The Glories of Sri Krishna

Awake, Krishna

Awake the Lotus-petals

Open the water lilies droop

The bumblebees have left the creepers

The cock crows and the birds chirp on the trees

The cows are in the byre lowing, they run after their calves

The moon fades before the sun

Men and women arise and joyfully sing their songs

Krishna of hands lotus-like awake

The day is about to dawn.

As children trying to learn the alphabet and numbers, we are taught in tune.  In other words, we are taught rhymes and songs.  A, b, c, d, e, f, g.  Or 1, 2, buckle my shoe.  3, 4, knock on my door…

It is believed that as human beings we find it easier to grasp information if we can put it to a tune.  Make a song of it, make it rhyme, make it fun and we will learn from it.  I work in an open plan office and share space with very different people.  All of us so-called creatives, each with his or her personal taste in music.  One of my colleagues happens to be a major fan of Hip Hop and R&B. Genres of music I do not appreciate and would never willing play myself yet thanks to my colleague I know most of the words to many of the songs he plays.  The point I am trying to make is that even when you do not set forth to learn something willingly when you listen to it musically your mind somehow just absorbs it with or without your permission.  This being the case, isn’t it fitting that Sri Krishna gave us the truth in verse.  He did not lecture us on commandments.  He gave us the Gita.

I have often heard it said that for every reading of the Bhagavad Gita a new meaning is unearthed.  The Bhagavad-Gita, the song of God, the Song of Sri Krishna, is truly immortal.  It lives and breathes, and grows with the people.  It evolves and communicates directly with the heart for this is the song of God.  Lyrics sent down from above to touch the heart and soul of all who read it, sing it, or listen to it.  Sri Krishna himself delivered this great song to us.  Sri Krishna was truly a beautiful form of God.  The Sri Krishna Chalisa offers a vivid image of Sri Krishna.  The sweet sounding flute embellishes your hands; your body dark of hue is like the blue lotus.  Your crimson lips are like bibma fruit and your eyes are like the pleasing lotuses.  Your face is like a fresh blossoming lotus and shines like the full moon.  You are beautifully attired in your yellow silken costume.

Gopala, Nandalala, Kanhaiya, Govinda, Murilidhara, Kaanha, Muraliwala, Sham, Madhusudhana, Sri Krishna.  The stories associated with Sri Krishna are numerous and mix together courage, conviction, love, justice, and truth in each of them.  To capture the stories of Sri Krishna and retell them will take far too long.  To grasp the true meaning of the stories, these plays that he performed, is sometimes beyond the expectations of one lifetime.  Sri Krishna was a musical incarnation of the Lord.  To honour Sri Krishna and his love for music and gaiety I have chosen to look closer into a few of the many Bhajans and Kirtans dedicated to this eternal musician.  We sing these songs and cry tears of joy.  We clap; we dance and experience the presence of God wherever and whenever these songs are sung.  These songs cover the stories and glories of Sri Krishna in his every aspect and in a manner more eloquent than I can hope to muster.

Sri Krishna according to legend was dark, shyam, the colour of night.

There is a beautiful song from the film Satyam Shivam Sundaram that goes as follows:

Yashomathi Maiya se bole nandalala, Radha Kyu Gori Mein kyu Kala

In the first verse the child Sri Krishna, ask his Mother Yashoda.

Why is Radha fair and I dark?

Yashoda Maiya answers lovingly that he, Sri Krishna, is dark because he was born at midnight.  In the second verse Yashoda Maiya says, Listen my love Fair Radha with her black kajal and dark eyes has cast a spell of love on you and that is the why you are dark.

This explanation is sweet an innocent.  However, there is more to Sri Krishna and his complexion then perhaps Maya Yashoda was willing to offer in this song but for which Sri Ramakrishna provides and answer.

Master, when referring to Mother Kali’s dark complexion said that from afar even the ocean looks dark but when you actually take the water in your hands you see that it is clear.  God has no colour but merely reflects that which is in our sight.  When we get closer, we realise that God is beyond colour and form and is all that is real.

Another popular theme in songs dedicated to Sri Krishna is that of the Curd Thief.  Makhan Chor, Nanda Kishore

I have come across several songs with the line, Maiya Mori, Mein Nahi Makhan khayo.

