> a Man loves a Boy - book 1 <
- Last time, my ongoing 'Gypsy Series' story ended with:
Feeling guilty, I slumped down on my folding chair, hoping that my young friends would show up and accept my humble excuses. Only, the street in front of my house was empty and it remained empty. After looking around and waiting in vain for a long time, at last, I gave up. I closed my eyes and started to look back upon my own difficult youth, to try to obtain some more insight and find some more peace in myself.
I was sure I had loved my little brother. Little Joshie was the younger brother every kid in the world would wish for. He was like my little shadow, because, wherever I went, he followed me. Always when I was at home, he was there too, now and then staring at me with a knowing expression in his deep brown eyes, as if the little imp knew something that I didn't need to know yet...
My little brother never bothered me. He just always was there, quietly playing in his room or sitting at our table in the living room. Of course, we didn't have any 'television' or 'internet'. Sometimes, we listened to our old radio or we played a game, until it was time to go to bed. My parents were always 'busy' or 'socializing'. They always told me they trusted me enough to leave us alone, from the time when I was twelve years old and Joshie was six.
Indeed, my little brother and I never had any problems. We were always in perfect harmony with each other, even after the little duffer did something stupid with a burning candle and I had to help him with everything, even with his showering and going to the bathroom...
- CHAPTER 4. A talk with John; remembering past lives.
Suddenly, my doorbell rang, its loud sound harshly reverberating through the entire house. Involuntarily shuddering from the unexpected noise, I decided to buy a friendlier sounding doorbell, the first time I went downtown to refill my cupboards and refrigerator! How could the late Jack ever have lived with such a nasty sounding bell in his house? Muttering under my breath, I left my pile of cardboard boxes and sauntered to my front door, to brush off the unwelcome visitor I was sure I hadn't invited. This could be only another happy sounding sales representative who wanted to sell the 'new proprietor' an 'important' insurance policy I was sure I didn't need. Feeling a bit angry, I opened my front door and looked outside.
In sudden surprise, I looked at my 'former friend from a past life', John! After ringing my doorbell, he had politely stepped back into my front garden. From there, he stared at me, showing me two dark brown orbs that immediately pierced deeply into mine, as if searching my inside for any telltale signs of rejection. Could John be afraid I would be angry with his friends and with him, after my peculiar behavior and leaving everybody alone on my porch?
Again, John's appearance made me think of my deceased little brother, Joshie, who had the same curious looking deep brown eyes. Supposed little Joshie had survived death, grown up, and married, he and John could easily be father and son! At seeing my young friend back, my heart started to jump around in my chest with pure joy. My young neighbors hadn't forgotten me, and I would still be able to meet that burnt little Gypsy boy! Where were my other young friends? Had they sent John as their representative?
While opening my front door wide, I invited John in:
"Hi, my friend, I am happy to see you again! Please, come in, and would you care for another cup of tea?"
For a few seconds, John only stared at me, as if he tried to read my deepest intentions for any telltale signs of anger or rejection. Then, he stuttered, with a nervous sounding voice:
"Please, can I... oops, sorry, MAY I have a talk with you first?"
Still feeling happy to see my young friend back, I responded:
"Of course, you may! In fact, I would like to have a talk with you as well. Let's go to my kitchen and have a drink."
Hesitantly, John entered my hallway, this time politely waiting for me to shut my front door. Then, he slowly followed me towards my kitchen, although carefully keeping some distance. On my way, I first went to my hallway closet to get a second folding chair. Fortunately, I had purchased enough of them to be prepared for unexpected visitors.
After I put my second folding chair into place, both John and I sat down at the kitchen table, facing each other. Trying to make him feel more welcome, I smiled at my young friend and winked at him. Although John smiled back at me, he didn't say a word. Obviously, he didn't know how to start his talk with me.
Okay, again, it seemed to be up to me to break the ice and start our conversation. But, first, I asked my nervously blinking young friend:
"Would you care for another cup of tea, or hot chocolate?"
"May I please have cold milk instead? I don't like hot chocolate."
"Of course you may. Please, help yourself from my refrigerator, while I brew another cup of coffee."
