Brown Eyed Boy

arron_6yrs“Well, hello little man,” The new mother said when she first held her baby boy. He looked at her with his big brown eyes and cried. She cuddled him close and told him not to cry because she would always hold her brown eyed boy in her arms.

“Look at you, you’re walking!” The mommy said as her brown eyed boy took his first steps across the room on his own. He looked at her and smiled a drooling smile as he took his first steps away from her.

“Hurry! We’re late! You don’t want to miss the bus on the first day of school” she said, as she rushed him out the door and down the street to the bus stop. The big yellow bus pulled up and he climbed on with all the other children in his neighborhood. His mommy stood on the curb and smiled at him as the bus moved away. He didn’t see her cry as her brown eyed boy took his first ride away from her.

“Here’s your uniform, you need to change so we can get to the meeting on time. Tonight, you get to move up from a Bear Cub to Webelos in scouting” his mother said, as she rushed from one task to another. When he walked across that bridge to move up to his next rank, she applauded and smiled while he grinned with pride at his accomplishment. He didn’t see her cry as her brown eyed boy took one more step toward the future.

“What have you done!” The mother whispered in a quiet voice, as he was rolled into the emergency room. “We won!” He shouted as they gave him medicine so they could set his collar bone. He didn’t see her cry as he drifted off. But he knew she was right there by his side. She prayed for her brown eyed boy.

“Where have you been!” His mother shouted at him when he stumbled in at daybreak. He knew she had been waiting up for him all night, afraid he wouldn’t come home, afraid he was hurt. “Mom, we were out night fishing. Don’t worry, I’m almost a teenager I can take care of myself. Then he wandered off to bed. He didn’t see his mom cry in relief he was fine, and in sorrow that her brown eyed was one step further away.

“What is this?” His mother asked. He knew she knew what it was as he tried to think of an excuse or a reason he had it in his room. “It’s just pot mom. It isn’t going to hurt me.” He said it with a tone of contempt for her. She threw it away, and he was punished, but it didn’t bother him ’cause he knew where to get more. She knew he knew, and when he left she cried at the dullness and sullenness in the brown eyes of her boy.

“Get Out!” His mother shouted in anger and frustration. “Live by our rules, or live somewhere else.” He grabbed his pack, threw on his boots, and stomped out of the house. He was tired of being treated like a kid, and he would show her that he didn’t need her at all. He didn’t hear the painful sobbing of his mother as her brown eyed boy walked away in rage.

“Mom! It’s a girl.” He sang down the phone in joy when his baby was born. He was overjoyed and so was she. When she got to the hospital, he hugged his mommy tight and whispered, “I never knew, I never knew, how much a parent loves their child until now.” He had tears in his eyes as he held his daughter in his arms. “Well, hello there, little angel baby.” She looked at him with wise brown eyes, and sighed with content.

“Hey Mom! Merry Christmas!” he shouted over the popping phone line! He was, he said, doing great. He had a great woman, a beautiful daughter, a good job, and that is really all a man needed to be happy. “Mom….. Mom…. I’m losing you. I love you,” he shouted just before the line dropped the call. He didn’t hear her say “I love you, too, or see her cry because he missed it, and she deeply missed her brown eyed boy.

“He’s dead! He’s dead!” came over the phone in the deepest part of the night. His mother and father rushed back home to find it was true. It was… it was – inexplicably painful, horrific in every moment of pain. She went to the morgue to identify him. When she started to leave him, she turned back, and gently closed his eyes. He didn’t see her cry as she walked away from him, knowing she wouldn’t see her brown eyed boy until she joined him on the other side one day.

“Nana, can I play my daddy video again?” Her little voice asked. “Of course,” and she put the video on.” She didn’t she her Nana cry as she walked down the hall, knowing her brown eyed girl was getting to know her daddy the only way she could. She didn’t see her smile as her Nana stood still and listened – remembering her brown eyed boy.

On the Beach at Mui Wo

On the beach at Mui Wo the sea spills back and forth creating the ancient rhythm that both soothes a soul and, yet, causes one to dream of seeing the other side of the world.

An elderly man quietly works on his upturned fishing boat, cigarette smouldering as it hangs from his lips. The smoke slowly rises and wafts about his head, causing him to squint, narrow eyed, at his work.

An old transistor radio plays the atonal, to western ears, music so popular with older people here. The music is occasionally interrupted with newscasts wherein the announcer sells the news with the same enthusiasm and patter familiar in used car advertising.

On the beach at Mui Wo, two women. in hats that resemble upturned fruit baskets, slowly work their way down the beach. As they rake the sand and clean up the rubbish from yesterdays visitors, the shush of the rakes serve as a counterpoint to the sea and music. Their chatter, in high pitched Cantonese, is echoed in the descant of bird song.

Three dogs, strays or domesticated – one can never knows – gambol along. First in the sea noses to the wind, then, on the shore, noses to the ground. They stop and dig with unabashed joy, only to abandon that pursuit to scramble under the rocks, and when that bores them, they flop in a heap of bones and hair in the nearest shady spot to nap. On the beach at Mui Wo.

On the beach at Mui Wo, a mother with her child tip-toes to the edge of the sea. Both delight and fear echo in the child’s eyes. She tries to decide whether to touch the sea or run away. Her trill of laughter fills the air, and, for a moment, everyone smiles.

Two umbrellas sprout from the sand. Blankets are spread and tan bodies lie down to catch the morning sun. Coolers of drinks, sandwiches soggy from melting ice, and a tall cold drink appear. Sunglasses, a book, and all comforts of home are scattered around, on the beach at Mui Wo.

Three old ladies practice Tai Chi facing the sun. Ancient wisdom on their faces is reflected in the slow and graceful movements of their bodies.

On the beach at Mui Wo, the world seems old. Yet, there is a never ending connection with tomorrow as the sea spills back and forth on to the shore, on the beach at Mui Wo.