Sant Surdas writes,

O mother mine, I did not eat the butter

Come dawn, with the herds,

You send me to the jungle,

O, Mother mine, I did not eat the butter.

All day long with my flute in the jungles

At dusk do I return home.

But a child, younger than my friends

How could I reach up to the butter?

All the gopas are against me

On my face they wipe the butter,

You mother, are much too innocent,

You believe all their chatter.

There is a flaw in your behaviour,

You consider me not yours,

Take your herd-stick and the blanket

I’ll dance to your tune no longer.

Mother Yashoda then laughed and took the boy in her arms.

Mother mine I did not eat the butter.

In these songs, the child Sri Krishna tells his mother that he was not the one who ate the makhan or curd.  The story goes that, as a child Sri Krishna loved eating curd.  In addition, would often raid the storehouse and eat the curd.  Despite his actions, he was so adorable that none could help but love him.  This behaviour earned him the name Makhan Chor.  Is this a promotion of bad behaviour among children?  When children misbehave should we say, aw never mind, it’s okay if they so cute.  No.  The lesson behind the tale of the curd thief is that everything comes from God and everything must go to God, whether we will it or not, and that which God loves he has every right to take when he pleases.  When we learn to love God and make him our own then we will not deny him.

The famous Indian poet Surdas, wrote many songs and poems in praise of the divine Sri Krishna.  The bhajan Sabse Unchi Prem Sagai is associated with Surdasji. This bhajan celebrates the glories of Sri Krishna.  It sings of how Lord Krishna renounced the delicacies offered by Duryodhana and ate the vegetables of Vidhura’s house.  How as Ramachandra he ate the love-filled fruit offered by Shabari Bai.  Surdasji says Love is indeed the best way to serve the lord.  He recounts how Sri Krishna served the Brahmanas at the yajna of Yudhistra.  He lovingly guided the chariot of Arjuna. He danced with the gopis in Vrindavan.

The Poet asks, “in what way can I worship this merciful and magnanimous Lord”?

The Sri Krishna Chalisa accounts the many glories of Sri Krishna.

Sri Krishna the one who saved the people by lifting the Govardhan Mountain with the strength of his baby fingernail.  This story tells of a Puja, which the people of Vraj performed for Indra, King of Gods, and Heaven.  Sri Krishna interrupted the puja.  Enraged Indra sent down showers destroying the land to punish the people of Vraj.  To protect the people of Vraj, Sri Krishna uprooted the Govardhan Mountain and held it aloft for one week sheltering the people from the heavy rains.  Indra realised his defeat and error.  Humbled he prostrated to Sri Krishna and stopped the rains.  From this we learn that despite ones position, wealth and power know, that pride has no place before God and people.  Pride stands in the path of service and obscures your way to the Lord.

The Chalisa speaks of the story of the Putana the demoness sent to kill baby Gopala with poisoned milk.  The Baby Krishna suckled but fell not to the poison.  He instead drew out the poison and the very life out of the demoness.  By this, we learn that there is nothing that can stand in the way of God.  No harm can befall him and he has the power to draw forth the vice and the evils if we turn to him.

Another story that speaks of the love of Sri Krishna is that of the Great Krishna bhakt Mira Bai.  When Mira Bai was four she witnessed a marriage and innocently asked her mother, “who will I marry?”  In jest her mother turned to a statue of Sri Krishna and said that he, the beautiful fellow, Sri Krishna shall be her bridegroom.  From that moment, Mira longed for her beloved Krishna.  Mira was beautiful and innocent and news of her spread.  The King of Mewer approached Mira’s Family to request Mira marry his son.  In due course Mira was married to Rana Khumba of Mewar.  Despite being married, Mira Bai loved only Sri Krishna.  She would visit the temple and in ecstasy, she sang and danced in the presence of her beloved Sri Krishna.  Her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, clearly age-old instigators of ill will, never cared much for Mira Bai and tried many means of harming her.  She once received a basket, containing a cobra.  She was told it contained a garland.  Mira Bai meditated on her Lord.  So pure was Mira’s love for Sri Krishna that when she opened the basket the snake did not strike her for in its place was a Murti of Sri Krishna wearing a garland of flowers.  The Rana’s family later sent Mira a cup of poison disguised as nectar.  Offering everything to Sri Krishna first, when Mira drank the poison, the Prasad, what she consumed was truly nectar.  When one offers everything to God, what is there for one to fear?  He loves his devotees.