John clearly remembered where I had put my drinking glasses, because he went straight to one of my cupboards and took one. Next, he went to my refrigerator, carried the milk to the kitchen table, and filled his glass; while I brewed my second cup of coffee and added two lumps of sugar. We sat down, sipping our drinks in silence and smiling at each other, while our tension slowly subsided.
After we finished our drinks, I decided to apologize for my strange behavior first:
"John, I feel very sorry for behaving so rudely! Yesterday, I hadn't planned to leave you and your friends alone on my porch like that. However, those two loathed words, 'freak' and 'alien', unexpectedly made me remember my own little brother and my difficult youth."
While talking to John, I again felt a couple of tears dripping down my face. Stealthily, I wiped them away, feeling a bit uneasy. What would John think of the again blubbering 'ancient grandpa'? Much to my surprise, John only looked concerned, as if he understood my sadness and wanted to help me!
At seeing John's concerned reaction, I decided to tell my young friend everything that had happened around Joshie's early death and my own horrible youth. My heart was now sure I could trust John and that he would never misuse any of my private confessions. Again, my inside 'remembered' John as being my dearest trapper friend from a past life, and I was sure we had been talking and listening to each other many times before.
Again, 'memories' showed up in my mind, of us sitting around a crackling fire, talking and drinking coffee. We were friends of around the same age, and my friend always babysat my little son while I was trading pelts for food and other necessities. My wife had died in childbirth; and I had to raise my baby son all alone, until the little imp was old enough to follow me everywhere and help me with everything. Suddenly, a hungry grizzly bear killed all three of us; and we returned to our Timeless Eternal Realm, where our Beloved Ancestors, Cosmic Friends, and Spiritual Helpers already waited for us...
Feeling shocked into my deepest core, I still didn't know what to think of all these unexpected and seemingly spontaneous 'remembrances' from my so-called 'past lives'. What if my old Indian Shaman had been right, and 'reincarnation' was a fact of life we had to reckon with, although most 'normal' people were living in their heads and therefore couldn't remember their own past lives?
Feeling a bit irritated, I shook my head to get rid of my unwanted memories, while forcing myself to return into the 'here and now'. For now, I didn't want to remember any more 'incarnations', 'past lives', or 'Timeless Eternal Realms'. Every sane and normal person knows that dead is dead, and death is the definite end of everything! Why should I think otherwise, only because I once met some old and probably senile Indian Shaman?
Quickly, I started to concentrate on my very concerned looking young friend, to tell him what had happened with my own burnt little brother during my own horrible youth. Still feeling a bit uneasy, I started to tell John how my little brother and I always were in perfect harmony, even after the little duffer put his hair and his clothes on fire while trying to light an unwilling candle. John looked a bit pale while I told him how I panicked and put my loudly screeching little brother under the shower, where he lost some burnt skin. Then, a howling ambulance brought Joshie to a hospital; where, day after day, I visited a silent little mummy, until my little brother finally returned home as a completely bald and mute cripple.
John shuddered while I told him how my parents blamed me for Joshie's ordeal and forced me to take my burnt little brother with me, when and wherever I wanted to go outside. John got tears in his eyes when I told him how everybody laughed at my burnt little brother and called him a 'freak' or an 'alien', and how all my former 'friends' made fun of Joshie. Finally, I told John about Joshie's liberating death and about my suppressed feelings of guilt and shame. Joshie went to heaven and was free, but I can still feel the burning fire in my soul!
Silently, I stared out my kitchen window at the loudly twittering sparrows that again chased after each other through the backyards. Only, this time, I didn't really see them, because my mind still lingered in my own horrible past, reliving my guilt, my old pain, and all those humiliations. My eyes slowly filled with tears and started to drip, but I remained unaware of them, because I still dwelled in my own sad world full of bitter agony.
Slowly, I woke up from my lingering sadness, because I felt two comforting arms around my shoulders, while a small hand touched my wet face and gently wiped my dripping tears away. Unseen, John had left his chair and walked around the kitchen table, to help and comfort me. After he wiped my tears away, he even started to massage my too tense shoulders! When John saw me slowly returning into the here and now, he smiled and told me:
"Don't bottle it up, sir. In a few minutes, you will feel a lot better!"
