"David!" David turned and raised his head, looking around with shock and surprise in equal measure.
"Father! Sir!" Then he let his head drop as tears welled up.
I walked slowly over to David, leaned over and picked him up. "Oh, David, what's the matter, Son?" Tears fell openly from the boy as he stared with concern. "Why, Son, why! You were so happy."
Stuttering and quietly sighing, "My father! ... not being wanted! ... I thought you didn't want me! I felt I was in the way!"
"Son, we both wanted you. Your home was with me. Oh! Son." He hugged David tightly as the tears flowed freely from the boy. I was told the island needed me, but a very lost, upset, and deprived little boy needed me more. Gently lifting the boy's chin, tears glistening down his cheeks, "Son, I want you to stay with me. I want you to be around and tell this old man when he's doing something wrong - even when he's doing something right. You are back with your second father now, but I want you to know, you were always wanted and still are. Stay close, Son."
He looked into John's eyes for the truth in his words, and all he saw was love and compassion. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you," then he bowed his head again.
"Don't be sorry, Son, be happy. Okay!" Nodding, he held John tightly around his neck. "Son, a grieving heart is a lost heart. Your father was a bad man and I know it hurts. Your past was not what you deserved, but you need to rid the hurt and anguish, open your heart, or you will never be at peace. Son, you may have departed life, but that doesn't mean you can't live. Life can be the heart of living... what's in your heart is what's taking your life away..."
The hurt was raw. David with his tormented mind was still caught between what his father did and how in a different way he had caused the same suffering. Was he any better than the life given to him, or did he betray all that in life he held? Had his father not rejected the love that he offered? As did he? "Sir, I promise to hold the vows my father never kept. I will take the love offered and promise to return it many fold. My second father gave me all the needs that any being has to survive, I misused the gift. I promise to my Holy Father that I will return my gift one hundred fold to him and to the only real human being that ever loved me. I love you, Sir."
"Dad would be nice," I smiled. Returning the smile, he kissed my cheek and promised to do better. I just laid my hand on his heart and he knew, he knew the love he received was without question or gain.
"Now where is that happy boy? The one that smiled like a Cheshire cat? The boy who lit up a room as soon as he walked into it?" The boy with the sun bright smile?"
"I love you, Si... Dad."
"I love you too, David."
Both adult and child soaked up what both were giving. There was a peace that hung in the air which this uninhabited place had never really seen before. There was a peace, a silence, a longing that was seen, as a father and son revelled in the tranquillity that was on offer. Though not blood related, there was a bond that kept two people happy and eventually alive.
The silence was broken when a light appeared, holding the image of David's heavenly Father. "Ohh look, the high and mighty." David gave a giggle. John looked over to the heavenly being, then walked over to the light. "Pray tell, O high and mighty, what do we owe the pleasure?" John was smiling. David held a look on his face, which was a mixture of serious and fun. Then God smiled, which got David smiling too, or as they say, he 'lightened up'.
"David, you are bound to walk this plain for as long as you are happy. Your life from this day on will be as a celestial being. You shall feel as in life, but contact has to be learned. As with any quest taken, you will have to gain the experience and embrace it. You will belong to no one and answer only to me."
David was a little perplexed at this calling and what it entailed. "Father, what is my purpose?"
"Son, it is to give you freedom and what you so desire... a life. Your only contact, as in life, will be who you call your earthly father, John. You will be of spirit, but will have your contact, as in life. John, you are a good man and a kind man, guide him wisely." John looked at David, then held him.
"David, your purpose is to side with the truth. To give the same freedom you have sought. You will learn and gain the power to wrong a right, give comfort and stability to the lost. You as a being were lost and lonely, give the comfort that you yourself have received."
Looking between John and his Father he tried to comprehend what had been said and given.
"Son, your faith is with God. Your being is with John. You must behold both as one." David looked confused and lost to the request. "Son, your guilt and your sorrow are your nemesis. John has spoken of your undoing. You must open your heart; rid yourself of what has befallen you. When your fear is lost you will gain truth."
He looked at John with confusion. "David, we call it a guilt trip. You have let your father rule and master you, even after death. You must separate from your father and be who you are. You! As a person you grow and mature. David, your father is not you! When you can rid yourself of the guilt, then, and only then will your freedom be yours."
His silence spoke more than words. David was in deep thought. "How may I separate them? My head shows me my guilt. My heart shows me my desire."