Mira Bai was not the only devotee to experience ecstasy on listening to the glories of Sri Krishna.  Once at a devotees home Sri Ramakrishna asked the musicians, “Please sing something about Gauranga.”

One of the songs is as follows:

The beauty of Gauranga’s face, filled with divine love, is brighter than the brightest gold. 

His smile, which illumines the whole world, surpasses even the charm of a million moons shining in the autumn sky.

The musician adds:  Friend did you see the full moon?

It illumines the devotee’s heart.  It does not wane, it does not stain.  It illumines the devotee’s heart.

As the musician continued the song, the Master went into Samadhi and after a while, he gained outward consciousness.  He stood up and, filled with an intoxicating pure love; he joined the musicians and said:

Friend, is it his beauty or because of some fault of my own?

 In the three worlds, I see nothing but Krishna!

 The song went on then the Master took his seat.  He remained in ecstasy while a song about the meeting of Radha and Krishna was sung.  When the song ended, the Master uttered:

Bhagavata – Bhakta – Bhagavan

The Lord, the devotees, and his Word are one.

Swami Vivekananda wrote a poem entitled to Sri Krishna that reads:

O Krishna, my friend, let me go to the water,

O let me go today.

Why play tricks with one who is already thy slave?

O friend, let me go today, let me go.

I have to fill my pitcher in the waters of the Yamuna.

I pray with folded hands, friend let me go today.

A simple enough poem at face value but in it Swamiji encompasses aspects of the divine incarnation so beautifully.  He refers to Sri Krishna as friend.  The very same Krishna spoke to Arjuna and gave him divine knowledge, to which we are all privy.  Sri Krishna the Friend of Man.  Swamji talks of the play of Sri Krishna.  The are so many tales of the games and pranks that Sri Krishna played on his friends and loved ones.  This also refers to the divine play, the Maya that we are all entangled in and which He is the master a wielder of.

Yamuna refers to the Holy river and to devotion and love for God.

He prays to be free from the bonds of Maya.

The Glories of Sri Krishna?  All the glory of Sri Krishna can be summed in one word, LOVE.  Every act of Sri Krishna was done in the fulfilment of love.  Love for his devotees love for humanity, love for all creation.  However one chooses to approach God, as friend, child, parent, sibling, partner let it be filled with love.  It is Gods love for us that makes him come to us through out the ages as Sri Rama, Sri Krishna and Sri Ramakrishna to set us on the path that will ultimately lead us back to him.

We sing a bhajan at Ashram, Acyutam, Keshavam, Krishna Damoharam Rama, Narayanam Janaki Vallabham

This song is dedicated to Sri Ram and Sri Krishna and asks

Who says God does not eat, sleep, dance, laugh, and come when called?  Be like devotees such as Meera Bai, Yashoda Maiya, Shaabri Bai and you will find all of this to be true.

Shakespeare wrote in one of his plays

If music be, the food of Love play on.

A friend approached me the other day with a book containing a collection of trivia on a wide range of topics.  Under the section of Hindu Gods is stated that Sri Krishna is the God of Love. Clearly, if we take into account the stories of Sri Krishna it validates such association.

Thus if music be the food of Sri Krishna let us play on.

Advertisements

VIRGIN BLOOD

I held her naked body in my arms. The blood trickled down my chin
as I chewed on the chunk of flesh I ripped from her slender neck.
The freshness of the blood was invigorating. Her recent sexual climax
made her blood all the more delicious. It’s a rare delicacy, virgin
blood. The lovely donor in my arms was not dead yet. Beneath her
succulent bosom her heart still thumped a slow rhythm. What a waste of
GOD’s work for such a wonderful body to be wrapped in the garb of a
holy nun. Seducing her was such sweet pleasure. I stalked her as she
left the mission hospital and walked down the street to the church.
I love the fact that people believe that vampires are heathens – afraid
of GOD and the symbols of God. She brandished her silver crucifix in
my face in an attempt to frighten me off. I smiled and took her
hand. I placed a kiss on her her and saw her blood rush through her
body. It wasn’t long before I ripped off her habit and ripped through
her virginity like an animal.