Feeling truly amazed, I looked at my young friend and stared into his deep brown wise orbs. What a surprising amount of wisdom in what was 'only' a young child! Who was the real psychotherapist here? Much to my own surprise, I already started to feel better! Within a few minutes, all my bad memories had faded away, while my inside started to feel like being born again. This caring thirteen-year-old boy must have a gold mine in his heart, overflowing with Pure Love and Healing Power. Wow, what a special child was he!
Feeling thankful for John's concern and spontaneous help, I folded my arms around his surprisingly firm frame and pulled him towards my chest... Immediately, John cozily leaned into me. From there, he looked up at me while sending me another amount of warmth and Love through his deep brown orbs. Then, he told me:
"Perhaps it sounds a bit strange; but I am sure that you and I have been very close friends in at least one of our past lives! Of course, in this life, I am still a young boy and you are already a grownup; but, in our past lives, we were grownup friends of around the same age, while Harry was your own little son and I always babysat him while you had to go to town to exchange pelts for food and other goods."
Feeling totally baffled, I could only stare at John, while my too analytical mind was making overtime. Could John really remember the same trapper life where he and I had been close friends of the same age and Harry was my own little son? But, then, my 'remembrances' from our 'past lives' had to be TRUE! From now on, I could no longer deny the truth. My old Indian Shaman had been RIGHT, with his strange belief that our so-called 'souls' were eternal and immortal; only temporarily returning to our mortal Planet Earth to live and develop here, time after time, until we were ready to return to our timeless Eternal Realm and stay there forever...
For quite some time, I only stared at John; while he bashfully smiled at me, as if he hoped I wouldn't be mad at him for his being too disrespectful and telling me what he remembered or sensed... Finally, feeling full of even more Pure Love for my re-found best friend from at least one of our 'past lives', I smiled back at John and pulled him even closer to my chest.
While John cozily nestled into my arms, something wonderful happened between him and me that I could only describe as a magically growing feeling of mutual and powerful Eternal Love. My inside was now sure that John and I would be close friends forever, although he was 'only' a young boy and I was already an 'old man'. During several 'past lives', we had been very good friends of about the same age! Now, I was even more eager to meet 'little Harry', who once had been my own little son and John's little friend, until a hungry grizzly bear showed up and killed us.
After a long time of cuddling and getting tears in our eyes from mutual recognition and sheer happiness, I unwillingly unfolded my arms from John's waist and worked my three clean handkerchiefs out of my pocket. Where could my packet of tissues be, now that we needed it? First, I used one handkerchief to wipe both John's tears and mine. Then, we both blew our noses in the remaining two.
At last, John started to fidget while he sighed:
"Sorry, sir, but I have to go to the bathroom..."
First, he put his strong arms around my neck and hugged me fiercely! Wow, I already started to love my affectionate young friend more and more, while my inside was now sure that John really was my best friend from several of our past lives. Apart from that, in this life, he certainly was working his way deeply into my heart!
Feeling wonderful, I teasingly put a kiss onto John's forehead. My action made him snicker and wipe the kiss away, while he helpfully pulled me to my feet. He also took my three wet handkerchiefs from the kitchen table and neatly put them onto my sink. Obviously, my young friend was a lot tidier than I had been at that age!
Walking together while pushing each other like little children, we frolicked towards the hallway. After waiting for each other to bless the ceramic god in turn, we returned to the kitchen sink to wash our hands. Teasingly, John splashed some water drops at me and dived away to escape my wrath, until I suddenly grabbed my snickering young friend and pushed his head under the streaming water tap.
My teasing action made John growl and splutter:
"You are mean! Just wait until I am a bit older and stronger, and you are a bit older and senile."
Chuckling at John's clever use of words, I took the only kitchen towel I had been able to find, and offered one side to John. Teasingly, we tried to dry each other's wet faces and hands, while playfully mock fighting to have some more of the same towel. It took some time; but, at last, our faces and hands were more or less dry. Again, we returned to the kitchen table and sat down on our folding chairs.
Still smiling at each other, I told John:
"Thank you, my young friend, for listening to my sad story and comforting me. Your friendship and warm support helped me tremendously! You are a nice cuddle bear with a heart full of love and understanding, and I am very happy to be your older friend."
