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This Man (standard:non fiction, 630 words)
Author: E J WoodallAdded: Sep 18 2002Views/Reads: 2095/1Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A short story about Dad.

When I was born, I met this man who I regarded as a figure of greatness.
He was older than me, much older I hasten to add and appeared to 
successfully carry the weight of the world upon his strong shoulders. 
Little did I know that he would one day drop that weight. When he 
lifted me up to the never-ending sky on those shoulders, I too, was 
part of that grown up world, of responsibilities and knowledge. It was 
this greatness that collapsed when I came of age and became part of the 
cruel world he was already in. 

He painted the world for me in colour with his articulate skills of the
paintbrush, a certain vibrancy that I would never forget. The long 
words in my books he would decipher and interpret for me as I learnt to 
read. Poems that allowed me to understand the world would come from his 
bearded mouth. He was a teacher by profession, but he had a more 
important job, he taught me. This man looked down upon me and always 
has, but now through distorted glasses, broken glasses that one day 
would be fixed. But his blue-washed eyes remained the same and the 
crows feet imprints at the side of his eyes were still there, but 

From day one, our minds intrinsically inform us that we should live our
lives as fully as possible. Suffering is also part of the package; a 
suffering that I thought this strong, self-controlled, respected man 
could cope with. 

But the Truth is, our bodies are as strong as pencil leads. Strong
enough to function well, but with too much pressure, can break easily. 
We are not as robust as we would like to think we are. Pencils can be 
sharpened, so can the mind with a little support and practice, I 
believe this man pushed the pencil a little too hard on the rotten, 
torn pages of life. 

I often watched him in his greenhouse tending to the full tomatoes
teetering on the edge of the vines waiting to be plucked by Man's 
hands. Greenhouses, for all their transparency, are a fallacy, for I 
did not see what was coming to that man. I did not look far enough. 
When I watched this man work in his shed, I did not see properly 
inside, I merely peered through the fake glass. Oh, that 

shed was a hive of creativity. That shed (although it was a different
one when I was five years old) bore witness to the first ceramic pot I 
threw on the wheel. The shed resembled everything this man was. In the 
shed was a wheel, a kiln, a crammed bookshelf, various creations, 
photographs of us, drawings of us (always a computer) and of course a 
huge black spider which I frequently asked him to remove for my own 
selfish fear of the insects. 

Now the shed is stale, the smell of creativity, of acrylic paints is
tarnished. Faint, encrusted smears of PVA glue are still present, but 
the consistency of life is not present for the time being. (I don't 
like to use the word Never, for I believe the existence of the shed 
will come to life again) I notice the thick, green opaque ash tray 
becoming full of burnt tobacco, callously tapped out from the age old 
pipe. The smell of Clan still fills the air as my Father continues to 
smoke his favourite tobacco. 

I will not accept that my Father's head is still not whirring from the
cogs of creativity that fill everyday life, and more. I won't accept 
that this is it for him. 

This man, my Father, is a continuing omni-presence in my life, and his
disassociation with his own life is never an encumbrance. 


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