I looked again at her dead body, her heart thumped its final beat.
I sat there covered in her blood. With every climax one needs a few
moments to regain composure. My arousal appeased I covered her body
with her habit and melted into the shadows.

It was dark and snowing pretty hard out

It was dark and snowing pretty hard out and I wasn’t sure I could find
my way home. It took me a moment to realize that in my preoccupation
with my thoughts, what I thought was snow was in fact ash. There was
ash all over the place falling from the heavens. I searched for signs
of the blaze expecting to find a massive inferno, but there was
nothing. The events before this moment seemed to fade away. There was
a lot of ash and I needed to know where it was coming from, my
curiosity as usual did not permit me to just walk away. The empty
streets echoed with my footfall as I made my way through to the city
centre. As I crossed Main Street I passed the Old Catholic church on
the corner of Main and Cedar. The church lights were on and voices
penetrated through the walls. This was rather odd for a Friday
evening. I had given up on religion a long time before but I knew that
Friday congregation was odd and more so at that hour.
I stopped for a moment by the church entrance and gazed up at the
dying Christ suspended over the entrance to the church. I always
thought it strange that so much faith was put in the image of a dying
man. I turned to walk away when I saw her get out the car.

“Jane, what are you doing here?” I asked my wife as she carried our
baby towards the church.

“God, Sam, where have you been. Don’t you know what’s going on.”? My
wife replied the horror on her face quite evident.

“Look Jane, I am sorry about the affair and I just want to get back
home and make everything okay, if you…”

Jane halted just before the doors, just under the dying Christ.
“Sam, look around you. Have you noticed anything? Don’t beg for my
apologies and forgiveness. You want to be forgiven ask God.”

“Jane you know very well that I don’t believe in a God.”

“I pity you Sam. Maybe you should now. It’s raining ash, or have you
not noticed. It’s not just here either but all over the world.
Religious spokesmen across the globe believe this to be the end.
Scientists have nothing to say. The Day of Judgment is upon us Sam.
I pray that you find your faith and repent.” Jane wiped the tears from
her eyes and disappeared into the church.

I stood there, planted in the entrance path of the church. Despite
everything I put her through she was still prepared to pray for me. I
questioned her words. Was it the end of the world? Was judgment upon us?
The ashes cascaded around me. I looked to the heavens as bursts of
flame raped the sky.
Jane said I should repent. In order for me to do that I needed to
pray which required some belief in a celestial figure. These notions
were all blurred along time ago.

“How, how am I expected to believe. What am I expected to belief.
This is my prayer.” I stretched my arms out to the burning sky, “I
pray for belief. If this is the end grant me this, give me something
to believe in”.

Bird Poop

Sarah sat alone on the bench outside her beach-house. She stared at
the waves crashing against the rocks in the orgasm of nature. She put
down her wine flute and picked up her feet to rest them on the bench.
She hugged her knees as she sobbed.
The breeze danced with her grey hair that she had, for the first time
in years, left open. She stood up and scanned the property. She was
alone with no semblance of companionship. The bench she sat on moments
ago became her object of scrutiny.

“I am truly alone. Not even a splatter of bird poop to signify other
life in this heaven lost.” Sarah laughed. “Again the only person I
have to talk to is myself and even I don’t much like the conversation.”

She settled back on the bench tears welling up in her eyes again.
“All I want is a sign that I am not alone even if it is just bird
poop, let me not be alone!”

The Habit

The dark figure walked away just as I reached the landing of the staircase. I called out but the figure moved on. Something told me that there was no point running after the figure. I went up to my room still trying to establish what went on. Moments earlier I was wakened by a strange voice whispering into my ear. When my eyes opened the figure hurried up and out of my room. I jumped out of bed unsure of reality and considered running after him.

