8.23.2006

A Bedtime Tale

The boy could sleep anywhere except in silence. This presented his father with a grand dilemma for how could he keep the presence of sound so that his child could sleep while at the same time allowing himself to drift off?

In search of a solution, the father bought sound machines and multi-CD players, but nothing soothed the boy like the sound of his father’s flute.

“Play for me, Papa,” he demanded, and before his father had hit five minutes, the boy’s eyes grew heavy and he found a spot to call his bed.

Soon the father could go nowhere without his flute for fear his son would tire yet have no means to achieve sleep. His friends started calling him the Pied Piper and he countered with, “Perhaps. But I have only a following of one.”

The bond between father and son grew stronger and stronger, yet eventually the love felt like a prison, for one could not venture off from the other. And while both desired moments of independence, the body’s need for sleep always pulled them back together.

“We must break this habit,” the father told his son as tears filled the boy’s eyes. And they tried, but nothing could take the place of the father’s flute. No recording. No stand-in.

“Just another year,” the boy pleaded, and the loving father nodded.

And when the anniversary of that request arrived, the father gathered his friends as witnesses. “A party,” he called it, “to celebrate a bond of love and the loosening of that bond so that my son can find his own way.”

After cake and ice cream and a sharing of stories around the room, the father reached for his flute. The boy climbed upon his lap, and as the father began to play, his arms encircling his son, the boy closed his eyes and leaned against his father’s shoulder and fell asleep to the music for the last time.

The next several nights were torture for both father and son as the boy thrashed in bed searching for sleep.

“What have I created?” the father asked his friends. “How did I let this go on for so long?”

But they had no answer.

The following night as the father hid away from his sleepless son, he heard a sound, a sound of music coming through the crack below his son’s door. The boy, in finding his own way, was singing to himself, a self-made lullaby.

1 comment:

ecm said...

This is so beautiful! There's so much here...the love and can there be too much love and how do you love and let go...I love the simplicity of the story and you convey such big ideas.