A Winter's Tale
It's winter's fall...seagulls are flying, swans are floating by...
"Come on, Luke! Wait! Don't go so far... if Daddy knows...that..."
"Don't follow me! I'll go alone!"
The boy hurried as his little brother followed him crying.
(I won't mind what Daddy says...)
Their father always looks angry.
He always says "don't do this, don't do that" things to them.
And he grumbled more recently since they came for a winter holiday here
(Due to "the lake", I guess)
He remembers when he asked his father to go boating on the lake.
He just wanted to be with his father and there was no more reason,
but he was refused.
"Do not go around the lake!"
Those words sounded so cruel and cold and the boy rushed out the house.
His little brother was whimpering and it's sound made him hurt.
The small boy is a timid kid and he always wanted to be with the brother
of opposite nature. And he can't help loving his young brother.
He held the hands of his brother but it was him who wanted to cry.
He did not know why he cannot express his real love to his father.
So quiet and peaceful...there's a kind of magic in the air...
Nobody around the wharf. It was really quiet.
"Do we go on a boat?" said his brother, anxiously.
He was just getting on board a boat with no words.
Of course he was regretting. The boat was too large for small kids.
(But we cannot go back...)
Then they heard a voice.
"No, no, dear. Boating is no fun! It rocks and you'd get wet.
Come on, sit down here and how about having a chat?"
There was a man sitting on the edge of a quay.
He had a big smile to the boys surprising.
The little boy hid himself to the elder brother.
That made the man laugh - but his laughter made the air tranquil.
"Your little brother is a shy boy, isn't he."
And he told the truth.
"And I am a shy boy, too."
Unconsciously the boy started to talk to this friendly guy.
"...No. He is just like in front of the man he doesn't know
but he is really annoying at home."
"Just like your daddy" said the man.
The boy stiffened to hear the word "daddy".
"You...know our daddy?"
The younger boy asked timidly.
"Yes, of course. We are friends. This must be your daddy, huh?"
The man took out a picture from his pocket.
A young long-haird guy was smiling in the picture. Boys wondered.
"Who is this...?"
"Looks like Laura a bit...?"
It was a bit difficult for young kids to imagine the shy-looking
young guy to be their father.
"Well...this must be an antique...but your daddy is always smiling
like this, boys?"
"Never! He's always angry!"
The boy's words were rather bitter.
"He always grumbles! He never comes to the lake...
I was...I was just thinking he would love this beautiful sight...but..."
The boy never knew the reason that he could speak out his real mind
to the stranger. But he felt a bit better now.
The man listened to the boy in silence.
Then turning his face to the lake, he smiled calmly,
just like remembering something.
"Your daddy loves here, too. But he's got too much memories here..."
(Much memories...what's that?)
But the boy kept silent as he realized that it is a kind of prohibited
The man looked at the boy.
His eyes looked like something sank deep into the boy's mind.
"You love your daddy. So you just behave selfish, do mischief to make him
look at yourself...I know that. And your daddy is not perceptive...
He never notices other's mind...don't you think so?"
"But you must be frank to tell him so to make you feel better....
though I could not act like that, you know."
The man was ashamed and covered his mouth with his palm.
Just like a kid...
The boy thought and now began to like this man further more.
"Do you know that your daddy is a really funny guy?
Let me tell you a story..."
He suddenly changed the topic and began to talkd the old-time story.
The boys never heard of it and not even the story itself but the way
the guy talks was enchanting to make them forgetting the time passing by...
Voice of their father struke the boys.
"He is coming." said the man, smiling quietly.
"Why don't you meet daddy? You're friends...aren't you?
Daddy wants to see you, I guess" The boy said to him.
(What kind of "friends" they are? )
He wanted to know.
"Well...I cannot see him anymore."
The man whispered. It was a sad voice.
But soon he faced the boys and winked.
"To tell the truth, I am a wizard - so the grownups cannot see me!"
"No, no, you are telling a lie!"
Boys broke into a laugh.
"No lies. Come on, I will tell you a magical spell. When you see
your daddy, just hug him and tell this - he will never scold you"
"Of course! The wizard never tell you a lie. Go and see your daddy.
He would lose his way!"
"Can we meet again?"
"Anytime you want, of course"
He grinned at them.
The father finally found them - he looked for the boys here and there
and got so tired.
He looked at them and started "Come on, why do you always..."
Boys jumped into father's arms and told him a spell.
They noticed their father shocked.
"...what did you say!?"
He was not angry anymore. He was just puzzled now.
"He was really a wizard!" Cameron said.
"Who is HE!?"
The father was just asking to Luke.
"We met at the...lake. He said he was a friend of daddy.
He told us a lot of things"
Luke noticed that they never asked the man his name.
"..! Is he still there!?"
Suddenly their father ran to the lake and two boys followed him.
The wharf was too quiet.
Seagulls are flying over the sky aglow with the setting sun.
"Freddie!...Isn't it you, Freddie!? Come on, where are you!?"
It was a strange sight for the boys.
They just stared at their father shouting the name just like crazy.
But the man never appeard again.
It seemed to be natural thing that he appeared and made fun of their father...
but he never came back again.
After a while the father broke down on his knees on the exact point
where the guy was sitting a short while ago.
Luke wanted to tell his father that HE was there,
but closed the mouth as he watched the tears pouring from his father's eyes.
The father was shedding tears watching over the lake.
Little brothers were too young to understand the meaning,
but they felt the beautiful scenery around the lake began to look
sorrowfully right now. The sight made them hurt.
As if their father, too, melted away...
The boys hugged his father on his back firmly, not to make him fade away.
The sun was setting in front of this father and sons.
"....I STILL LOVE YOU, daddy"
Luke repeated the 'magical spell' again by himself.
(Does it effective still now?)
"Yes, of course, darling" - the man's voice echoed in his mind.
Then the father had a long breath and stood up holding the hands of his kids.
"We should go home."
He looked ashamed - just like in that old picture.
"Daddy, I must say I'm sorry"
Luke grabbed his father by the hand without thinking anything.
He had a lot of things to ask - the story before he was born and
about him - Freddie.
The palm of his father was big and warm.
"...How about boating tomorrow, kids?"
Oh....It's a bliss
Written in January,1999.
Translated in October, 2000.