But I felt disorientated and knew that a chase would be fruitless. Back in the room I looked around for anything out of the ordinary, for anything that was amiss. Everything seemed perfectly in place. Except for the black envelope at my bedside table. I picked up the envelope cautiously. Printed on the front in an elaborate lettering was my name in gold leaf. I chuckled at a memory of the last time something this weird happened.     I was at the temple of knowledge and my orientation included secret messages left by strange characters at strange times.
I opened the envelope and instantly realised from the mark on the contents that this was no game.
There were rumours about the search throughout the land. The High Priest of Callum had died quiet unexpectedly, and although no one admitted it, his death was not natural. Something dark was slowly moving over the land but people were too afraid to talk about it, to admit that something could endanger the Land of Callum. The Knights of light, the warrior priests, stood guard over the land and its people for centuries and, except for the odd internal disputes, there was never any threat to the kingdom. With the high priest dead, things looked very bleak. The Knights were left without a leader, without a wielder of the Luminos, the great staff of light. No heir had been chosen for the to succeed the high priest and it was well known that none in the order proved worthy for the Luminos could only be activated by a chosen.

When the knights were unsuccessful, a search began among all inhabitants of Callum to find the next high priest.

I looked at the card in my hand, embossed in the card were the cardinal points of a compass with a star in the centre, the sign of the Knights of Light. The mark of the Knights was not something passed around lightly. My heart raced at the possible implications. Fear and uncertainty grew within my heart. I read the letter.

Matthew, son of Cayne, recognized master of the arts, are requested to present yourself before the order of the Knights of Light at the temple of Light at midnight five days hence.

That was all that the card said. Why did the Knights want to see me, a player of music and creator of art?

The following five days were highly uneasy. I milled over the possibilities behind the invitation and could find no answers. I told no one about this invitation, it was a common lore that all private contact with the Knights must remain secret. An hour before midnight I set out for the temple of light, as I moved through the night my beating heart desecrated the silence of the night.

I arrived at the Temple moments before the stipulated time. I was greeted by the gatekeepers as I entered. The respect granted to me, left me confused. I walked through the halls of the great temple feeling quite insignificant in comparison to the images of the Great High Priests that adorned the walls. The sanctum sanctorum was aglow as I entered.

“Welcome Matthew, son of Cayne.” I was greeted by the regal Knight at the far end of the shrine.

Standing along the perimeter of the shrine were all the knights of light, all standing in the white habits and carrying a silver blade with a golden hilt. I fell to my knee as was customary.

“Greetings to the Knights of Light, Lords and protectors of the Kingdom of Callum.”

“Rise, Matthew son of Cayne, for today we are equals. We Knights have been watching you for some time now even before the High Priest and Supreme Lord Den died. We believe that you would make a great knight, and sense a great power in you that is waiting to be awakened.”            The knight who spoke looked at me for a while then continued.
“We are offering you a place among us. You will attain knowledge and power likened to the ancient Gods. You will have no expenses and represent the law of the land. The temple will be your home, among us.”
My silence left a look of dejection on the face of the knight.

“Matthew,” from behind me another of the Knights spoke. He however commanded more authority as he spoke and moved towards me. “I am Kreunon, commander of the Knights. I shall be honest with you, this is not a simple request. With the responsibility of being a Knight comes great sacrifice. The rumours are true. Den our high lord was killed. The darkness is real and has penetrated our very towers. All who have showed potential are being called in for we believe that a war is coming. Not for a thousand years has such an event passed. Den was unable to name an heir. Our major Light and protection, the Luminos lies dormant and in wait for its new master. You are one of many that we believe could be the chosen.”

I stood silent all through the Knights’ monologue. Too much in shock to move my tongue.

“We shall leave you to think this over on your own. Meditate on this request within this shrine. If you choose to join us there is a parcel waiting for you over there,” he pointed to the neat white package on the pedestal at the extreme right of the shrine. If you decline our offer, you are free to simply walk away. I must tell you though, that we require an answer from you before the sun rises. The reason, for now, is of no relevance to you. We shall leave you now and pray that the Light of the Ancient Gods guide you.”

I was left alone in the massive shrine, the words of the Knights echoing in my mind. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath still convinced that none of this was real.

The light of the rising sun pierced through the ornate windows of the temple. I heard the three sets footsteps approach. They stopped abruptly at the entrance to the shrine.

“Go, tell the others, we have a new brother and hope.” Kreunon spoke to one his companions. The congregation of Knights surrounded me. I stood at the centre of the great shrine.

My life was about to change, all that I possessed was the white habit that was given to me. The new me, my new life, my new identity.

flash fiction writing

I was sitting quietly alone at the bar, when who should walk in but
Jack Sommers. Why here, it was bad enough that he was fucking my
wife, did he have to destroy the sanctity of by afternoon drink as well?

