The Old Man


The old man sits and waits, staring at an empty canvas. A canvas that awaits his thoughts, his fears, his pain and his love.

The old man drifts from thought to thought. At first he sees his cold mother and distant father, he sees the train station being leveled by the bombs of a madman.

He sees himself running through the fields where bodies have fallen. The ground wet by the tears of those who survived. He sees himself taken away by those in black with white collars, he remembers the sting of their violations.

He tries to escape but the scars remain, spreading through his body like a plague, it denies him speech and it fills him with hate. When the madman’s bombs cease to fall he is allowed to leave but part of him remains in that building of shame.

He is not the same when he sees family again, for the scars remain as well as the shame. The old man stares at the empty canvas, remembering everything stolen from him, his love, his beauty, his voice.

He falls down.

Until love reaches out and extends her hand to him, she helps him find his voice, his beauty and his love. She helps to stand and for a time the canvas is filled with love and beauty. But the scars remain.

Love is not strong enough, she soon becomes overwhelmed. His pain, his shame forces her to flee. He is alone once again, his canvas is empty again.

His voice starts to die, he starts to cry. He falls. He cannot heal for he knows not how, years go by and his canvas remains dry. The scars remain. Until one day…

There is a knock at the door, it is the old mans son with scars of his own. The son tells his father that he forgives him, that he may have scars but they do not define him.

The father begins to cry, for no one had ever told him that forgiveness was allowed. The shame had taught him that. The son tells him that he can heal once he begins to forgive himself.

How says the old man

Speak! Says his son, speak until the scars have no power. He begins to speak, and colors begin to appear on the canvas, soon fields of green meadows and blue sky’s explode across the canvas.

All the while the man is speaking, he talks about the mad man and his bombs. The men in black with white collars and the soldiers weeping for their lost friends. About the love that tried to rescue him.

Soon the canvas fills the room with images of beauty and color, the beauty that was trapped in his soul, the beauty that is now free.

Old man begins to cry and his son asks why? These are not tears of pain says the father but of disappointment. I’m an old man he says, I’ve been a prisoner for so long. But today you are not says the son, today you are free.

The father smiles, what is it asks his son. I need another canvas for tomorrow he says for there is more to say.


Featured image by Will Beljaars

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