Friday, 16 June 2017

The story-teller

Lying on his back in the grass at the foot of the tree, the story-teller looks up at the sky. He closes his eyes and begins to talk.

He speaks of the time before time when there were only three and the love he carried overflowed and he needed a container to hold all that tumbled out.

He tells how he blew onto a ray of light until it shattered and a myriad of colours fell at his feet. And from these colours, the reds and yellows and blues, the violets and emeralds, olives and scarlets, jades and crimsons, lemons and coppers, he created a paradise, a world so fair no-one could imagine its like.

And then he let his characters tell their own stories, weave their own tales from the materials and inspiration he provided. And he sat back and watched and waited.

But because he loved his characters, he sometimes reached out when they were lost and showed them the way or whispered in their ears when they were lonely in the hustle of the day. And with each tentative step they took, he watched and smiled and sometimes cried, because when they hurt, his heart ached for them, for he loved them so.

Then the day came when the story-teller said, ‘Stop, this pain is too much to bear.’ And sucking in the shards of the rainbow left on the floor from the beginning he became a character in his own story and walked with his creations in the damaged and desecrated storyland.

Now the story-teller stares at the branches of the tree above as if seeing history in its skeleton. His breathing quickens, tears fall from his eyes and beads of sweat form on his forehead. And he turns to me, grabs my hand and says, ‘Tell, them, tell them that’s it over and it hasn’t yet begun. Tell them that their names are written on the palms of my hands.’

Then he holds out his hands for me to see and before my eyes, names appear, one after one. ‘Tell them,’ he continues, ‘I have not forgotten them. Although it may seem for a time that I have left them without a future, their story was written before they were born and it can never end. It goes on for all eternity. This is my truth, my promise, my reassurance. My reassurance is not an unreal guarantee made up by someone who pretends to know. My words are truthful. I am the story-teller. Out of my heart love and life overflow. You were created from the outpourings of my heart. For you, I became part of the story. I tell you this now, to remember when I seem far away. The story-teller lives within each of his characters and ours is a never-ending story.’

With that the story-teller turns over and lies back. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply. I watch him for a long moment then I lie down beside him, resting my head on his chest. I can feel his heartbeat, strong and constant. I am aware of his arm drawing me close. Then I fall asleep on the grass at the foot of the tree.

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