There is a Man

Naomi Wells

Oberon High School

There is a man. A man sat under a tree. His legs are crossed into a delicate lotus. His hands rest upon his knees, palms face-up as if waiting anxiously to be used. The silent shadows of the leaves hollow skeletons dance upon his darkened, creamy skin. The leaves are individually pushed by the invisible breeze, allowing delicate rays of light to stream onto the back of the man’s ears, teasing his skin with the promise of nourishing heat, that is quickly gone and replaced with soothing shade. In the distance, a bird sings, in hope of impressing nearby females of his kind, hoping she will allow him to impregnate her and continuing their future generations. Behind the tree, a small stream runs, and thin trickles of water roll over lazy rocks to a small pool at the bottom of the hill. This stream is a lifeline. It is a dying child’s life support, an administration of anti-venom and a hand holding onto a lonely ledge.

All through the flurry and hum of nature’s children, cousins and nephews, the man does not stir. His robes do not flutter even though the breeze danced with the grass, his mouth does not twitch even though hunger threatened to make him run for the village and his eyes do not flick wildly under his closed eyelids, even though the thin rays of light brought the red light into his consciousness.

His mind is as rested as the tree he sits beneath. It is also as wise. Countless rains have fed this sacred tree; thousands of sunsets have cast the tree’s shadow upon the small stream. But unlike the tree, the man hath travelled far and wide, following the stars. His feet are cracked and dark and have taken him across plains of scrub, acres of forest and mountains of snow. Searching, always searching, for the reason, the answers, the meanings.

This man would have been seen as perfect, if not for his scars. Thin, pink, winding lines protruded slightly from his forearms, glistening slightly in the sunshine. They run like rivers, long and deep, winding and twirling around each other, and weaving through and between each other.  Its fish dance beneath the surface, red and frolicking in the rivers depths.

These rivers, unlike the river the man sits near, have been formed by the workings of man through a sharp tool to dig into the flesh of the earth to form the empty riverbed, soon to be filled with glorious, shining, pulsing red fish.

The man held the intricate patterns of these rivers upon his own arm and each gave a story like a foreign language that only he could read. His mind pictured his finger tracing a specific scar, the freshest scar and deepest river. The origin of this scar was from many, many years ago when he lived among the caves and trees of an isolated village. He was thinking about his childhood in these caves, and how he had lived without a mother for so long. His father, a diligent labourer, had always taken his anger out on his son, the river man, for bringing the death of his mother during birth. Out of anger and frustration, the river man left his home, hating himself for his sins. He lived only on the bare minimums, scourging the lands, searching for redemption, receiving nothing in return. He hated his whole being, he wanted to drain his blood and end his short life. So he dug into his flesh, bringing forth the liquid of life, spilling it upon the ground. But every time he opened his veins, they healed and he lived on. And every time he was glad he healed.

But then he saw his father.

They walked past each other at a market where the river man was buying hessian wool. His father was bent over, back filled with arthritis from years of labour, reaching for spilled mangoes. Then they made eye contact. The man froze. His father froze. The man’s heart exploded in his throat, closing his airways. The father’s eyes welled up in surprise and happiness, then it faded into hate.

‘Get out of my sight.’

He wanted to end his life completely. No return, no escape, no life left. He dug the knife into his forearm, over the top of all the other scars and scabs, severing a main artery that he had all those times missed. His body convulsed as the blood left him, his eyes rolled into their sockets and his tongue lolled in his throat. His mind dwindled on the edge of death when hands, dark and wrapped in orange cloth, pulled him from spiritual divide towards life and they nursed him back to health. He was never the same.

***

Naomi Well’s nickname is Namoi. She wants to spend her life creating art, cooking meals from all over the world, in all different countries, and studying the world and its creatures. Her main aim in life is to leave a positive environmental impact, helping out the earth that allows us to be so.