A tree stands tall in a densely populated forest. Its left side shadowed by an overbearing mountain, its right side glistening from the dew of an early morning Spring. Hidden amongst a thousand others the hopeful sapling strains to catch a glimpse of the brightening horizon, its promising set of virtues marred from view by an older firmer oak. Although young and filled with potential, the little tree feels emaciated and choked, its voice rendered only through whisper and breeze. Standing in a valley whose name had long been forgotten to the maps of a previous age the young sapling ponders its significance amongst the greater tale of the cosmos. It didn’t know it then as it stood there all alone but one day it would grow so tall and grab the world’s attention, its inner fibres and heartwood bolstering and unlocking the rising core of another.
In his eyes he had failed and there was nothing I could do to convince him otherwise.
Patrick stood alone in a dark and dreary corridor, his shoulders arched forward in a defeated, weary pose. His left arm hung lower than his right, bored down by the weight of a newly tightened noose. Silence beseeched his thoughts as he stared forward into the abyss, a single flickering light in the distance guiding him to his dreaded destination. He closed his eyes, searching deeply for his inner courage. How had it come to this?
Ciara had answered the telephone and without an appropriate and convincing alibi we had decided that telling her the truth would be the best course of action. Her response had not been one we had been expecting. A bout of silence followed by the words, “It’s fine, it’s fine” had completely taken us by surprise and there had been no chapters or guidelines in our communication manuals to deal with such an outcome. She had thrown us a complete and unwavering curveball and Patrick had assumed the worst.
I had tried to persuade him that her words seemed genuine, that we were in indeed going to be ‘fine’ but it was to no avail. In his eyes he had failed and there was nothing I could do to convince him otherwise.
Standing alone in the corridor Patrick looked towards his feet as if for reassurance and then slowly raised his weary eyes back towards the path that lay ahead. He took one step forward, exhaled heavily and began his one-way journey.
Every step he took echoed out around him as the soundwaves emanated from corridor to corridor, returning to their source once they realised no one would hear their call.
He didn’t know why but he suddenly felt the compulsion to look up towards the beam.
The noose bobbed up and down limply in Patrick’s hand as his pace quickened, its long tail dragging behind in protest at the act it was about to commit. As the flickering light at the end of the corridor grew closer and closer, the walls began to widen until eventually Patrick was standing amidst a vast empty expanse. He came to a halt, planted his feet shoulder width apart and then looked up towards his final chosen resting place.
Above his head lay a solitary beam of wood, it’s position marking the end of his tiresome journey. He stared at it for a moment, watching as the light from a nearby candle danced and licked it’s way across its underbelly. He then tightened his grip on the noose, thrust the rope up over the beam and looped the ends through one another.
Once he was satisfied with its position and angle he pulled slowly on one end of the rope, hoisting the noose until it rested just above his own eye level.
It was complete. His journey had come to an end. As he stood below the beam entranced by the noose as it tantalizingly swung backwards and forth right in front of his face, a strange feeling seduced over him. He didn’t know why but he suddenly felt the compulsion to look up towards the beam.
There, hidden amongst the dancing rays of light he witnessed something he hadn’t touched upon in a very long time. Courage. He couldn’t have known that the beam of wood staring down at him with a noose latched onto it’s arm was the very same sapling that had once stood tall in a densely populated forest but he knew that the positive aura encapsulating him now possessed a strength that had overcome many an obstacle on it’s passage to this very moment.
The sapling had stood tall. It had finally made a difference.
In silence, Patrick turned and with that, walked away.