Looking back at me with a brightly beaming face and sparkling deep brown eyes, John responded:
"You are very welcome, sir, and your cuddles and warm support helped me too. You too are a very nice cuddle bear, with an enormous heart filled to the brim with love, and I am very happy to be your young friend! You know, yesterday, my friends and I were afraid you could be angry with us, because you suddenly left us and went inside. Therefore, this morning, after my little brother and I talked about you, I decided to go to your house and ask you what had happened... But, now, I understand why you couldn't tell us anything. Therefore, thank you very much for trusting me and telling me your sad story. I am sure you and I will be good friends again and probably forever, although, in this life, you are a lot older than I am. Besides, I told Harry about you, but he already knew what had happened, and he confessed he regrets fleeing away from you after you saw him and waved at him. He also told me he was a little bit afraid of you, because you seemed to be angry and kicked a chair across your living room."
"Yes, I remember kicking a chair out of the way. I only didn't know that Harry could be spying on me."
"Harry has always been very good at spying and hiding, because of his Gypsy nature and hunting for animals in a forest. He also told me he was afraid to let you see his burnt face, because he doesn't want to be disappointed again. Too many people have laughed at him, called him a 'freak' and an 'alien', or shooed him away when they saw his freaky burns for the first time."
"Now that you've told me this, I can understand Harry's fears, and I am sorry for blowing my chance to meet him."
"This time, I have to disagree with you, because you did not blow any chances at all. Now, Harry knows that you accept him and care about him! Only, he is still very afraid of being disappointed again. Only his Big Friend, Jack, never reacted shocked or laughed at him. Officially, Harry lives in our house; but, in reality, he lived with Jack. Here, in what is now your house, he had his own room with all his belongings, upstairs, second door to the left. Jack also tutored Harry, taught him our language and habits, and always helped him with everything that he needed. Jack also visited him every day when he had to be in a hospital for his umpteenth skin operation. I think that Jack was Harry's father, his mother, and his best friend, all in one..."
Again, John fell silent, while furtively wiping a couple of stray tears from his face. Obviously, he still cared very much for his 'little Gypsy brother' who had such an enormous burden to endure. Where the heck had I left my huge packet of tissues, now that I needed it? Probably, it was still packed away in one of my unopened cardboard boxes. Therefore, I just took one of my wet handkerchiefs from the sink and offered it to John.
With a grateful smile, John searched for a dry corner. Fortunately, he was able to find a relatively dry spot, and used it to wipe his stray tears away. Then, he went on, sounding a bit shivery:
"In about a week, Harry has to go back to the hospital, because his doctors want to loosen some too tight skin and give him a slightly better nose and lips. Of course, Harry has been in a hospital many times before, but he has never before felt so alone and scared. I am sure he still misses Jack terribly. His Big Friend always cheered him up and let him see the positive side of everything, even when nearly all the things in his life seemed to go wrong... Two months ago, in the middle of the night, Jack sent Harry in a hurry to our house to wake my parents and me, because he didn't feel well. When we arrived in his bedroom, Jack was already dead; but he had a faint smile on his face, as if he knew he had done the right thing by sending Harry away in time. Since that night, Harry lives with us, but we have to share my bedroom, and all his belongings are stowed away in our garage. Every night, Harry crawls into my bed and sleeps next to me, because he used to sleep next to Jack and hates sleeping alone."
Again, John wiped a few stray tears away, before he went on:
"Although Harry can see Jack's spirit and can talk to him if he wishes, he has been angry with his former Big Friend for a long time, for suddenly abandoning him and leaving him alone. Fortunately, he has now made up with Jack and they are friends again. This morning, Jack told Harry he likes the new owner of his house, and we think that has to be you. That is the main reason why I am here."
Furtively, John probed my eyes, this time showing some fear in his deep brown orbs. Was John afraid I would reject the possibility of Jack's spirit being around his little brother and him? Many people are afraid of so-called 'ghosts' or 'spirits', and they don't want to have to do anything about such a 'new-age believer'.
