Fragments Of Me (Words)
My father emphasized the importance of being a man of your word.
My mother recited sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.
I remember the night I learned about the power of words.
We visited a friend of my father. Mingling adults with drinks in hand and hyperactive children filled every room of the dinner party.
Not interested in watching my father drink, I sought refuge.
To my surprise I discovered an oasis as I entered a room of wall to wall books. Nearing a shelf, a closing door startled me.
“Did I scare you?” Robert the home owner asked.
Silent, my gaze returned to the books.
Robert sat behind a large wood desk, “Do you like to read?”
Looking at the man with the graying temples and thick framed glasses, I smiled, “Yeah.”
“Did your father tell you I am a writer? I haven’t published anything, but I love to write stories. Writers create worlds.”
He opened a book. “Read it.”
“It was the best of times it was the worst of times…”
“Isn’t that amazing?” Robert interrupted, “What a wonderful quote; a great description of the French Revolution and a fitting description of our lives.”
Robert got up to leave. “Feel free to enjoy the books. You will find beauty on every page.”
Running fingers along the books, I read the name out loud; Wilde, Orwell, Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Dickinson.
Minutes later, the door opened. “What the hell are you doing here?”
The anger in my father’s voice sent chills up my spine.
His hand slapped the back of my head. “Plenty of girls out there and you’re in here. My son is not going to be a faggot.”
Exiting the room, a heavy foot kicked me, lifting me off my feet, slamming me into a wall.
My eyes swelled with tears, but I refused to cry.
Hours later that little boy stood at his bedroom window while his parents slept in the other room.
That night he learned some words create amazing beauty.
While the pain of other words linger long after the bruises have healed.