John knelt down in front of David. "When you were alone on this island your desire was to live. To live! That was your heart. You need to follow your strengths. What is in your head you take. What is in your heart you give. David, follow your heart."
David looked between the light and John, a serious expression adorned his face. As David sat down looking over the horizon, John asked David to take the time to rid himself of his demons, mainly his father. "Talk with your God, be at peace with yourself and what you strive for." He gave the celestial being of David a hug. "You will have your own transport," he smiled. "Join me at your home, David. Okay? Time is something you have plenty of. Solitude and time alone are a person's aid." Holding David he said, "I am but a heart beat away." With some doubts, John rose and walked to his boat.
That night over dinner he told Mary what had transpired on the island. Mary was a little put out at not being there to see David, whom she now considered part of the family. John had wanted, no needed, to go back to the island to decide or at least determine what efforts were to be made regarding its up-keep, but he also had to give David the time to breath and refresh his thoughts. With that in mind, an effort to postpone was a blessing. Days went by, then days turned into weeks, but for David struggling to bring his mind to peace was a torment. His overriding effort was the lack of his father's ability to love him.
There were times that he had been on the island for only a few days at a time. Then there were times he was away for weeks on end. David thought that in the beginning he was sometimes in his father's thoughts, but that seemed to diminish the more he was away. And as he started to walk, his relationship with his father changed even more. He stayed away more often, his mother became sick, and David sought comfort in the people around him.
The people on the island, workers, their families, their friends, even their children, gave him a sense of belonging - like a partnership within their own sorrow. It seemed he could relate to them on their level. Inside, it became a pleasure to relate to them, love them, be with them, even help them. Anyone of them could have been his mother, father, brother, or sister, and he felt part of them... he was part of them. In the beginning, his mother protected him from the abuse, but she became sick and shortly died.
If his father had cared maybe she would have lived, at least she could have been happy. Being a fact he now understood, his mother was as much abused as was he. The thoughts of why she had to leave him were now answered. He was sad she had gone, but was also glad as now her suffering was at an end... she was at peace. "Forgive me, Mother, I didn't understand." He cried for his mother, but at the same time he was beginning to despise his father even more.
Being alone now meant his father had a suitor for his anger - David. Even though his abuse was never physical, it didn't make the situation any easier. His abuse was a brain curdling pain that can only come from words of torture... mental abuse. His heart cried from the torment. After all, a strap, a hit, physical marks heal.
He sat in silence, all sound gone. The trees, the waves, even the birds were silenced as he thought his way back to sanity. "I love you, Mother. Father, you are DEAD! ... You hear me ... DEAD!" The birds seemed to echo his words as the many shrieked, now adorning the silence.
David was now a being, not alive, not dead. His peace was what he now decided. He had been so long in turmoil that even though his mind was now getting towards a goal, it would still take time to heal. His past could never be completely in the past, but it could be stored and held at bay. Now that he had compromised his downfall, he could try and live for the future. Storing the doubts would take time, but he had to come to terms with them to have any chance of reclaiming his sanity, to smile... to laugh... to live.
His first hurdle was his heavenly Father, then John and Mary. He knew he had a home, but he also knew he couldn't settle in it. It was not the right time.
Please forgive me as Thou would forgive any sinner or breaker of thy commandments. Thou art my Father, my Saviour, and my Redeemer.
For the first in many a time he relaxed, looking over the horizon with a sense of accomplishment. Joy with a certain amount of freedom with himself and his pursuits. His soul smiled now that it was becoming free of its shackles.
Energy anew, David flew into the bedroom and jumped on the bed, causing John to flip into the air and land with a bump on the floor. Being winded, words were lost. After a few minutes to sort out what had just happened, he looked up and saw David looking down at him with a grin that made its own horizon. Any cussing he could have done was now replaced with a smile and a lot of joy. "David! For that you owe me a hug... big time." The words were new, but the sentiment the same, he jumped down off the bed, lying flat on John's stomach, then hugged John with every ounce of strength he possessed with tears of joy running down his face.
The struggle to feel and touch sapped at David's energy so much that as he gained his footing, he collapsed in a heap over John. Looking at him, he smiled, "I love you, Si... Dad," then drifted into what seemed a restful sleep. Exhausted after taking David's weight, he placed him on his bed. A face with no intentional glow faced up to John as if contentment was something that had never been tried. The look was so peaceful, sooo... as with a picture, it told a story without a word being uttered.
