The Little Boy Inside

The Little Boy Inside

A Story by David J Rogers
"

A short narrative on my father and an observation I had.

"

He always seemed strong to me. Larger than life. My earliest memories of him are of a fast-acting, quick to anger man with red skin. He was a hard man who appeared to feel no pain. He was my dad.

For years I learned to avoid his notice. I did not want his attention. It usually came with a price, a painful price. As a child, I did not understand any of it. He always seemed angry. He always required of me to do something: clean this, move that, go do this, go do that. I felt more servant than anything. And, the nagging question: where were my siblings? Whenever there seemed to be things to do, I was alone. I learned it was easier to hide in plain sight, to say nothing, to go unnoticed. This did not always work.

Time passes if you keep breathing. The challenges of a household eventually become a norm, an expectation. I began to notice the patterns and see the triggers. I knew when the eventual action and penalties were about to happen. And I avoided all that I could.

Eventually time passes. Education ensues. Knowledge and wisdom collide into understanding.

I had learned to cope with my situation. I had learned to read the emotional tweaks in faces in order to avoid events in which I did not want to participate. I could almost see the mind at work in the faces of those who confronted me. I did not like what I mostly saw. And some of it was surprising.

Then one day I saw it.

I had learned from my father that you work. Hours equal dollars. You do really well, you get more dollars for what you do. And from my family I learned no job was too dirty or beneath me. That hard work was something you did. That soap and water get most stuff off of you, and what they did not time would. And, that pain passes. Some pain. Some pain remains.

I had been working as a teenager. I had money in my pocket to buy what I wanted when I wanted it. Was paying my way through the last two years of high school. Life was getting better for me. I remember hearing the irritating, high pitched, mechanical music of the ice cream truck coming through the neighborhood. I thought, I have money. I will get me an ice cream cone. So, I went outside. Waited. Bought me an ice cream cone. Came back into the house. Sat down on the couch to enjoy the cone. I did not.

I almost immediately became aware of error in my thinking. I did not include anyone else in my thinking but me. I looked to my left and noticed my dad staring at me. He was lost in thought but I saw something in his eyes I had not seen before. Hurt. I had left him out.

Years earlier, once again, I was the only one around the house "helping" my dad. The patrolling ice cream truck was coming through the neighborhood. My dad gave me a dollar and said go get something from the ice cream truck for myself and him. He had never done that before. I practically ran from the back of the house to wait for the truck to stop near our house. I bought us something and came back. We had an ice cream, then back to work on whatever it was we were doing. It was a moment we had. It was a good moment he and I shared.

My mind went back to that moment sitting on the couch having an ice cream cone while my dad did not. I could also see for a moment that the hardened man I knew also had a little boy on the inside that could be hurt; and may have been hurt many times by life.

I knew some of the stories about my dad. Life was really tough in depression era east Tennessee where he grew up. I knew he spent some time with his grandparents on a river, away from his family. I knew he had a tough time through school. I knew he joined the Navy at sixteen years old. I knew the Navy took at tough kid and made a tougher man.

I never realized until that moment sitting on the couch that my dad was anything other than the extremely hardened and tough man that I knew.

I later learned from my dad's sister more about the man she knew. I read her book about their early life and had the privilege to sit with her and listen. My dad, once upon a time, was a little boy who left his sister with memories that she was his princess and he her protector. He was a little boy left by his circumstances a hardened person who would do whatever was needed doing. That did not leave a lot of room for savoring ice cream on a couch in a comfortably equipped home. His youth was spent scrounging, scrapping, and selling for food and clothes and a place to stay. On rare occasions, 25¢ would be spent to get a movie, a burger, and a soda for him and his sister.

Carl Jung, a pioneer of psychology, observed we all have that child within us still, and even after years and trials of life have occurred to temper or hide that child, it is still there. The hurts and longings of many years ago can be touched in a moment by a trigger that takes us back to where that hurt originated.

In that moment, with an ice cream cone in hand, I took my father back to his childhood, and in a flash in his eyes and face, I saw that moment of emotion. That moment where he no longer was a man hard tempered by life, but a ruddy faced, towed headed little boy wondering why he did not also have an ice cream.

I wish I knew the man my dad's sister knew. I only knew the hardened by life man that was my father. I pray he rests well with his Savior and has all to make his heart full. No more lacking, no more want. No more need to be as hard as he can be to protect that little boy on the inside.


© 2016 David J Rogers



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I am forty-six years old, and I am still that little girl inside. I look in the mirror, and I don't see me. I see those who made me: my mother, who didn't know how to love but knew hot to hit, abuse, and neglect, and my father, the one I never knew but put on a pedestal within my heart. I suppose life hardens the heart and sharpens the edges, particularly those who have seen the darkest complexities of life.

After reading this, I had the immediate feeling that I could sit across the table from you; and we could have a great conversation about our parents. I could certainly relate to so much of this.

In the end, however, you have honored your father; and I felt deep affection for him and the little boy inside. We are not often an open book, and it's hard to imagine what lies between the pages of one's life. We often read one page, not thinking of what came before. Still, the words that came before can have a deep impact on the words that come after.

My mother never said, "I love you." I remember, when I was 13, her saying to me, "You are nothing, a nobody, and no one will ever love you." I immediately felt that she was repeating to me what someone had once said to her. Those words still resound for me today.

Each of us have that little boy or girl inside; and sadly, so many are shattered --- shattered into fragments of what could have been and what will never be. Those fragments are sharp and can cut very deeply.



Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I am forty-six years old, and I am still that little girl inside. I look in the mirror, and I don't see me. I see those who made me: my mother, who didn't know how to love but knew hot to hit, abuse, and neglect, and my father, the one I never knew but put on a pedestal within my heart. I suppose life hardens the heart and sharpens the edges, particularly those who have seen the darkest complexities of life.

After reading this, I had the immediate feeling that I could sit across the table from you; and we could have a great conversation about our parents. I could certainly relate to so much of this.

In the end, however, you have honored your father; and I felt deep affection for him and the little boy inside. We are not often an open book, and it's hard to imagine what lies between the pages of one's life. We often read one page, not thinking of what came before. Still, the words that came before can have a deep impact on the words that come after.

My mother never said, "I love you." I remember, when I was 13, her saying to me, "You are nothing, a nobody, and no one will ever love you." I immediately felt that she was repeating to me what someone had once said to her. Those words still resound for me today.

Each of us have that little boy or girl inside; and sadly, so many are shattered --- shattered into fragments of what could have been and what will never be. Those fragments are sharp and can cut very deeply.



Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on January 16, 2016
Last Updated on January 17, 2016
Tags: the Great Depression, east Tennessee, ice cream, fatherhood, father, dad, doc rogers writes, Carl Jung

Author

David J Rogers
David J Rogers

Montgomery, AL



About
Artist • Author • Poet • Preacher I am a thinker, ponderer, assayer of thoughts. I have had a penchant for writing since childhood. I prefer "Doc" as an hommage to my grandfather Rob.. more..

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