Reluctantly he walked into the open courtyard, rushed by sudden trepidation and the hurried trembling of his hand against the door of his father’s house.  His portion of the household where he studied, slept and practiced his djembe was usually a guaranteed sanctuary against troubles he might encounter from time to time.  But not today.  His 20 years seemed minuscule in this tormented moment.

There seemed now to be no earth beneath his feet.  He felt weightless and yet heavy, pushed as if from above without any perceptible ground beneath him, sinking into a void he had never known could exist.  Why does the world go on spinning?  Papa’s room was awash with the gray-dim sheen of a winter day, its ambience flush with the muffled aroma of incense and kretek smoke.  Fleeing down the hallway behind him the wailing of his mama and aunties came lunging after him, flagrantly grasping at his heart.

“Spring will come again” his Papa had whispered as he touched his son’s face and smiled.  His father’s body weakened and his frame diminished and bent in the torpor of his malaise, he had breathed his final breath before the noon day prayers could begin.  Papa is gone and I am here and yet everything continues?  Why?  Where do I look now?  How can I see?

There is no answer to satiate his new hunger.  All that there is in this moment is a humbling certitude filling him with the faithful promise that one day he too will take one last breath.  And so, where to find solace now?  Is the answer then, no answer?  Is the only part worth embracing what needs to be set free?  “Spring will come again.”  The seeds that lay dormant and still will bud and burst into the flame of their being, consuming and soon being consumed, sacrificially endowed to eager hands until they yield what lies deep inside.

his story


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