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Meredith Linden, 10 Feb '13

The leafless trees scraped the sky free of the debris he'd let loose while yelling about some damned problems he'd been having. It was one of his customs to spew in this particular location. Supposedly, it was a place safe from others' ears, safe from judgment. He had no clue the earth was really there.

Oh sure, he has a place for the earth in his mind. But did it include respect for the wind, respect for the silence on a particularly gray day? Did he honor the emotions of the rocks, sand, clouds, and sky? Of course not. He was a narcissistic crier, a daft emoter with no thoughts for things inanimate, as he called them.

Occasionally, he spoke to them, but that was always on good days. Today was not one of them. His spew was particularly ungraceful and lewd. The sky turned colors the earth had not seen in many a year. Oh, the poor boy. What could have befallen him now?

The trees watched as the boy paced implacably from tree to tree. The rocks behind him began to look as if they were watching a game of ping pong. Everyone was on edge, wondering what he would do. There were times he actually broke and threw things. Rocks disappeared from home because of him, only to be found in odd positions and next to bear feces. Who wants that?

The boy was muttering things as he paced. Suddenly, an outcry was heard by all, "I need you!!!" accompanied with fists shaking in the air. The wind picked up as if on cue and the cold was pelting everyone.

The outcry was not uncommon, the third this cycle. Of course he had no thought to the consequences bestowed on those around him.

The trees, the sky, the rocks, the earth, none of them really understood what he said. Mostly they could get the gist by his body movements and intonation. Sometimes, they had to wait for the next line. Suddenly, they heard a new rustling through the field. Someone else was coming. The boy hadn't heard yet. Everyone waited.

The boy sat down in the short, dry grass against one of the larger pieces of granite. The granite appreciated the warmth coming off the boy's body. The boy's head was in his hands and he was mumbling something not even the stone could hear. But the boy's body language said it all.

A tall man with large hands and a hurried but stable gait approached the boy and stood beside him looking up into the sky. The boy looked at the man. The man said someone was waiting for him at the house. The boy seemed excited at first, then buried his face in his hands once more. "I don't know if I can face John, Dad. I've done too much to hurt him."

"But you love him," said the dad. "That much is clear."

"That much is clear," said the boy. After wiping his eyes, he stood up and walked with his dad shoulder to shoulder to face what a moment ago, before the clouds, trees, and granite, he thought he could never face.