I watched as the bastard placed his order with the bar-tender.
What was so special about him? Why did my wife choose to share our
bed with him? I have known this creep since high school and thought
that once graduation was over I would never see him again. I was
wrong. We went to the same university and now work for the same company.
None of this bugged me, not until I came home from an overseas
business trip to find him fucking my wife in my bedroom. The depraved
pair didn’t even bother to draw the curtains. I could here the bitch
screaming like a pig being butchered. I have been quiet too long.
Today I have my say.

I finished my fourth brandy and walk over to Jack.
“Hey Jackie boy, fancy seeing you here?”
He looks at me, and smiles awkwardly, like a trppaed animal.
“What’s wrong, nothing to say?” I ask as I loom over him.
“Hey Pete, sorry man but how much have you had to drink?”
“Aw how nice of you to be concerned Jackie boy.” I pat his cheeck and
stare drunkenly into his eyes.
He pushes me back, and gets of his seat.
“Come on Peter, I’m taking you home.” he pays for his drink and takes
places his hand on my shoulder.

“Home, to my house? Oh yes you know the way quiet well. By the way
Jackie, how is my wife? You enjoy fucking her?” the room went silent
at this outburst as everyface turned to view the scene. I put my
finger to my lips to hush the noise.

“Peter you are drunk and don’t know what you are saying. Just let me
take you home and you rest for a while..”

“Don’t fucking patronise.” with that I swung my arm wide and punched
him in the face.

Jack doubled back, wiped the blood from his nose and then charged at
me. His broad shoulder hammering into my stomach.
It was not long before we were kicked out of the bar by a couple of
big guys.

We beat each other up quite badly. somehow I got home where my slut of
a wife played the role of a devoted wife and cleaned me up.

The next morning the doorbell rang, I rose from bed put on a t-shirt
and went down stairs to see who it was.

My wife looked terrified, at first I thought she was affraid of the
police presence but when I looked in her eyes I realised the she was
affraid of me. I had become a monster to her.

“Mr Samuels, Mr Sommers was discovered dead this morning. We believe
that you were the last person to have seen him alive. We need you to
come to the station with us for some questioning.”

Fuck, I hit him but murder?

My Choice

I remember the day he was conceived. Jessica and I were in my bedroom.
My parents were out for the weekend to visit family or something. It began with
a kiss; her soft, tender lips met mine. My tongue ventured forth into her mouth
and was welcomed. My clumsy hands cupped her 36B breasts hidden beneath her
cotton blouse and bra. I ran my hand through her hair and she grabbed onto
mine.  Our hands moved over each other’s body, our tongues locked and our
pelvises ground together. I fumbled with her blouse buttons.

She pulled off my t-shirt. I put my hands up her skirt caressing her smooth
thighs. I hooked my fingers into the waistband of her panty and ripped them off.
She undid my zipper and grabbed my member through the fly of my boxers. We were
both hot and excited. Without words she guided me into her. I thrust gently from
the hip; her body clenched pulling me inside. I smelt her perfume, the sweet
scent of Angel, as I kissed her neck. She dug her fingernails into my back and
moaned into my ear. The warm, afternoon, summer sunlight poured into my bedroom
through the window, kissing our naked bodies. The sweat built upon her brow. She
bit onto her bottom lip as the rhythm of our dance increased. She writhed and
squealed, my breathing got heavy and with one final thrust I froze in ecstasy;
hovering over her flushed, wet, beautiful face. It was my choice to not use a
rubber. It was my choice to leave when she said she was pregnant. It was my
choice to never call her. It was my choice to ignore the fact that I had a son.
It was my choice to open the door and let him in when he arrived at my door
three years ago. It was my choice to allow him to stay.

Joshua arrived at my door three years ago. I answered the knock and before me
stood a sixteen year old boy with a striking resemblance to a sixteen year old
me.  He was handsome, with an athletic build but his face and eyes bespoke of
pain and loss. Before he spoke I knew who he was. I knew the questions that
would be asked. I knew the shame I would have to face, the sorrow, the regret,
the disappointment, the anger the hate.

