Gavin’s heart grew heavier with every step he took in the silent forest. The looming darkness of night seemed to reflect his gloomy thoughts. Thoughts and memories of his early childhood when he had taken a walk in the same forest with his late father. As he trudged onward through the red and golden autumn leaves that covered his path, he began to speak out loud as if he were composing a letter.
“Dear Dad. Do you remember our walk all those years ago? I recall it as if it took place only yesterday. How couldn’t I? It was the last time we were together before you left, never to return. I was but a young boy then, now I’m a man. Your adult son looking back on our precious moments together almost every day, with a smile on my lips and a tear in my eye.”
On uttering the last sentence, Gavin felt pent-up anger surging through every vein in his body, and shouted:
“YOU ABANDONED ME ... !!!”
Gavin’s words echoed through the forest, shattering the silence like a glass smashing on a stone kitchen floor. With the words came tears that gushed from his eyes and together with snot converged in the corners of his mouth.
“Why did you leave me? There were plenty of others without children who would have gone willingly in your place.” By now, Gavin was sobbing. “You had a child. You had me. You left me and abandoned me. And now I will never be able to tell you how I miss you. I miss you,” Gavin blurted, dropping to his knees on the damp and cold forest floor.
Suddenly, the forest was filled by a bright light, and Gavin looked up to see a huge, white winged horse rearing before him. Strangely enough, he was not surprised by such an apparition. Instead, he looked at the horse in expectation.
“Good evening,” the horse greeted when it stood on all fours again.
“Good evening,” Gavin replied.
“I am here with a message from your father,” the horse continued.
“Jump on my back and I will take you to him.”
Gavin did as he was asked and before he had time to realize what was about to happen, the horse beat its wings and leapt up into the air. With Gavin holding on tightly to its manes, it soared through the sky on a journey across the ocean and through time. After what felt like seconds, they arrived at a harbour. Gavin looked down at the scene below him of a troopship sailing to war. Then, as the horse swooped down for Gavin to get a closer look, Gavin spotted a soldier standing on the deck, apart from his companions. Their eyes met and in that same instant the soldier’s mind and his mind appeared to merge. Now Gavin could hear the soldier’s thoughts as he looked into the future.
Rod Stewart – Sailing
Gavin, my dear son. You’re a young fella now and I don’t expect you to understand my decision to leave you and your mother. However, one day, when you are a man of my age, you will receive this message and understand that I did what I thought was best. Although you feel that I abandoned you, I want you to know that in my heart I am still with you and will always be with you for as long as you shall live. Right now, I am on board a troopship bound for foreign shores, where we are to disembark and take the enemy stronghold.
While telling you this, I feel unrest in the pit of my stomach. Somehow, I feel this is not going to end well and that I will never return home to you. This saddens me to my very core and makes me wonder whether I made the right decision after all. We could have had such a beautiful life together. My mates see me smiling, but deep down I weep for you. I am so sorry for the pain I’ve caused you and myself in the process. You have every right to be angry with me or even to despise me. It may surprise you to know that my father abandoned me too, although for different reasons and in a different way. So, I may be so bold to say that I know what you’re feeling.
Even so, I ask you to forgive me. Please remember the good times we had together. And, when you take that walk in the forest again like we did, understand that you have the power to determine your destiny. Only you can heal your pain, only you can make your life a happy one. By now, you know that every decision has its consequences. Choose wisely and from a loving heart, so that you and your son will not let yourself be trapped by abandonment, but live freely and compassionately. Farewell, my son. I love you. Dad.
The exchange had lasted mere moments, but already Gavin felt that his life had changed because of it. It was reflected in his surroundings. No longer was he on the back of a winged horse flying across the sky. Instead, he found himself in the forest again, in the morning, sitting on his haunches by a brook.
“Are you okay Daddy?” a little voice asked.
Gavin looked to his left with a loving smile on his face and a warm feeling in his heart.
“Yes, son, I’m fine,” he replied, laying his arm around his young son’s shoulders.
“You were thinking about your Daddy, weren’t you?”
Gavin smiled again. He admired his son’s sensitivity.
“Yes, I was. He felt so close, I could almost touch his hand.”
“I know,” his son replied. “I felt him too.”
I forgive you, Dad, Gavin said to himself. He had barely uttered the words, when he and his son were startled by an acorn plunging into the water before them, scattering drops of water into the air. It was then that Gavin realized that, similar to the acorn, those four words had set ripples in motion. Healing ripples of love that broke his father’s family’s spell of abandonment, and granting love and understanding to generations to come. For, it is not in the giving of a piece of our minds but of our hearts that brings about understanding and a deeper connection. Now warmth surged through Gavin’s veins and brought tears of joy to his eyes. For the first time in his life, he felt free.
“Thank you Dad,” he said out loud, while his son smiled. “I love you too.”
I dedicate this story to my sons, my father, my grandfathers and their fathers, and their fathers before them. X
Mike & The Mechanics – The Living Years
‘Father’ by Lorraine Cormier on Pixabay.com
‘Drop’ by Arek Socha on Pixabay.com
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