Fayths and Dremerse Avenue
Once upon a time I heard a song, but I could never fully understand its meaning. It was just a story to me, no value at all, until one day I came across a little street corner. Sitting there was a small boy, clothing hanging off of him in tatters and hugging a small, ragged teddy bear in his arms as if it meant the world to him. He looked so alone and frightened I could do nothing but watch as so many others passed him by, ignorant to the small life clinging by a thread to what could be the only thing important in life. Just a small bear, dirty and falling apart. From the vantage point of an adult it would be nothing, only a piece of trash that should be thrown away and never thought of again, nothing at all special about it. But to a young child with nothing else in the world, it would mean everything.
I continued to watch as he sat there all alone, lips moving but no sound emerging as he spoke to the little bear. I wanted so desperately to hear his words but I was afraid- afraid of hearing sorrow, or afraid of hearing joy and happiness. I could see no happiness sitting on a street corner all alone, but then I've been surrounded by loved ones my entire life, whereas this boy…
I didn't know his story but I wanted to. I wanted to walk up to him and ask him what was so special about his bear, about why he was sitting all alone on the street corner. I tried to take a step forward but my legs wouldn't allow me to. I continued to look at the little boy on the corner but I couldn't move. What was his story?
Finally he looked up, and I saw a smile on his face as he looked at his bear. But though he smiled there were tears in his eyes, and I knew that at any moment he was going to cry. I knew he was going to cry, but instead of hearing sobs I heard laughter, as the boy giggled into his teddy bear. He was crying but he was laughing too, and finally my feet started moving towards him, my mind overcome with the need to know why this boy was so happy and yet so sad at the same time.
Now there were two of us, the boy sitting and me standing beside him, looking down into his bear's eyes, the tiny black beads glittering soulfully in the flickering light of a nearby streetlamp. Even the bear was crying, it seemed.
Once more, those who passed by didn't notice the lives so near to their own. They were ignorant once more of that which would matter little to them in life.
"That's a pretty bear," I said, kneeling down beside the boy. Up close he looked to be only seven years old, but his eyes, shining so brightly with young life and tears, were the eyes of one much older, the eyes of one who's suffered. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. His were eyes the shade of blooming life, flowers and grasses, one moment the green of a new aloe vera and the next the pale yellow of a honeysuckle; they were eyes that spoke of a soothing gentleness and revealed a presence that could warm the heart, could see into the heart, and find the good in all, buried no matter how deep inside. I looked into his eyes as the tears continued to fall, and I wanted in that moment to put my arms around him so he wouldn't cry anymore.
"My sister made it for me," the boy said softly, looking into the bear's small eyes and holding it close to his heart.
"Your sister must be very special," I said then.
The boy nodded and held up his small arms, holding the bear above his head and staring into its glittering eyes. "She is," he whispered, dropping the bear to his heart again. "But she's in the hospital right now. They say she's never gonna wake up."
"I'm so sorry," I said, sitting down beside him. "What is your sister like?" I asked.
"She's pretty," he said immediately. He smiled shyly and carefully set the bear in his lap, running his small fingers over its head. "She always told me that one day she was going to make the world hear her. She always use t'come to this corner and sing for hours and hours, even though no one ever got to hear her sing." He giggled suddenly, taking the bear into his small arms and hugging it. I was confused and asked what was so funny, and he responded by looking up into my eyes and saying, "She wrote a bunch of songs and said one day, she was gonna sing them all where the whole world would hear her. She said her songs were gonna make people stop hurting each other and make everyone happy! She said her songs are gonna make everyone stop hating each other. One day, she said she was going to tell the world a story and that everyone would listen and it would make them really happy and sad at the same time, 'cause the story is so good and sweet that everyone will be stunned into silence and they will all cry because they've never heard anything so sweet before. She wants to save the world, she said."
I smiled too. "Some people though…" I said softly, leaning forward and wrapping my arms around my legs. "Some people will always hate, no matter how the world around them changes."
The boy's smile widened. "That's what she said too. She said people will always hate but… but when she tells the world her heart, then maybe they'll begin to hate less. Once they hear her story they'll hate less and be less angry, and since they are no longer so angry they'll stop hurting others. That's what she said."
"Do you really think she'll do it?" I asked. Even though he said she was in the hospital, I could believe his words as long as he too believed in them and in her.
"Of course she will," he said simply, tugging on his bear's arms. "Even if it takes years and years and years, one day she will."
Young children are lucky. They are capable of being optimistic when no one else is. There are times I wish I were still a child, if only to feel that optimism beating so strongly within me. But always- always- something happens, and the next thing you know you can no longer be that child you loved so dearly. Maybe something tragic happens and your life shatters before your eyes, or maybe the way you see the world just changes. However it goes, something happens and you're changed forever, and oftentimes there's no way to go back to the way you were before. And sometimes, the change that happens leaves behind a guilt so great you feel your heart will burst from your chest and leave you empty and aching inside.
I looked at the boy, saw his shy little smile and saw the faith in his eyes that says he knows- he knows- that what his sister has promised will come true. No matter what happens to her, he has faith that she will fulfill her dreams.
"That really is a beautiful bear," I reiterated, and I meant every word. Even though one arm was hanging on only by threads and there was a hole in its belly, and what may have once been a rich shade of brown was now a mottled grey, because it was made by a loved one and was so painfully obviously loved as well, there was a beauty to it that no new toy could ever have.