How would my young friend react if I told him I too had sensed Jack's spirit around me, accompanied by my own little brother? Would John believe me; or would he think I had made up some nice parallel story, to reassure him and make him feel better?
At the same time, my own heart was sure I could tell John everything about my experiences, without any fear. My young 'friend from a past life' seemed to have a very open mind, and my gut feeling told me that Jack's spirit could have contacted John as well! John only wanted to play it safe until he knew how I reacted.
Deciding to listen to my own gut feeling, I responded:
"Yesterday afternoon, I too felt Jack's spirit around me on my porch. He even pointed me to my backyard where your little brother spied on me from within a thick bush. And, last night, after I had a nightmare, I heard Jack's voice in my inside, telling me that your little brother needs me! Now, I am very happy to know that Harry's former 'Big Friend' is still around him and watches over him."
With a beaming face and sparkling eyes, John exclaimed:
"I KNEW you would be one of us! I just knew it. Now, I am sure that Jack brought you here, in his former house, to be Harry's new Big Friend and help him get over his loss. I am also sure that you and Harry will become close friends, because my little brother needs another Big Friend in his life. He just cannot cope without another loving grown-up to encourage him and cheer him up, especially when he has to go to a hospital for his next skin surgery. Harry still misses his own Dad and Mom terribly, and I think he also looks out for sort of a replacement Dad, to raise him and help him grow up until he will be old enough to fend for himself."
Of course, I again decided to help the burnt little Gypsy boy, who needed another 'Big Friend' or a 'replacement Dad' in his life and just couldn't cope without a loving grownup to encourage him and cheer him up! Had really Jack's spirit brought me towards his former house to let me buy it? Could Jack also have arranged meeting my little neighbors, knowing that a trained psychotherapist was going to live in his former house? Or, had little Joshie's spirit pointed me to Jack's and Harry's former abode?
A speculative thought crossed my mind... Could Jack and Joshie be 'Big Friends' too, in wherever they were living now, in 'heaven' or in 'the beyond'? Had they been working together to guide me towards Jack's former house, and were they still working together? That would explain why I always felt Joshie's energy around me while I heard Jack's grownup voice in my inside.
Only, my too rational mind stubbornly refused to believe in a 'life after death', or in any 'messages from the beyond'. My brain was still convinced that 'dead was dead'; and anything else could be nothing more than some weird 'new-age' belief. Despite what I had experienced and what I had told John, Jack's warm and soulful voice in my inside COULD have been a product of my own imagination!
Maybe, I would be able to change my mind after somebody PROVED the existence of so-called 'Spirit Guides'... but, of course, that would never happen. Apart from that, I still wanted to meet that burnt little Gypsy boy, especially after Jack's voice in my inside had told me: 'You are approaching your destiny, and your boy needs you.' Clearly, Jack already assumed that Harry would be MY boy...
Trying to get some more information from John, I asked:
"John? Have you ever seen Jack's spirit?"
"Sure, but only faintly, because I cannot see Jack's spirit as well as Harry does. It's more as if I can feel Jack's presence, or as if I am aware of a subtle change in the atmosphere. I know that Jack tries to talk to me, but I mostly cannot understand what he says. However, at this same moment, I can sense Jack's spirit over there, standing in that corner of your kitchen and listening to our conversation."
WHAT? Could John really be sensing Jack's 'spirit', standing in a corner of my kitchen and listening to our conversation? Stealthily, I peeked at that same corner... and my chin dropped almost to the floor! Was I really seeing some faint mist in that particular corner, as if there could be sort of a 'ghostly' presence? Or, was my confused mind making up that hazy mist, because it expected to see some 'ghostly' form in that corner? Surprisingly, I also felt Joshie's well-known harmony, seemingly radiating from that same corner, as if he stood there and stared at me with his knowing eyes!
Feeling a bit irritated, I quickly tore myself loose from that corner and returned to the here and now. For today, I had lived through more than enough 'ghostly' surprises! Yet, I still wanted to meet 'little Harry'. Would John be able to convince my little namesake to join him towards my house and pay me a visit? Or, would Harry be too scared after he suddenly fled from my backyard, and would he now try to stay away from me? That would be truly sad.
