The Bubble

An elaborate reconstruction of the challenges faced by those engaging wars/ the war of parenting itself/ dealing with things taken away before time had really been given to enjoy them.

 

One bright August afternoon, a mother and son lay upon a patched quilt, spread like a delightful layer of synthetic butter across soft green grass-and the supple emerald stuff coated a vivid jade hillside, upon which lay many other mothers, many other sons, many other fathers, and many other daughters.

 

It was on this day that the mother of the child, a child no more than six or seven-who was perhaps a tad bit small for his age-would tell her boy that his father had gone and would never come back.

The war had taken one too many lives that day.

She blew him a kiss, ruffled his hair, whispered into his little pink ear how much she loved him. And she did love him.

And all the other mothers and fathers and brothers and daughters of the little green park loved each other very much as well.

 

The mother had told herself she wouldn't cry. She had expelled all the woe from her internal being the night before, by the throwing of picture frames; the shrieking of profanity; the cursing of God; the edge of a razor pressed hard against her wrists by trembling hands.

She pulled her shirt sleeves a little lower and forced her face into a cracked smile.

Her baby boy smiled back, his lips and cheeks stained with chocolate ice cream, immune to the gaping chasms filtering through her thin layer of sanity.

 

The mother looked away, searching the skies and the still lake over the horizon and the faces of every other mother in a frantic attempt to convince herself that she could speak, she could hold back tears.

Her lip quivered, she bit it.

Her wrists tingled, she pulled the bandages down tighter.

Her hair dropped out of its neat little line of perfection, she pushed it back.

 

The boy's tiny hands fumbled with the hilt of a bubble blower, with the sticky casing of bottle of liquid perfection in the eyes of a youth.

She bit her lip harder without realizing it and red stuff slipped out.

 

The boy stumbled to his knees, bubbles in hand; ridiculously blue eyes darting back and forth, lost in some unseen world.

 

He sank his maker of miracles into his little plastic jar of swirling possibilities with the awkward, imprecise movements of six or seven year old and pulled it free once more, staring, staring blankly.

Staring,

 

The mother began to speak, but her throat was raw and split. She watched.

 

The boy drew his wand near, let a stream of warm air forth into the glimmering circle, and gazed in total unequivocal awe as a perfectly balanced, untouched, shimmering vessel lifted up and into the warm velvet summer winds-fading, fading until it became one with the azure sky.

 

The mother of the boy wished very much that she could be so carefree as her son-so naive, so blissfully ignorant when the world around him was closing and crumbling, corrupted with littered streets and the chatter of gunfire. She wished that in the midst of it all, her mind could still rest easily upon the image of a tiny white bubble drifting, drifting.

She wished very much that she could blow a bubble of her own, and wrap her boy in it, and send him away from the charred bombshells and the deserted homes and the endless stares smeared upon the faces of the dead who lined the streets like leaves once did in Autumn,

 

The mother snatched the bottle and wand away from her baby boy, and the tears flowed in the embodiment of uncontrollable desire.

 

The boy stared, his eyes never quite meeting hers, always looking just past her gaze, into that unseen world of his.

 

He was always so entrenched in it.

 

With trembling movements, the mother began to blow a bubble. Its deformed composition flickered nervously from the great plastic portal, reaching with transparent hands desperately for the outside world.

 

With a hoarse sob, the mother let a vessel loose from the wand and broke into relentless tears.

 

The other parents in the park had begun to stare and whisper amongst each other.

Who was she to ruin such a gorgeous day with her sorrow?

 

The vessel neared the boy, touched his freckled nose, stayed there for a long while, watching, watching,

Watching.

It seemed to turn from the mother to her son again and again, torn between the two, but alas it embraced the boy, and first swallowed his face, and then his head, and then his arms and legs and torso and feet and fingers and all.

The other parents were doing double takes now, pointing and clutching their throbbing hearts in utter shock.

 

The sobbing mother smiled, but it was a sad smile. She could no longer distinguish reality from her longing fantasies. So she did what every good mother must learn to do frequently.

She watched, she waited, she listened, she accepted.

 

The boy pressed his tiny hands to the inside of the bubble, his eyes still peering out, never quite meeting the look of anyone at all.

 

The glistening vessel lifted him into the air, above the trees, so that he may gaze across all the green grasses and jade hills and reflecting lakes that might be for miles around.

 

The warm lavender breeze swayed the bubble back and forth, tugged it along as imprecisely and unpredictably as the boy had pulled upon his plastic wand.

He smiled and waved at his mother, she smiled and waved back.

 

The other happy little mothers and enlightened, tall fathers and darling little ladies and handsome young lads of the park all rushed to the mother, to the flickering shadow of boy in the bubble, that passed slowly across the delightful green grass, drifting into the blue.

 

Do something!, they scream.

Stand up!, they yell.

 

They shake her and slap her and shout into her face-pushing one another aside to try and take a look into her faded gray eyes; into the eyes of a woman who would be so horrendously unstable as to accept the gruesome fate of her son being torn from her with nothing more than pain-etched silence.

 

They're hurting now, they're sobbing, they're climbing all over one another to try and reach the boy-dialing phones, shouting orders, climbing trees, running and leaping frantically-hurling stones towards the magnificent, knightly vessel.

 

The mother finally catches her baby boy's bewildered stare and holds it close, cradling it, shouting things she had always wanted to, sobbing things she had always held back, whispering things she should have said.

But everything's alright now, it's for the best, it's the way things were meant to be. He's giggling and dancing and twirling with rash joy inside his new best friend, spinning wildly, feeling things no living thing has ever felt.

 

The sun is growing warmer.

It streams through his vessel, unkempt. It flourishes, explodes around him, warms him, cools him, embraces him. And he embraces it. He embraces what all is to come, what all is to be discovered in the endless abyss of blue above him.

He's more excited than he's ever been in his life.

 

But below, a strong little boy lifts a lean, perfectly smooth stone-the size of his father's fist. He tosses it once, twice-as if is a game, and a stupendous prize will be awarded at the end of the day, and all will be well.

It's cool against his skin.

The other children tell him no, but he throws it any way.

His body lurches from a great height to a low slouch in a quick, precise movement-and the stone is flying.

 

It turns over and over, so quickly that it appears to be holding still.

The airs cools it so quickly that it becomes a searing ball of erupting flame; an exploding star of force.

 

It skids into the bubble, and a great boom echoes across the little green valley as the vessel is no more, and the stone has torn through it's opposite transparent wall and become lost in the blue, and the boy watches with envy as he falls unfairly.

 

He turns doesn't turn, he doesn't twist, he doesn't laugh.

His little pink face grows solemn as he hits the earth, and explodes into dust.

And the little mothers and the tall fathers and the lovely ladies and the handsome boys are collapsing with him, falling over upon one another and emitting gritty sighs as they slide into the earth.

And the world is swirling, and the mother's eyes are churning, and the little green valley fades.

And the magnificent blue sky dies away.

And the rich brown trees crumble and wither.

 

And the mother is all alone in a bare, cold field, littered with rocks and jagged stones, staring into the gray sky.

And the tiny plastic jar of possibilities had long since been dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End

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