Stepping Stones

Things are never what they appear to be on the outside

"My goodness, the crazy people are just thriving this week!" Exclaimed my friend John while we passed the famous neighborhood house, which was now painted more colors than I could count. I marveled at it as we drove slowly by it, enthused by how much work must have been put into it. No one ever that I've talked to has reported actually seeing the owner or owners out of his or their house...so everyone assumed they just stayed up in the heart of the night and worked on it. It was always different every week. I craned my neck and looked behind us as we passed it. The home was very petite, but the size could not be criticized, for there was a lot that went on in that house, apparently. I thought about how much I admired eccentric people like that. So spontaneous. Such a marvelous outlook on life, for sure. Such little things impressed and amused them. One time they painted it such a bright pink that it made the barbie dream house look masculine. And one week, they had everything around the house completely grey. It just looked like some dull house on the block, yet the most intense display of reality. I felt like they were mocking people around them that would do things to their house. People egged it, threw things through the windows, and tried trespassing. But, like every story about the famous house on the block, they were somehow driven away from it. In fact, they ran away fast from it, panting so hard their lungs must have been getting stretched to their limit. Some how, the next day all damages were repaired. No one ever saw who repaired it. When seeing the house painted a dull grey, most people thought it was to drive away the vandals, but I looked at it as a lesson for people to marvel on, that their houses all look dull and plain and nothing exciting, and they just conform to the standards of every other house. I could tell a lot about these people just by the way they made that house look. Most of the time it was painted something ridiculiously outrageous looking. One time they had made the house look like a package to be sent to "The Creative Part of the Human Mind". It was lettered in a large scrawl between the door and the window. They had painted strings to be wrapped around it so it wouldn't be mistaken for just some brown house.
This is a story about, well, no one in particular...but at the same time, it concerns everyone. And this story comes from me, Noon Thyme. It is a story about something that happened to me that altered my life forever. That statement has been made by many people...and I hate to have conformed to its usage, but I couldn't explain it any other way. Few have seen the realities I've seen. Few have experiences the Truth. Even fewer have grasped ahold of it entirely. I can say, without pride or even modesty, that I have.

One day during halloween, Noon was out trick or treating. (You might be thinking, for a seventeen-year-old grown boy, this is abnormal. True, but Noon had become accustomed to the abnormal, and admired it. Halloween was one of the times of the year where he could thrive on his abnormalities.) He couldn't wait to hit that particular house. He came to the house, and willed his feet to stop, but they didn't obey, and kept at their normal pace. Outiside of the house reflected the decor of someone either insane, or just looking for attention. On their door was a wreath. In the middle of it was a plaque with Chris Cringle himself, shouting his merry, "Ho ho ho!" To the city lights below. Their fence was painted red and green stripes. They had an enormous snow globe out on the front yard that was inflated. Inside of it were merry children holding hands, mouthes gaped, and apparently were singing to a bright star above them. He came to the front center of the house, and the gate stood wide open. he hinted that there had been no trick or treaters here. He took the initiative to be the first. It was a long walk from the public side walk, up the home made stepping stones of the house. He thought maybe this person just made holidays be the times they wanted them to. Maybe they accidently flipped the calendar too many pages ahead, and had thought that the Christmas holiday had just passed. Maybe they decided in what order the months went.
The first stepping stone had a lonely figure on it, looking out on a vista of shapes. There were squiggly lines, and polygons that made shapes that couldn't have been just scribbled randomly. Every line and angle must have been thought out and determined. But there were shapes outside of that one that were common. There were circles, triangles and squares. But these shapes didn't seem to be what the lonely person was staring at. He seemed to be mesmerized by the crazy looking polygon directly in front of him.
So much work must have been put into it. Though it was concrete, he couldn't bear the thought of stepping on this work. He looked to the next one, and saw it had a couple, hand in hand. The wrong thing here, though, was that they had no legs. He assumed the message here was that they weren't going anywhere. Not only that, but their other hands were gone also. He figured they probably wouldn't need their legs, or their other arms if they were just planning on being with each other and not going anywhere. Their hands held each other, and the other one would just be idled and have nothing to do, nothing to shape, nothing to search for. Apparently, this couple thought that all they had, all they ever dreamed of having, all their hope, trust, life, and soul belonged in this other person that they held onto with their only hands. But then he noticed there were arrows pointing at their skulls, and at their rib cages. There were X's before the arrows. Maybe this meant, he thought, that their hearts and minds were void of true love and understanding. This revelation shocked me. The figures etched in that stepping stone reflected the lives of the couples he had seen. He stepped around this stepping stone, and there was a hole after it, where there must have been a stepping stone once. He just went on to the next one, and there was a family sitting at a dinner table. On their faces, they all wore smiles, but then etched in their torsos were gaping holes. They had no eyes, so you couldn't tell what they really felt. They all were lying to each other, in a sense. They all thought if putting a smile on their face, there would be happiness. He guessed it didn't matter to the family if they didn't have any eyes. In fact, they probably prefered it, for they couldn't see the holes they bore in their torsos, or that the other family members had identical ones. He knew this because this scene looked all too familiar. The next stone he came to was just painted white. It had no dirt on it, no cracks, no nicks, and no imperfections in the cement. He made sure he didn't put his feet on that one. Finally, after what seemed a mile stretch from the public side walk to the porch, he had made it. But what drove him to the house was now a different matter. It wasn't just to see how crazy the people in the house were, but he now had a bigger craving to see more works from them. He stepped on the porch, sure-footed, faced the wreath on the door and looked into the merry eyes of Santa. He whispered to him that if he didn't come out in ten minutes, to call his parents. Santa's merry smile seemed to agree. Confident in this thing, he knocked three times on the door. For a long time it seemed, he heard not one stir in the house. He then wondered to himself if anyone else besides him had taken such a fascination to these people's home decor to even want to take the initiative to meet them. He waited another ten seconds, then knocked on the door again. He waited and waited, and his wait extended into minutes. He then turned and started to leave, and looked back at Santa, as if to say, "See you again sometime soon." With his back turned to the door, he pictured someone make their way to the door and open it. Then he heard a squeak of a door opening. Startled by his prediction, he turned fast and looked at the door. It remained closed. Maybe it was just the sound of the door in my mind, he thought. His mind had been opened to so many different things, especially after looking at the precious stepping stones. He turned to the house, then to the street, to the house. Something sparked in his mind and made him so curious about those people, he felt he could just tear through the door and be welcomed anyway by the people inside. He took a couple confident strides, and he felt concrete under his foot. He then stepped on the wooden porch, then froze. He had just stepped on the white stepping stone. His heart jumped, and he felt so bad. He turned fast to look down at the stepping stone. He stepped off the porch to get a closer look at it. It had remained the way it was when he first saw it. It was completely white. So white it seemed to give off a glow from the moonlight. He checked the bottom of his shoes. Definitely dirty enough to have rubbed off on this stepping stone. Carefully, he put his foot down on the stepping stone, and drug it across it's smooth surface. Still the same. Now more confident in it, he stomped on it. Same. Then he tried with all his will to get any sort of blemish on this stepping stone. It did not work.

The End

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