, like ours, scanning the windows of the van. We make eye contact, but his eyes fall away.
The man who has been driving opens my door and walks me up to the black-eyed man.
“I will be back for him in twenty-four hours. As you know, he must stay in this house the entire time. We will always know where he is.”
The other man nods.
The van pulls away. The man’s eyes follow it, prolonging our lack of interaction. He finally looks back at me, and I break the silence.
“I’m sorry about mom.”
His silence says what hasn't been said. We were in it together. As a kid, he opened my eyes. He shared so many ideas that we didn't learn in school or service – but where his beliefs came from, I never learned. It was never forced; it was always my option. We each chose what to believe for ourselves. It became who we were. But when we tried to share with others, word spread beyond our control as word often does. They had to do something about it. There was too much danger floating through the air, contaminating minds and hearts – spirits and souls. And someone had to be made an example of.
But I am not. I am who I am. Being a man of faiths in a world of Faith.