"She asked once if I wanted her to patch 'im up one day," the boy said softly, nuzzling the bear's head with his nose, "and I said no, 'cause he's already perfect in every way. And I told her that she was perfect too even though she can't run like other kids can and she can't write too good 'cause her hand doesn't like working right. I told her that I don't care what the other kids say about her sometimes because no matter what she can and can't do she will always be perfect to me."
"Only children can understand what true perfection really is," I murmured, smiling when he turned and gave me a confused look. Because only children are capable of seeing perfection when no others can…
"Will you tell me her story?" I asked quietly.
He did, starting so softly I could barely hear but then slowly increasing in volume. But even still, no matter how many people passed us by, not one saw us sitting here, our own little pocket of reality.
On the corner of Fayths and Dremerse Avenue there sits a young girl, tapping out a rhythm with her poorly clad feet and singing a faint tune no one else could hear. But that's all right, she always tells herself. It doesn't matter if they hear me or not, as long as I can continue singing my heart out to the world, continue living my life however I can. So what if they cannot hear me? I need no praise for my voice, no compliments. I may be poor but what need have I for money as long as I can continue singing with my heart?
When all the world around me fails, what reason would I have to cry? She asks herself then. Even if I lose my voice, I'll just sing within my mind. All that matters is how I will live, and if I must sing aloud, then I shall, with all my heart, and no one will stop me from giving it my all. And if I lose my voice and had to sing aloud, I would write down the words and pick up a beat, and on a piano or a flute I will sing, though no voice may pass my lips. My fingers will be my voice, my eyes the way I'll show my heart. Tears and a happy smile for joy, tears and a sad smile for sorrow, tears and a frown for anger, but rarely will it be I will ever need the anger.
So, she asks herself, sitting on the corner, if blinded and broken, even mute, how will you sing, how will you show the world what you may give? Simple, she answers, I'll tell a story, write in my broken hand what words may I sing, and though it brings pain my fingers I will continue to play, and with a guiding heart will I show the world what I feel.
And what then, she then asks, if you are deaf and blind and mute, broken inside and out, how then will you sing, how then will you sing your heart out to the world? Then I will feel the vibrations, she says to herself. I will feel the vibrations within my fingers, feel for the deep thrum of a bass and the faintest thrum for the soprano, and if the notes clash then I will feel it too. I have no need for my eyes or my voice, not even for my ears do I need to have to sing. I will still write even though it hurts, and in my mind I will hear the sound of the piano or the flute, and with my broken fingers I will continue to play, feeling the notes vibration within my breast.
And how, may I ask, she then says to herself; how will you show the world your heart through a song, if you can move neither your fingers, nor your arms or legs or toes? How will you show the world when you are blind and mute and deaf, unable to write and unable to play, and only in your mind will you be able to create your music? How will you find a way? And the girl smiled to herself, continuing to sing on the corner of Fayths and Dremerse Avenue. "I will find a way," she murmurs aloud, each word placed upon a note of her song, ignored by those passing her by. "With every breath within my body, I will find a way to show the world. Music is my language. Even if broken, out of tune and hesitant, it is my language and I will speak with it. I will show the world my heart through my song, for as long as it comes from my heart I will show them all I'm alive. With every breath in my body I will show the world, and I will not fail."
No one hears the words spoken on the corner of Fayths and Dremerse Avenue, but that was okay. It is a place of future dreams, and only those who truly believe will have their dreams come true, as long as their resolve is strong and unbroken, and as long as there is that little voice in their head reminding them over and over that it is not over, that life will continue no matter what hardships come their way. As long as they can defeat any obstacles they face, then one day, if they truly believe, their dreams will come true, even if it is not realized at the time, or in a manner they could not recognize. All it takes is the will to stand up and speak the words that need to be heard, and to truly believe in those words.
The song I heard so long ago always beat strongly within me, an unforgettable presence burning within my heart…
Once upon a time
I saw a falling star
And with my heart I made a wish
So deeply held inside
I wished to save the world I loved
The ones I loved
All that held a place within my heart
I made a wish
To save them all…
Hands shaking, heart beating
Hard to breathe
I wish so hard for this, I know
I cannot ever let it go
One night, one night
So long ago
There was a falling star
And I held within my heart so dear
A single wish
To give to the world
I wished the star a single plea
And with my wish I prayed
Give those I love my greatest gifts
My love, my joy, my hopes and dreams
All that encases my heart and my soul
So let my wish go
And live among the world
Save all that I love
And please never let it go
Three days later I came upon the boy again, sitting on the corner and holding his bear to his heart. His sister had passed away during the night. I asked him, then, if she had fulfilled her dream, and he smiled up at me, the answer clear in his eyes.
Don't know if anyone caught the symbolism, so here it is:
Fayths comes from the word Faith, and that particular street is names Fayths Road, so Faith's Road, and the same with Dremerse, comes from Dreamers, so Dreamer's Avenue.
And also the boy's eyes. Aloe vera is a plant that helps to soothe burns, so soothing, and the honeysuckle is just a sweet flower, and frankly, I think the boy is cute. There might be more symbolic stuff, but if so, I didn't put it in intentionally.
Thank you for reading! And leave a comment if you'd like.