Saturday, May 15

Dad's Version

[The following handwritten ms was found in a small spiral notebook in my father's workshop after his death. I typed it out tonight, with a minimum of editorial corrections -- mostly in the way of adding a comma here or there. Note that "giftgiver" varies from singular to plural throughout. Stet.]

The Giftgiver
by Charles H. Kelley (1932-1990)

In the course of time, a child was born, another soul, another helpless infant, dependent on the care of others of his kind. The world took no notice, except to record the facts of his birth and update population statistics by one.

Very early in his existence he found the world hostile to his body. He longed for sleep but it would not come. Everything he touched, or was touched by, caused pain. He sickened and was moved to a place of healing where after weeks of care he gradually grew stronger and his pain subsided. From that point, he was returned to his home and grew into a healthy, normal child, intensely curious and strangely independent of his caretakers.

Once he began to grow it seemed nature was trying to compensate for what had happened. His growth seemed accelerated and he appeared destined to become very special. His desire to learn was matched by his desire to please and he intuitively knew or sensed the moods and minds of everyone he met.

All agreed he was indeed a fine, bright boy who had been endowed with a special gift that would propel him to any height he desired. And so it was. Schoolwork was no challenge, his interests ranged over the gamut of human knowledge and he was happy toying with his golden gift as any child would enjoy a toy that he never tired of and that revealed different sparkling facets as each day passed.

Since the gift was intangible and therefore invisible to the world only a few others knew of the power of the gift and those who knew did not fully understand.

To keep and enjoy his gift it became evident to the boy that he could not share nor express his gift, nor could he use its full power unless he hid the sparkling facets from the world, all the world.

It became a solitary pleasure, but one that because of its power sustained him in his daily life. He sensed danger in withdrawal and by using bits of the gift he reached out to the world but found it dull, lifeless and shallow compared to the world the gift revealed to him, and him only.

It was then that he realized he could not exist in a world that was so foreign to the world in his mind.

He agonized over his dilemma. Life became a charade. He wanted desperately to find his place in the world, but there was no compromise, no solution. Should he renounce the gift or embrace it fully? To renounce it was to extinguish the lights, the sparkling facets and join the others in a drab, gray dance. To embrace it fully was to withdraw completely into the world fashioned by the gift, the world of shining promise and bring, dazzling dreams.

The conflict raged on, silent to the world but a constant, increasing, whirling tumultuous battle to the boy.

There was no blinding flash, no resolution, no plan offered by the gift and gradually the boy began to realize that although he had been given the gift, he could find no way to use it to solve the problem he faced because of it.

It was then that the giftgivers decided to take matters out of the boy's hands. It was decided to take back a part of the gift. It was not intended to be cruel, just practical. Enough was to be taken back to ease the pain, but even in the world of the giftgivers mistakes are made. Too much was taken back, much too soon and as the gift slowly faded, the boy became aware of his increasing loss and his pain became too much to bear. The gift was his hold on life and without it he could not face the void. In his pain and sorrow he sought to free himself from the darkness by slipping into it. And yet this was not to be, for enough of the gift remained to prevent his escape.

Because he could not escape he has endured years of confusion, bitterness, and an unexplainable sorrow.

He is now in a state of suspended animation, aware of what was before and what promise lay ahead, yet keenly aware of what is now. Angry at his loss, yet afraid to be angry, searching his soul yet afraid to search too deeply, and existing in a colorless world where others see the entire spectrum.

What then was the gift? If given once, will it be given again? Is there purpose, a plan, a lesson, or punishment for recipients of the gift. An ability to view the world in a way denied to most? An ability to sense the essence of life denied to most? Or is it as simple as a rush of chemicals through the blood or a flash of electrical impulses in the brain, changing, altering the process of thought, producing bursts of creativity, hope and purpose, and as quickly, bursts of hopelessness, fear and confusion.

The boy had the gift, that wonderful, dazzling view of the days that lay ahead. His life is now a struggle to regain it. Only the giftgiver knows if this is to be, but the struggle continues because the closed door was once opened and the light that streamed in was so bright that even on the darkest of days it casts a glow that must be pursued.

Interesting. He seemed to really know me and understand me when I was a child, but later on, he really had no clue about what was really going on. The Gift was never actually taken away, or even diminished. Sad that he thought it was, though. Oh well.
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