‘The Universe is inside each one of us,’ the old man told the boy seated next to him on the cliffs facing the Mediterranean Sea. ‘Your mother, God rest her soul, wanted you to know that.’
The boy stood to follow his father down the hill, but the boy stopped and looked out over the sea to where a ship was passing across the horizon. He thought of how he had lost his mother to the Black Death and what great sorrow it brought him.
When he was at the bottom of the hill faced with the pastures of his father’s sheep, the boy knew he had lost his great joy and doubted if he could ever find it again. Nevertheless, he knew that the Universe inside him was divided by a great sorrow and a great joy.
A few years later the boy buried his father next to his mother on the same hill overlooking the same sea. His father had followed the sadness each bottle provided and the boy believed on some nights his father might one day be happy again. But that had not been the case and the father died a broken man leaving the boy without a family.
The boy sold his father’s land and sheep and a week later was hired to work a merchant’s ship. The boy, becoming a young man, dreamed of faraway lands and peoples and the great joy he had lost years, years ago.
Decades later the boy, now grown into a man, returned with his wife of many memories and their two teenage sons and infant daughter. He and his family stood on the deck of the ship named Santa Isabel and looked up at the graves on the cliff where his father and mother were buried.
‘Where are we?’ the eldest son asked his father.
The father leaned down and gave the boy a kiss on his head and said to his family, ‘We are home.’
CG FEWSTON was born in Texas in 1979 and now lives in Hong Kong. He’s been a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy).
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father‘s Son, The New America: A Collection, Vanity of Vanities, A Time to Love in Tehran, and forthcoming: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being; Little Hometown, America: A Look Back; and, The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.
You can read more about the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 275,000+ followers