“Hello. Daniel? Daniel Johnson?  I think you are my father.” Joshua mumbled the
words staring at the floor.

“And you would be?” I asked the question aloud to the boy but in my head I said,
“Of course you are son. Welcome home.”

“I am Joshua. My mother is Jessica Nolan.”  His voice was soft but hard, a voice
of one who has weathered many storms.

“Nice to meet you Joshua. Please come in. Take a seat,” he walked into my house
and I couldn’t help but feel I was witnessing a thief assessing my home for loot
and access and exit points. “So why do you think I am your father.”

“Because Jessica said so.”  He wandered around my lounge.

“How is Jessica?” I asked not knowing what else to say.

“You ask as if you care?” There was anger in that statement. Anger that he had
every right to express. It cut through my heart nonetheless; a reminder of my
mistakes.

“I… knew your mother when I was about your age, she was a wonderful girl.”
I was amazed at how I seemed so casual despite the situation. “Can I get you
something to drink?” I asked as I walked behind him, not because I didn’t trust
him but because I was absorbing every little detail and reaction of my son.
This is what it must feel like when you stand before your infant waiting for him
to take his first steps, waiting for him to fall and get up again just to walk
to you.

He said nothing for a while and the settled on the couch. It was evident that he
was confused, and scared; he clearly had no idea what he was doing or how to
actually do whatever it was that he came to do.

“I think I am your father.” I said after an awkward silence. This admission was
made much like the way I live my life, like a coward. I did not face the boy as
spoke but rather concentrated on the neighbours dog pissing on the street pole.

“Why?” was all the response I got. I turned and he stood right there his eyes
level with mine. His tears brimming in the inherited gifts from his mother:
large almond shaped, hazel eyes.

“Because I was weak.” I answered and turned away unable to face the beauty of my
son.

“I meant why do you think that I am you son.” He clarified. Still standing
directly behind me.

“You look just like I did when I was with your mother.  The only difference is
your eyes, her eyes. I am sorry but why have you come here? “

“Because I wanted to see the man who gave me everything.” His answer was bitter
but sincere.

“Sorry?” I turned again to face him, searching his face for meaning behind his
words.

“Everything I am is as a result of you.”

I had nothing to say to such a statement. I never saw his mother from the day
she announced the pregnancy and never communicated with her either.

“You sure you have the right guy?  I don’t know what your Mother told you but…”

“She told me everything. She told me how you two met in high school and she fell
in love with you. She told me about the days you two spent alone in the parks
just sitting together in silent bliss with each other. The dreams you built
together. The plans you had. The first time you kissed her behind the science
lab in ninth grade.  The way you got beaten up trying to defend her from the
guys who teased her.  How she fell in love with you with every passing day. She
told me about the summer day in your bedroom when you shared a bed together and
created me. She told me about the fear in your eyes when she told you about me.
The way you walked off when she said there will be no abortion. She mentioned
losing you after that day. “

“Joshua I am not proud of what I did. You know the truth so why come here now
crediting me for your life.”

“I am alone. I am in trouble. I am scared. I have never had a father. My mother
was great but it is not easy for a girl to manage on her own when she is
pregnant. I owe every tear to you. My life has been shit thanks to you.
Everything I am is your fault.”

“I am sorry son. But I was afraid. What would you do if someone came to you and
told you stop everything because you getting a baby instead. I regret the
difficult life you had to live but I am happy you came to me. Does your Mother
know you are here? ”

“My mother is in bed at St Augustine’s. Cancer is tiring.”

“Is that why you sought me out?”

“I had nowhere else to go. She is dying, I know she is.  She fights everyday to
go on. She fights because she is afraid to leave me alone.”

“What happened to you grandparents and you aunt Sophie?” I asked recalling
Jessica’s family.

“Many family’s don’t take to kindly to having their teenage daughter being alone
pregnant. Especially when the family places a lot of stock on appearance. When
mom refused to abort me her parents bought her a small house in the city and
then they left. We never heard from any of them ever since. My mothers biggest
curse has always been me and still she fights to hold on.”

I could not help but feel guilty. Jessica was a beautiful young girl with dreams
of being a doctor and the academic record to realize such dreams. When she loved
she loved with all her heart and made you the better for it.  I never deserved
her. Joshua stood before me a product of easy choices that I made, a product of
love and cowardice.

