I wrote this story about Wekin, my friend’s son, who discovered this “rope” in the family bathroom in Thailand back in March. (There’s a picture of the “rope” at the end of the story.
WEKIN, THE ROPE, AND THE EDUCATION OF A VILLAGE
(and the wisdom of a father)
Wekin looked close at the rope on the ground. It did not look like any other rope he had seen, but it had the shape of a rope. Or close to it.
He thought of daddy. At the house in Virginia, on the other side of the airplane ride, daddy’s words called him. He could hear them if he stretched his ears as far as they would go.
“Hey, Wek, check this out.”
Yes, Wekin still heard daddy’s words even though daddy worked far away at the house on the other side of the airplane ride right now. That is how mommy and daddy had told him it would be for a little while. He tried to stretch his ears every day so he would not forget daddy’s gentle talking.
Even though he liked the mommy words and the way mommy’s family made them, he still wanted to hear the daddy words every day, too. It was different from mommy’s words. He liked both talks, but no one was there to do daddy’s words.
Wekin tried to talk it to the other kids at school. They didn’t have daddies with the gentle talk. He tried to talk the daddy words to all the new people he met. Some of them talked it back to him. It made him feel close to daddy, and he liked that a lot. He thought daddy would like that, too.
Sometimes he saw daddy’s face on the computer, and even though he was happy to see daddy’s face, Wekin did not understand why all of daddy did not come out of the computer and scoop him up like before the airplane ride. Sometimes thinking of that made him cry, but that made mommy sad.
He did not want to make mommy sad. She missed daddy too. Wekin knew that, because she made sniffles sometimes at the night when she thought he was already sleeping. But he was not. It was sometimes hard to sleep in this house without daddy, but Wekin did not tell mommy that. Mommy made tears for daddy, too, but she did not want Wekin to see them. He did not see them, but he could hear them sometimes at the night.
There were no books that daddy’s gentle talk could make and that daddy always made at the night at the house on the other side of the airplane ride. And even though mommy used her words to make songs for Wekin when he was supposed to sleep, he sometimes wanted the daddy songs, too. But Wekin did not telly mommy that.
So Wekin tried not to cry when he saw the face of daddy on the computer, even though he wanted more than just the face of daddy, especially at the night. But he knew he would see all of daddy soon. Mommy told Wekin that every day. Soon. But sometimes Wekin wanted SOON to mean NOW.
Wekin stopped that thinking and looked at the rope. Because daddy would want to know about this rope, and if he did not get a good look at, it he would not be able to make the words to tell daddy about it.
Wekin also wanted be able to draw the rope on a piece of paper that he could show daddy and mommy. If it was good, they would hang it in a window at the house on the other side of the airplane ride. Wekin made lots of good things, because almost all the windows in the house in Virginia had papers. He missed the windows of the house on the other side of the airplane ride. He missed all of daddy.
One thing different about the rope from other ropes Wekin had seen was that this rope had colors. Black and red. That would be good on the paper.
Maybe he could take his paper of the rope to his new school before it went in the window at the house on the other side of the airplane ride. He could make daddy’s gentle talk to tell them how this rope was different. Daddy would like that. So would mommy. Wekin smiled. He liked to think of mommy and daddy in the same thought. SOON. But not NOW.
Another thing different about this rope from other ropes Wekin had seen was that this rope had a little end and a big end. The little end curled up like Wekin’s hair. Wekin liked this about the rope, because it made him think of daddy, too.
Friends from near the house on the other side of the airplane told Wekin he had daddy’s hair. But daddy’s hair was white and short. The lady friend told Wekin daddy’s old hair was like Wekin’s now hair with the CURLS. Wekin liked that word. And the rope had a CURL, too. Like Wekin’s now hair and daddy’s old hair. Wekin smiled again. He really liked the rope.
But the rope moved. Wekin knew ropes were not alive like mommy and daddy. Ropes did not move unless something alive moved them. Then the rope had eyes and a tongue. Like Gilbert the cat at the house on the other side of the airplane ride. But Wekin did not like the tongue of the rope or the eyes of the rope. Actually, now Wekin did not think he liked the rope at all.
Wekin made a step away from the rope and the rope made a step to Wekin. Now he heard daddy’s voice, and he did not have to stretch his ears one bit now. The words were loud in his ear.
“Wek, get away and tell mommy.”
If daddy TOLD him something and did not ASK him, Wekin knew it was SERIOUS.
Wekin ran to tell mommy.
The snake curled back up and continued her evening nap.