AWAKENING – about one man’s earliest recollection of his life.

How far back do you remember? It might be prudent to jot that down before age clouds and pushes back our story into the mists of time.

A bee and a flower, promises of new lives.

***************************************

Eric Alagan Blog_10_small-red-flower-2

The half-naked boy did not understand the commotion. Usually, no one visited them for weeks on end.

Men stood outside their house, an old wooden hulk with an attap roof. The women huddled in the kitchen.  He thought he heard sniffles and sobs.

He moved from one adult to another, one hand pulling up the oversized shorts that threatened to slip to his knees, the other hand stretched out to receive the sweets. The men looked at him in a strange way. It was years before he realised why they looked at him so.

His mother had forgotten to serve him lunch, or so it seemed. He did not mind, as his belly bloated with sticky sweets and sugar coated biscuits.

Then, all the men left abruptly. Where did the men go…and where is my Papa?

He woke with a start! He had dozed off from the afternoon heat and humidity, a half-eaten biscuit still clasped in his wet clammy hand.

A lorry had pulled up and was reversing with squeaking axle and grunting exhaust. The tailboard clattered open and men jumped out the back.

The boy stood still, watching. He expected to see his father, in his usual pristine white dhoti.

As the last of the men hopped awkwardly off, the boy felt an unexplainable pang of pain, a sorrow that his three-year old heart did not comprehend.

He watched silently as the wooden bed lorry trundled down the narrow path, bounced onto the dirt road and roared away with relief.

The men and women quickly emptied their house, which fell silent and dark. The boy stood alone under the tree. No one came to get him.

Many years later, he realised that it was the earliest he recalled of his life…and that was all he remembered of his father’s funeral.

****** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2011 ******

 

22 comments

  1. I don’t know that it’s well known. His more famous books were the Darling Buds of May books, that they based the TV series on, and Fair Stood The Wind For France. But he also wrote some rather darker novels about wartime Burma, including the Jacaranda Tree. However, I have to admit that when someone suggests a title to me, I immediately don’t want to read it. I’m contrary that way.

  2. Hi Eric, I’m just looking at various blogs I like to see how they have evolved so that I can improve my own, and I really liked this story. What a brilliant first post.

    1. Hello Elaine,

      This was my very first blog post and you’ll see my very first ‘follower’ commenter – Jasey. She’s still following and reading my blog and hopefully, one day, I get to meet her.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You consider it brilliant but there is a young man out there who was ‘offended’ by the ending.

      LOL, that was sobering.

      All good wishes, my dear
      Eric

      1. Yes I saw that. Bizarre. Especially as, when I first read it, I thought it was fiction. It has the same kind of atmosphere as HE Bates’s Jacaranda Tree. Have you read it?

      2. I’m don’t have much of a literary background, Elaine – actually none at all – and I’m self taught. I’ve not heard of many apparently well known books, let alone read them.

        Peace,
        Eric

    1. That’s great, Ian – I wonder whether you wrote them down before they fade. I know you record family history – which I reckon all of us should try to do too. I’m doing just that – to one day pass it to my children.

      Cheers,
      Eric

  3. Dear Eric,

    Quite an amazing piece, for your very first blog. And the death of your father must have certainly resonated for it to have become your initial posting.

    I find it extraordinary that you have such vivid recall, from a 3-year old perspective. Perhaps such a tragic and untimely sorrow was etched upon your young, fragile, eggshell mind. (A slight corruption of a Jim Morrison line, he of The Doors.)

    I agree somewhat to what Darrian had to say, but then you are telling the tale of your Dad–YOUR father–and as such does have much resonance, something not taken lightly, and something that cannot so easily be dismissed.

    On that last note, Darrian is wrong; your last two lines do not reside in cliche. They remain permanent in the psyche of a child, something to be told, something heartlfelt and needed to be said.

    Thank you for sending along that link, Eric. It helps me deal with my own father’s demise.

    As I said, I am eternally grateful for having those years, those decades, with my father, and I cannot possibly fathom the thought of having lost my Dad at the tender age of three.

    I appreciate your concern and thoughtful words, my friend, and I in turn wish you much peace of mind, that at least you remembered a hint, a glimpse of your Dad.

    You were subjected to a terrible and confusing loss. And I am quit sure, that with your own lovely brood, you will make a tremendous impact in their lives and that they, too, will treasure your Being.

    Take care, Eric, and to a wealth of mindful calm.
    Paul

    1. Dear Paul,

      Thank you for following the link here and for your heartfelt words. It has taken more than 55 years and I still miss him – but without the pain. As I once mentioned in a poem, the knife dulls.

      I can appreciate what Darrian said as that is what they teach in creative writing school about flashbacks. The last I saw in his blog, he is a young man with a full life ahead of him. I wish him well. It was generous that he had taken it upon himself to advise me. This was his first/last visit and comment on my blog – he has since discontinued blogging, I believe.

      If there is one thing I learnt from my father’s early demise, it made me more determined that I would be there for my children.

      I’m happy for those who have the good fortune and privilege of a father growing old with them. Others who dump their old man in a home sadden me – no judgements here, only an observation.

      Treasure the memories of your Pops and in that sense, he lives with you.

      All good wishes, my friend,
      Eric

  4. Eric, the last couplet ruins this piece. As a reader, I am offended that you would take me out of the moment, the emotion, the present and throw me into some unknown decades ahead in the name of reflection. But as a writer, I urge you to be confident in this piece..there is much more to be said about a three year old realizing his father has died after an afternoon night. Don’t cliché your work sir.

    1. Thank you Darrian,

      I’m a permanent student and am always ready to learn from people who know better. I’m sorry if my writing style offended you.

      Cheers, Eric

      P/s What do you mean by ‘afternoon night’?

  5. I was a little put off that I had to click on the ‘header page’ and click yet again on a link to read the fiction.

    But it was very worthwhile. Wow! What a punch line!

  6. Though short, it was very heartrending. The essence which is the emotion of the boy was captured beautifully. Very well written indeed.

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