mystery

When telling one's story it is common to start at the beginning, but I have not been born yet. It will be twenty years still before my father will be born to French farmers outside of Paris. Two more until my mother will be first held by her father, a German school teacher soon after enlisted and killed in the Great War. It will be thirty-nine years from today when my parents first meet in Paris and a year after that, they will be married. My parents then will spend the first few years of their marriage merely trying to survive Hitler's assault and occupation of France. Within a year of the Allies victory, my father will take up his law practice and I will be born.

What? A prophet? No. Oh, I suppose these wars are future to you. At my age my tongue begins to slip. And time has always been such a liquid thing for me. You will have to forgive me in this if you indeed want to hear my story. I am going to speak of things which for you have not yet occurred. But this is why you've come. This is why you seek my story. Perhaps I should fear giving you sight into the future. But fears are a funny thing: in youth my fears were many., and now, now I only have one fear. And telling you of events to come is not that fear.

So, yes, two wars will pass before I am yet born. Bigger by far than what you are now imagining. And to me, these wars are inescapable. I have lived forever tied to them, it seems. To me they are not two wars but both one and many.

My earliest memories were peaceful enough. My parents seemed loving and protective in everything I can remember, every one would want. They seem the perfect idea of parents in my head. Yet there was one failure of parenthood that is really my earliest clear memory. It is not the memory of an event so much as the feeling that cast its shadow over my entire childhood..

I could see things that my parents could not see. I would ask them what they were, and ask the name of these beautiful colors and auras composing these strange objects. For what is a parent's job but giving shape and name to the world of their children? But in this my parents failed me. They told me the name of these things was nothing. And there were no colors not found in the rainbow. It grew a constant war between us through out my early age. Which now I can understand their frustration in having a boy so set on stories and fantasies that he believed them to be true to their own shame. Finally a time came when I was so insistent and angered by their dismissals that I pushed my father to hit me, the only time he ever hit me. He struck me across the face. And so I never spoke of the mystery to them again.

I still did not understand that my sight was not their sight. It is actually quite amazing how hard a thing that is to grasp. I had hair on my chin before I finally believed that every man was not merely choosing to ignore the miasmas and streams all around them. But as my parents seemed resolute in ignoring this mystery, I chose to do the same, at least amidst others. When I was alone, however, I began to attempt to teach myself what this hidden world entailed.

I suppose at this point I will need to describe these things to you. I will save the technical names for later, so that you can learn them with the me in my story. For now I will grant you what my sight showed me as a small child. But I warn you, this will be like describing sight to the blind. Oh, forgive the expression. Again, my tongue is old and prone to mistakes. But the world I describe to you does not fit in our words. The objects I would see, as no one else, were like jewels or puzzles or knots or containers. No, not each object being one of those or the other. Each fit all those categories and none of them. And they were of colors you have not seen. Can you comprehend a color you have never seen? And these colors permeate the air around these mysteries in wafting clouds and light. Are they physical? No. We pass through them daily. Yet, they are not altogether untouchable. As I learned, once I gained the courage to touch one. My finger would pass through it, but where my finger passed I would notice a bend or a twist in the facet of the jewel. And so I began to experiment and play with these boxes of wonder where ever I might find them.

And so, on a day of otherwise no special importance, I opened a piece of this mystery for the first time. It was the object that floated a foot above the roots of the old ash tree in my parents yard and had been the most constant patient of my experiments. After a sequence of manipulations of my fingers I had learned over time, the thing began to grow a bit larger and then to vibrate. My breath stopped as the door to this box began to flux in great excitement and then the indescribable colors exploded and I lost consciousness.

I remember I was seven years old that day, because my seventh birthday is the last one I ever celebrated. It was also the last time I ever saw my parents.

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