"Give yourself a chance, Son," was said but not spoken. "If you, his heavenly Father have any feeling for this boy, one of your children, guard him with tenderness and more thought," was the prayer uttered. Walking away he turned to close the door behind him, looking at the boy all he could feel was contentment at how peaceful he looked. "You are surely a child this world does not deserve, but you surely are the 'Son of a Dream'."
He walked into the kitchen with a look of contentment. "Breakfast will be ready in a minute, the pots brewed." She looked at John, then went back to what she was doing. "You look like you had a good night's sleep." With little more than an, "Mmm," he poured himself his usual morning waker-upper, his cup of tea. Mary of course knew nothing of David's presence, which, at least for now, was for the best. He had an inkling that if she realised David was here and nothing was said, he would no doubt be grounded and get the proverbial ear bashing to go with it. He smiled.
"What's so funny?"
By the late morning David was gone, gone to where his peace lay, at least for now. There was still a sense of loss within David, but with hope he would now be at peace. He trundled along the beach with what now seemed an accomplishment. His fears were getting under control, his upset minimal, his outlook a little more promising. He looked up to the heavens with question.
His heavenly Father looked at David as he appeared beyond the light. "What is it, my son?"
"What do you wish me to do? You have a task for me?"
"In time, Son, in time." He knew that David would do his task, but he needed for him to do it without his warning, as his involvement could bring him into situations so vile and depressing. What he would see or expected to see would be different at every scene. Explaining to a child about a child would prove difficult. To memorise or imagine what will be seen would at times be difficult for even an older person to comprehend. "Son, for now heed my words, this island was the cause of unhappiness, in time it will become a cure." With more confusion David smiled.
Over lunch, Mary talked about the island, stating that millions had been spent on its beauty, now it was being left as a reminder of its past. Which in all honesty was a fact. The island was not the aggressor, its maker was. As David becomes more relaxed as to his self and being, the island will become a safe haven, not a destructive force. "So tell me what you think I should do with it?" I suppose I was asking for the help, not the observations.
After some thought, Mary replied, "I can't tell you whether to restore it or leave it as it is, a ruin, but I would say that for now at least, leave it as a retreat for David, give him some security." Her thoughts were in some ways echoing my own, at least where David was concerned. As for restoring it, I was still somewhat perturbed.
On impulse, I rang Jack for some advice regarding my other piece of property. His advice was to clean it up in readiness of it maybe being sold. "I mean, what do you want to keep hold of it for, pay taxes on it, and never even use it?" Ask a lawyer a stupid question... I knew he was right, but all this talking would not resolve the part David had to play in all of this. I mean in the end it was the happiness of David that was paramount. I knew that whatever was decided it would be hard, especially for David. Going to the cause might solve that problem, so a trip was beckoned for the weekend.
Days leading up to going to the island were thoughtful. I thought in my own mind I had decided I was going to part company with what was at one time a place of beauty. Then of course there was David, how and what would he do or feel with the decision. Then there was the point about my homestead, would it feel comfortable or even be home for David so close to his former past? Talking with the source would be the only way to resolve that concern.
As I walked up the path to what was now a disaster area, I shuddered as I saw the house. I again walked as close as I felt safe towards the cottages or what was them a short time ago. I determined I would never feel comfortable ever coming here, even for a visit. I hoped David would understand my reluctance. At that thought, David again knocked me off my feet. After smiles and plenty of hugs, I took David by the hand and walked slowly down to the beach.
"So where has my little man been?" The smile grew wide. The reply was as expected about his feelings, himself and his former life shall we say.
"Sir, I have missed you so much. I know I made you unhappy with what I did, but I will try and make it right. I'm sorry."
"Don't be sorry, be happy. And why may I ask, the Sir?"
"I have no right to call you my father till I earn it." The moisture in his eyes shone in the sun, but he was steadfast in his reply.
I led him over to the rocks close by and sat him on my lap. "David, you are but a child. I may not be your dad, but that doesn't mean you have to earn what you need, what a parent would or should give freely. Do you understand?" The smile he gave was a false expression of how I think he was really feeling. His tears were heartfelt while my heart was saddened at such sorrow for one so young. His hug showed signs of comfort as he relaxed his grip.