Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crab Mentality (Part 26)

June 26, 2010 (9am)
                Chalano walked to the woods. When he was far enough from Kim’s house, he called, “Hey, where are you?”
                Only the breezes responded with their gentle sound. Only the leaves of the trees responded with their rustling sounds. Chalano asked, “Are you there?”
                He walked past the trees. “Welcome back, Marchus.”
                Chalano suddenly screamed in surprise. The ball of fire had been floating behind him. Chalano realized how silly he was, and sheepishly scratched his head. He put his hands in his pockets. The boy became serious, and said, “I’m not here to talk about elements, good and evil, and blah-blah-blah. I’m just here to ask you how I could stop the man who’s been killing my neighbors. You said that only I can help, right?”
                “Follow me,” the fire said with its deep, powerful voice.
                Chalano followed the fire as it floated into the thicker part of the woods. They passed by tall trees, plants, and weeds. They reached a small pond. It was just a deep hole in the ground that contained rainwater. There was about three feet of grassy ground around the pond, and beyond that were the roots of the gigantic trees. The fire stopped, and quietly ordered Chalano, “Make the water move.”
                “This must be a prank,” Chalano said, laughing uncontrollably. “Okay, I can make it move.”          
                Chalano sat down beside the pool, and used his hand to move the water. Ripples moved across the pond. “See? It’s moving,” he joked.
                “Don’t touch it, Marchus. You’re supposed to move it with your mind.”
                “Oh, my goodness,” Chalano exclaimed as he stood up, annoyed. “Are you trying to make me believe that I’m Superman? Superman belongs to the comics! Get lost! If water is the solution to the fires, I’d rather buy more buckets for our house than waste my time with you.”
                Chalano began to leave.
                “Would your father be proud of you?”
                He turned to yell at the fire, “Don’t you dare mention my father!”
                And he continued walking away. “You want to be as wise as your father was. The really wise don’t go around bragging about what they know. The wise prove themselves, and keep trying to do the impossible. You won’t even try to move the pond.”
                “Stop it,” Chalano yelled as he walked away.
                “Some children don’t deserve a father …”
                Chalano abruptly stopped walking, and turned. “Even if I TRIED to move that water with my mind just like what you’re saying, it won’t move,” he yelled in angry frustration.
                Chalano quickly walked to the pond, stomping his feet a bit. He stood before the pond, sarcastically waving his arms, and yelling, “Move, water! Move!”
                He stopped doing it, and turned to the fire to yell, “Can’t you see? I can’t do it!”
                “You can’t do anything great when you’re angry. Water is a cool, calm element. You must be like it.”
                “Stop it,” Chalano retorted as he tightly closed his eyes, and pressed his forehead with his left hand in frustration.
                “Do you live up to your mother’s expectations?”
                Chalano suddenly removed his hand from his face, and his eyes widened with anger. “Enough! Don’t include my mother in this!”
                The fire became brighter, and its voice became louder. “You grew up without a father. It was just you and your mother. You saw your friends and their fathers. You asked yourself, ‘Why am I not  like them?’ It made you feel so incomplete. There was no father who could attend your school events, no father who you could play sports with, and no father who could scare your bullies. Even when you tried to search for him, he had been gone forever. He had been dead. It made you feel so different and insecure. You were a scared kid.”
                “Stop ---“
                “When you got to high school, you learned to pretend. You liked to pretend to be tough and strong. You yearned to belong with the cool crowd. Just like with most high schools, the cool crowd wasn’t the wise and promising crowd. The cool crowd of your school accepted you, and you became a member of Coal. Being a member made you feel good. You were the newest and youngest. You pretended to be as tough and as bad as the oldest members. You did what they did. You burned animals alive like they burned animals alive. It was too late when you realized what you were doing. You were member of a gang of criminals, and you were participating with them. You quit, hid in your house for a while, and transferred to a school in another town. The gang got imprisoned. You thought that you could leave that way of life; you thought that you could just forget all about it, but the animals that you had killed kept haunting you. They kept pleading for their lives in your nightmares. You are good by nature, and memories of those days made you feel very guilty. You met Kim, and you saw how he was just like the other good kids. His life was all about school, he kept no secret from his mother, and he had a father. It makes you feel more different than ever. Memories of your past with Coal keep pulling you down. It keeps you from aspiring to be better. You are a lonely, insecure, and frightened boy. You think, ‘What if I got imprisoned just like the Coal members?’ It makes you feel like you’re trapped in a big mistake of a lifetime even before you started in life.”
                Chalano tried to yell again, but he lost his voice as tears began to fall down his face. He turned away, and sat down before the pond. His back was bent, and his covered his face with his hands while he sobbed in silence. It was just too much. What the fire said were facts that Chalano had never clearly noticed. They had always been deep, unspoken emotions that kept causing Chalano to be very shy. The fire shouldn’t have brought them up to define them in full description, because it hurt Chalano like crazy.
                The light of the fire became softer, and it spoke with a gentler voice. “I am the master of all fires, and you should call me Master. You should trust me, for, as much as you don’t believe in the impossible, the arsonist is after you. It doesn’t want to kill you, but it will kill everyone around you.”
                Chalano realized what he was doing. He was a boy, so he shouldn’t cry. He couldn’t stop sobbing, though. Be a man, Chalano, he told himself. You were so brave. Think positive. Relax. He removed his hands from his face, and quickly wiped his tears away with the sleeve of his T-shirt. He tried to recall his funniest moments with Kim to cheer himself up. He suddenly remembered the fire saying, “The arsonist is after you.” Horrible. He tried hard to ignore the idea, but he remembered his mother, Kim, Emma … If only he could move seas and mountains to save the people who he cared for the most …
                Ripples glided across the pond. He instinctively looked up to check if something was falling from the trees to cause the ripples on the pond, but the leaves of the trees were not falling. No one was touching the pond. He looked back to the pond. Move. The ripples became small waves. He suddenly remembered an incident that happened 29 days ago:

                The waves were splashing on the shore five feet from him. He and his mother would be traveling back to the city soon, and it was his last chance to cherish the scenery. If he ever felt totally bored at home this year, he would remember the day when he stood on this place. That would cheer him up. He raised his left hand to look at his black, Casio wristwatch. 4:00pm. He had only a few minutes left.
   He couldn't decide which was more blue, the sea or the sky? The sun seemed to be burning his skin and the waves sounded so soothing to the ears, but he turned away from the beach. He began walking away from the shore.
   A loud noise behind him. He looked back. The waves were rushing toward him. He ran to avoid them. The waves gently touched the back of his shoe then slid back into the sea. "The waters are calling out to you," a voice whispered.

                The small waves in the pond had become stronger. Chalano felt scared to learn that he had such a strange ability, but, at the same time, delighted about the miracle. He smiled, and exclaimed, “It’s moving!”
                “Well done,” Master said. “Now, you learned how to move water. You should not try to control it. Instead, you should communicate to it.”
                Master continued, “Evening is approaching. Come back tomorrow, and go home now.”
                “Yes,” Chalano replied with excitement. “I’ll show Kim how it’s done.”
                “You should not let anybody know about your ability,” Master warned.
                “Why not?”
                “You are the only person who has that ability. It is very special. Something that is very special should not be known by other people. People will just react through envy, hate, and evil.”
                “But Kim is not an ‘other person.’ He’s my best friend ---“
                “Yes, he’s your best friend, but he’ll surely tell other people about it. You know how talkative he is.”
                “Okay,” Chalano finally agreed.
                He walked back to Kim’s house as Master vanished into thin air.
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