A tale of two sons

By Jing Villamil

THERE are woes that need to be smoothed out fast and at once. Like in this true story, told by a girl who saw it first hand and wrote and froze it in time. She does what most wise men do not. She goes where most brave men dare not. It is not that she breathed death wish with her air; she just wished to run not just walk, to leap high not just hop, to reach out and hug not just one’s small self.

And so, that morn, with a song and a hop, she went to work. She did not know she would stop to sing and hop for a long time hence.

She joined the cops on their way to the wet lands where a man was hacked to death that dawn, the wounds at his back so deep these went through ribs to lungs to ribs.

The house they came to had no walls. They who lived there were poor, though they kept the place neat and swept, and did not mind the trees bent low and in; their leaves screened out eyes and sounds. 

They did not run from the cops; the cops came to take the dead from here. No one asked why and how, but words spilled from their pursed mouth as if corked too long. The dead man was their first born; he had not been here for years. The jail was more his home. He came back, not that he missed this house with no walls.  He came back to wound their hearts some more. As soon as he walked in, he had screamed: “you loved him, why can’t you love me as much?”  And he pushed and he bashed the face of their young son with all the hate he had stored in his heart. The sons pushed and pushed back around the house with no walls – one for dear life, one for a done life. Wet land was not good for foot grip, the young son slipped to his back, hands held out to ward-off fists that bashed and bashed. 

She who had cooked for the two sons, and he who had taught them to shape wood – they both rushed and struck the first son’s bent back as he bashed the boy. She, with a wedged knife to chop meats and bones; he, with a long sharp knife to scrape bark off wood. They struck and struck and struck through ribs and lungs and more ribs. And smashed a heart which must have loved first too much to have hurt as much.

The girl did not hear all the words let slip in sighs and sobs. She saw the scene played through their eyes. Their eyes were sad and torn but, oh yes, there! A glint of steel! “We did what we had to do. His life, if one can call his as life, must end here from where he had come. He can not take life out of our boy. The boy is what life we have left.” 

The girl left the cops to do their work. When she came back the next day, the three were gone with not a sign they lived there at all; only the trees which bent low and in, and screened out eyes and sound. And wet lands to smooth out a woe that was once a life.

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: All words used in this piece were monosyllabic – one word, one count. Try to read it out loud!)

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