Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tough Love

Tough Love
The old man sat shaking, 
Tears running down his cheeks; 
the boy huddled on his lap  trembling 
From the exhaustion of his recent outburst. 
Their relationship was an unusual one, 
He would  never know his biological father. 
The old man had accepted him as his own 
More a grandfather than a father. 
Now four years old 
He was yet to learn that none of us 
Can always get what we want. 
To watch Disney cartoons on the TV.  
Mesmerized, sit staring for hours 
Responding to what he was seeing. 
The old man and the boy returned from the beach
 A broad expanse of almost white fine sand. 
The boy would happily play in it for hours. 
An onlooker could be persuaded 
That he seemed to be engaged 
In a conversation with an invisible friend. 
Later he wanted to watch cartoons, 
The old man didn't have anything against cartoons, 
Marvelled at the skill evident in their making, 
Almost life like movements that the characters made. 
Andrew's mother didn't want him to watch them. 
The stage was set for an almighty conflict. 
Slowly it began with Andrew's attempts to switch on the TV 
When it became obvious to Andrew 
The old man was not going to weaken, 
The paddy began with screams and shouts, 
The sound rising to a crescendo. 
Andrew threw himself on the floor 
Shaking and kicking but the old man didn't weaken. 
'Why don't you go downstairs and play with the other children,' 
A shouted 'I don't want to.'  
The two were at an impasse, 
The old man seated in a chair 
Andrew crouching on the floor
 Not far away, shouting and screaming. 
It went on for a long time but gradually 
Andrew grew tired and his shouts weakened. 
The old man watched and remembered;
Remembered his own childhood.
The many occasions he went into a fury
Unable to get what he wanted. 
He waited and watched beckoning/ 
Eventually and very reluctantly. 
The boy slowly relaxed on the old man's lap. 
He closed his eyes and the two hugged each other.  
The closeness of the boy and the poignancy of the moment 
Reduced the old man to tears. 
At that moment he was reminded
 Of what he already knew 
That he was unlikely to live long enough 
To see this beautiful gracious boy into manhood.