BecketA Story by Hannah Paige
another excerpt from a work in progress
When I was a child, my father wrote a book entitled, “Ferris Wheels and Circus Dreams,” in which he examined the concept of human ideals through the fictional life of a teenaged circus performer named Becket Marley. In this novel, Becket Marley discovers a variety of truths about people and the world as he hitchhikes from one abusive circus to a marginally less abusive circus down the coast. My dad spent a good third of his life, and the majority of my childhood, writing his own life philosophy into the adventures of Becket Marley, teaching young Becket and new life lesson with every strange character or obstacle that he encountered.
“What should I teach Becket now?” my father said to me one day, as he sat at his old electric typewriter, absent-mindedly rocking in his desk chair and raising his eyebrows in my direction.
I thought, smiling. These moments were rare, when my father would turn away from the child he had created on paper, and look at me instead. Through my youth, I had craved the esteem with which he considered his characters. I wanted him to teach me one of those lessons, to help me understand these worldly truths that only my father could know, but I never quite fit the mold that he had designed for me. So instead, my father designed a series of his own children, until he came up with Becket Marley.
Becket and I had a lot in common. We both had grey eyes and wavy brown hair. We both enjoyed stories and asked a lot of questions. We both resembled my father. But I was the product of my father as he was, and Becket was the product of my father as he wanted to be. Next to Becket Marley, I could only imagine how disappointing I must have seemed.
My dad said to me, “I want to teach Becket that no one and nothing is entirely anything.”
I looked up from my chapter book and said, “What does that mean?”
“Well, are you entirely interested in that book you’re reading right now?” he said, examining the cover of my “A-Z Mysteries” book.
I read over the last sentence of the page again. “I guess not.”
“But you’re not entirely uninterested in it either, are you?” he said.
I scrunched my nose and my brow furrowed. “No I guess I’m medium interested in it,” I replied.
My father nodded, and looked at me with something resembling a smile. “Well there you have it,” he said, “Most things and most people are all medium-everything. Medium interested, medium smart, medium nice. And even if there are things that are more than medium, there is no one and nothing that is entirely anything.” He nodded to himself and made a move to type that into his typewriter.
“You mean like no one is entirely bad,” I said, before he had a chance to press a key.
Turning back to me, he said, “Yes, just like that.”
“But that would mean that no one is entirely good either,” I said slowly, now frowning. I waited for my father to deny this observation, but he said only, “I think it’s time that Becket learns what you’ve just discovered, my dear.” Then he smiled broadly, and began to type.
© 2012 Hannah Paige
AboutI'm in high school, and i write while i'm waiting to not be. But it's more than that; i write because i can, and because i should. I like to tell stories that make people think or smile or cry, and .. more..