Deciding to give it a chance, I asked John:
"John? Could you please try to convince your little brother to pay me a visit? Maybe, you could tell him first that I am already used to seeing a boy with a burnt face, because of my own burnt brother."
While John's eyes started to sparkle with joy, he exclaimed:
"Yes, sir, that is an excellent idea! I will first tell Harry a few things about you and your burnt little brother, so that he knows he doesn't need to be scared any more. And, thank you very much for wanting to meet Harry! I promise I will bring him here as soon as possible, without letting him run away again. You can count on me, and I will be right back."
Together, we left our folding chairs and stepped towards the kitchen door... Suddenly, John jumped up at me and trustfully let me catch his heavy frame in midair! The impact of his weight made my old spine groan with the effort, while John threw his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist. Feeling very surprised, I threw my arms around my young friend's firm frame and held him close to my chest. Wow! Every time he did such an unexpected thing, I started to love him even more! Probably, John had done this many times before with Jack, who obviously had been John's 'Big Friend' too, although his 'little brother' clearly had first rights.
Although I tried to suppress my 'remembrances', they again showed up in my mind, this time of the grownup John and I chasing after my squealing little son, who tried to escape from our combined tickle-tortures. After we caught him, we smothered him with 'little kisses', until the little imp nearly wet his pants and promised us to better his life; until he again challenged us to chase after him.
Could there, after all, really be some truth in living more than one life on earth? Why did I have all those strange 'memories' of John and I being best friends, while my little son frolicked around us? Why were John and I already feeling so totally at ease with each other, from the first moment we met? If only my confused mind could have some undeniable proof...
John and I continued our cuddling, still basking in each other's heartwarming feelings of mutual friendship, while even more faint 'memories' showed up in my mind; this time of us hunting together in a dangerous forest, catching wild deer to sell their pelts. Mostly, my little son accompanied us and tried to 'help' us, or he teased us until we caught him and 'taught him a lesson'.
Had I really had my own little son, in my past life as a trapper, while John was a grownup trapper and our dearest friend? Had my own little son returned to earth, to be John's 'little brother' and probably soon be 'my boy'? If so, I felt even more eager to meet him!
While heaving a deep sigh of utmost content, John let himself slide down onto his feet while he told me:
"I'm going home now; but I will be right back and bring Harry to you as soon as possible."
First, John took his empty glass and my coffee cup from the kitchen table, and put them into the sink. Then, he put the milk back into the refrigerator, before he hasted outside. Again, John seemed to be a lot tidier than I had been at that age.
Surprisingly, after John's unexpected visit, my old and a bit rusty body felt more alive and kicking than it had ever felt before! My affectionate young friend with his healing powers and his big heart full of caring love clearly had an astonishing refreshing impact on my mental health. It felt wonderful to have such a lovable young buddy at my side, although I was already an 'old man' and John was 'only' a young boy. I really hoped he would return soon, preferable accompanied by his 'little Gypsy brother' who once had been my own little son... unless my 'memories from a past life' were only some weird product of my own imagination.
But, then, why did John remember exactly the same things from our so-called 'past lives', including me having my own little son who had returned to my former friend as 'little Harry'? If only my too analytical mind could have some undeniable proof...
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- A few excerpts from your wonderful 'fanmail' emails:
> Little Harry is absolutely tops. I love it. As a former teacher and writer, take it from me, your English is excellent. Your subject matter is strong and gripping. Your compassionate handling of the story line reaches the heart. I eagerly await your further instalments.
> I salute you sir for a most impressive debut in a foreign language. Your story is charming and you have a real gift for narrative. I hope that you may continue to write in similar vein.
> I wish to add that you show a deep insight into the working of the mind of the broken or hurt and the important part that listening and interpreting is of any really meaningful relationship.
> What a wonderful story, please don't stop! You certainly know how to write good story! More please.
> This is my first time to respond to any stories that I read. I love your story I just can't wait to read all of it. It touches my soul. I love it. I have been thinking that I should wait till you finish before I read any more. I hate to wait to see what happens next.
> WOW... after running across this neat story of love and compassion; I must tell you how much I am enjoying it. You are doing a marvelous job. Thanks for writing this for us. Love Is The Key.
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