Joshua looked at me, pleading for a shoulder an embrace, something, anything.
I stepped closer to the familiar faced stranger and extended my arms. My son
embraced me for the first time in my life. He cried and I held him in my arms.
Is this what I would have been like to hold him when he arrived into the world
crying, naked, and afraid? A stranger in a big bad world. I loved him. I
regretted everyday I lost and every tear I brought to his angelic eyes.

“Why?“ the words were uttered after a while, and at first I thought I was
hearing things but he pulled away and searched my eyes hoping for something.

He probably hoped that I left for a reason.  What would be a decent reason to
abandon you child. I was not poor, quite the contrary. I didn’t have any
appearances to keep up; my parents were not politicians or priests. I was not
leaving for some secret government mission. I was not dying. I was just scared.
I ran and have never stopped. Jessica’s love was so true that it scared me I ran
trying to find myself, trying to grow up and be able to face her again as a
better man worthy of her. The problem is once I started running I forgot how to
stop.

I forgot to turn around. It soon became too late and I was too weak to turn back
and face what I left. I don’t believe I am a bad man just a scared one.

“Because I was unworthy.” I said.

“Unworthy? That is a sad excuse.”

“I am here now.” I answered rather defensively.

“But I came looking for you, the decision was not based on any initiative from
your side.”

I could not respond. He was right. Ignorance was my bliss for sixteen years.
I often thought of the life I could have had with a beautiful wife and children
instead of sleeping beside some prostitute who was paid to just warm my bed; my
body to inebriated to perform the way I hoped it with when the business
transaction was entered into.

“You are a stronger and braver man than I. Thank your mother for that.  Joshua I
know this may sound like, bullshit but I have prayed for the day I meet you.
Prayed to be able to call you son. Prayed to be your father…“

“I pray for one thing these days. Peace for my mother. Listen save your love and
apologies I don’t care. I am here for one reason. I need your help. If it works
I won’t bother you again. You want to do anything for me just do this please.”

“Sure, what is it?”

“Come with me to the hospital to see my mother. Let her believe that we are a
family: that you have claimed me as your son and that you want me in your life.
She needs to feel that I am safe and loved so that she can rest. I cannot stand
to see her suffer any more. Please this is all I ask.”

My son was pleading with me for a simple gesture and I stood there poised to
refuse him. I could not see Jessica. I could not face her disappointment or her
loathing, or worst of all, her indifference.

“Please. Just afford some peace, you just have to pretend, allow her to rest.
Just come with me to the hospital me let her see us together and then once we
leave her room we can go on living our separate lives.”

That afternoon, for the first time in sixteen years I met the woman I loved. She
was bald, skinny, but her beauty was still evident. It was then that I realized
that Jessica was plain looking but the love that she held within radiated with
inexplicable beauty.

“Danny, Daniel Johnson. Is that you or is the medication causing me to
hallucinate again?

“Hi Jessica. It’s me. How are you doing?” A stupid question I wish I could have
taken back as soon as I said it.

“Well, well ghosts do exist. I am just brilliant. Just trying a new look.” She
smiled as she patted a spot on her bed indicating that I should sit. It was just
like her to joke about everything.  I was torn between laughing and crying.

“I was a fool Jess. “

“No arguments there.  Is there something particularly foolish that you are
referring to? “She took my hand gently in hers.

“You. Us. Joshua. I am so sorry Jess.  I should have been there.” I broke down,
sobbing uncontrollably. She struggled up and put her arms around me and it felt
right and familiar.

“Danny, it’s okay. You chose the life that you wanted and I chose to continue
with the one that we started, it was tough but we are okay.”

Jessica and I spoke for hours. Joshua sat outside patiently.  I asked Joshua to
stay with me that night and learnt later that he had nowhere else to go. With
Jessica in hospital money was tight and he hopped from friend to friend for
sleepovers.

My son was home and for the first time I felt that there was no reason to run.
We arranged for Jessica to be brought home and we hired a nurse. We got married
a few days later and I buried my wife the following month when cancer carried
her to Heaven.  Joshua and I are still strangers but with time I believe we can
be friends if nothing else. He is more of a man than I ever was and I respect
him more everyday.

Life is a choice.  For the first time I am living.