Mmidday saw the father and son sitting on a sunny park bench. The wind gently caressed the young man’s sandy hair while his father watched in admiration. “What a beautiful day,” remarked the father.

“I suppose it is,” replied the son.

A silence followed as the young man evaluated his father’s comment. The weather certainly was fine, much better than it had been recently. There was no trace of the storms of late but instead, tiny spots of white littered the horizon like mild little lambs. The weather was fine indeed.

The young man turned to his father: “Do you know what I would do on a day like this? I would often sit inside and wonder what I was going to do with such a marvelous day. What would I do? And I would wonder and wonder, and never reach any decision.

Eventually the day would end, and I, for my indecision, would have done nothing with it.”

The father continued to look at his son in silence.

“I felt like I was missing out,” the son went on. “My life was going to end and I would have achieved nothing.”

The wind began to pick up a little, and across the lake a pair of swans began to squabble loudly in the reeds. Their furious honking reverberated through the park.

“Do you really think you achieved nothing?” his father asked at last.

“It doesn’t really matter what I have actually achieved,” the son replied. “It feels like nothing. It feels worthless. I could conquer the world but there would be ten million more that I didn’t.” He opened his mouth to continue, but only a sigh escaped. He was angry.
A grassy field separated the two from the shore, and it was strewn with picnic paraphernalia.

An unhappy little girl fumbled abjectly with a kite whose line was hopelessly tangled. The wind would grab at the kite, desperately trying to pry it from her grasp and set it free but her grimy little hands clutched the twisted string for dear life. Other children splashed through the water with raucous laughter while mothers began to distribute chicken and salad on paper plates. Dogs galloped madly after Frisbees as though they were roast legs of lamb.

“It’s getting hot.”

The young man nodded absently. He was taking off his shoes and shirt to sunbathe. As he reclined next to the bench, he gazed at the little girl and her kite pensively. “I have such a strange dream sometimes.”

“Oh? What’s that?” asked his father.

“I am four years old. Mother leads me by the hand into the room. A tall strange man is standing over a table. On the table lies a man. I think he is asleep, but he is cold and blue. Mother leads me outside, where everyone is crying, but I do not understand why.”

“I am so sorry—” began his father.

“Why? You are not responsible for my dreams, are you? It is only a dream.”

“A horrible dream. A nightmare.”

The young man thought a while. “No, I don’t think so. Nightmares are about fear. It isn’t really a dream about fear. It’s a dream about incomprehension.”

“How could you have understood? Of course you didn’t.”

“How do you mean? It’s a recurring dream. I still don’t understand.”

His father smiled wistfully, then turned away. “No, you probably don’t.”

The two began to eat sandwiches that the young man had made, and the swans began to honk again. It was a welcome interlude.

The little lambs on the horizon had grown somewhat.

After a while, the young man put down his sandwich. “I’ve been feeling alone, Dad.”

“Alone?”

“Alone. Very Alone. I feel like a statue, and people move around me but I have no interaction with them. I don’t feel alive.”

The old man looked at his son. “Why do you feel like that?”

“I don’t understand my feelings.”

“You found love, didn’t you?” asked his father.

“I found sex, and perhaps love. Or something like it.”

A silence weighed heavily upon this thought.

“You didn’t love yourself?” his father offered.

“Maybe.”

The sandwiches were finished. The little girl with the kite had left; the families were packing up.

“It’s your fault,” the son said quietly.

“I beg your pardon?”

“It’s your fault.”

The father turned to his son. “Why do you say that?”

“I don’t understand. I was on my own, my whole life. I struggled with everything.” He began to cry softly, the tears pausing reflectively on his cheeks. “I felt incomplete.”

“You are perfectly complete,” replied his father. “You are omnipotent. There is nothing you can’t achieve: don’t feel incomplete.”

He put a hand on his son’s shuddering shoulder. The lake had grown very still.

“Dad, I couldn’t do anything my whole life. I was an alien. I searched my whole life for something I never found.”

Now the park was empty. There were no families on the lawn and the swans had flown away.

The young man was alone after all. His father was not there – but how long had he been gone?

A lifetime?

The End

Copyrights reserved by the author, Pierre Yardin, he can be contacted at: pierre@verpakt.com