Timothy’s Autumn (For Children)
Red, yellow, orange, the colors of all these crunchy leaves stacked up on each other in this beautiful mess of a pile. The wind blows each of them and you can hear them shuffling along as the breeze scatters them into faraway yards. Someone will be looking outside his little window. Ten years old he’ll see them and think “Opportunity.” Not opportunity really unless they’re stacked into a pile almost sky high so he can thrust himself into them and, I don’t know. Get lost in them? But he doesn’t own a rake. He doesn’t but he wishes he did, because the son’s not out today, which makes it even more beautiful outside and it really feels like autumn. It really does. And all the other kids on the block are carelessly and aimlessly throwing themselves backwards, that’s right. FALLING into the leaves. Because they trust, they really trust them to catch them. They’re so many that they can handle the impact of a falling elementary age child. They’re dying anyway. At the end of their life cycle they almost want children to come crashing down on them. It would be a mercy. A gift. Some company maybe, other than other boring crunchy leaves.
He goes outside. Timothy, he goes outside. With his hands he gathers all the leaves he possibly can. He doesn’t REALLY know what he’s doing. Father usually does this part for him. But he wants to FALL into the leaves so badly. Plus, they’re perfectly crisp. Perfectly burgundy, orangish, yellowish, maroonish, sunset. They’re perfect. They keep managing to get away carried on by the wind. No use. Each time he gathers, they drift away, several at a time. He can’t manage to get them fixed into one heap.
He’s sweating by now. Weary, he’s panting. He REALLY wanted to fall into these leaves. He’s a miserable little kid. All the other kids on his block are joyful, absorbing the bliss, basking in the lightness of their youth. They are carefree and exuberant while Timothy is frustrated and exhausted. Glaring at the other kids, he asks himself, “How could they?” And he runs inside to tell his Daddy.
“Daddy why is it this way Daddy? Aren’t I just a kid, just the same as they? And don’t we live on the same block and go to the same school Daddy, I think that my heap of leaves didn’t work out because I was gathering alone. And those other kids have their Mommies and Daddies raking the leaves up for them. And I was just wondering if you’d come do that for me? I mean I know you’ve got a lot to do and I know you’re busy! But I do REALLY want to play out in the lawn with the crunchy crispy leaves.”
Daddy, tunes in attentively to what his son his saying and kneels down. “I’m sorry son it is like this.” Daddy moves along gently surrounding boy with his words. “Timothy dear child.” Father is almost whispering now, “I love you and don’t ever think that you are not special just as they are. I worry about you, sometimes I think ‘Why Timothy doesn’t laugh the same as he used to and he is not carefree, and I think to myself ‘What’s the matter?’” Daddy shifts his attention toward something else.
“Timothy, why don’t we come inside and play your favorite old card game that you’ve loved to play since you were seven years old, and I bought you your first deck of cards? I want only to protect you from this weather. A storm is coming.”
Timothy is bitter by now. “I don’t wanna play. I wanna go rake leaves.”
He inevitable begins to throw a temper tantrum; kicking and shouting. He is mad because does not want to play Daddy’s card game. He’s mad because he’d kind of rather go outside and roll around in a bouncy bunch of leaves. He slips his hands into his pockets and as a natural result of his sadness his bottom lip droops. His eyebrows are so heavy so they are sagging. Daddy thinks that Timothy is adorable this way. But he doesn’t show Timmy that softened side of himself. At 10 years old, Daddy shows Timmy that the things that are important to Timmy are ALSO important to Daddy. Full of sorrow, yet maintaining a high regard for Daddy, Timmy approaches his Father.
“Daddy I don’t know why it has to be this way still, I mean. Don’t you want me to have what all those other kids have?”
Timothy is crying now and is ashamed to be losing his composure in front of Daddy. He has no care for this storm. After all, he’s missing out on a world of fun.
His Father’s never seen him like this, but his father likes it. It makes him feel tender toward him. He sees Timmy’s true heart. Parts of Timmy he’d never seen before. There is SO much tenderness in Daddy’s heart toward Timmy. This is his boy. His one and only true boy. He just wants to deal delicately with and tenderly with Timmy boy. Just so softly in his sorrow.
Daddy wants to play a game with Timmy if he will allow. But Timmy doesn’t want to though because he is SAD that the kids just right outside his window are enjoying this cool September. Timothy Michael Edwards ultimately makes the decision to go upstairs to his room to play alone. His blinds are folded and so he is not paying attention to the children on his block. His father, a carpenter just stepped away to finish refining one of his latest cabinets. Mother walks into the room. Mother is so glad to see her boy! She is so satisfied already just at the sight of him!
She kneels down where he is playing with his trains, crashing them into each other. “I missed you today my dear Timmy all day while I was gone at work. Your father told me you were feeling down. I think you and me we need to talk, especially about this storm that is coming and about things we might need to do to keep safe. Your Father is concerned that something may happen to you if you get caught up outside with all those other kids, and distracted by the games they play in heaps of leaves. You are not missing out. Why are you so unwilling to play your cards with Daddy?”
“You should know already Mother, didn’t you pass down the street and see Rosemary, Paul, Elizabeth, Evette, Jonathan, and Steven, skipping about, twirling and tossing themselves into these awfully large mountains of leaves? They were laughing as though….You would have thought it was somebody’s birthday. It almost tempted me to go and ask for a slice of cake. I mean Mother, I watched them. I was peeking outside the window. I had to because the laughter was so loud. Then when I went outside to try and scrape up some leaves for me to jump in, the mean ol’ wind took them all away and I cried. Meanwhile, Daddy invited me to play a card game, which I thought was mean because he could have helped me rake some leaves, like all the other kids’ fathers, but instead he thought it’d be BETTER to play cards. Mother it is obvious why I’m feeling down.”
Mother was really hurt to hear this. But knowing Daddy’s heart, she gives little regard to Timothy’s frustration. Mother didn’t really understand because she loves Daddy. Oh she loves them them both A LOT. Mother goes and talks to Daddy back in the bedroom and tell him she loves him but doesn’t understand why Timothy feels about Father the way he does. Father laughs holding and adoring her, completely understanding her confusion. “I’ve got a plan honey”
To be continued…..