There’s a Sad Sort of Clanging From the Clock in the Hall

stuffed animalAnd he found them not where they were supposed to be and doing the things they shouldn’t. He had left them alone among the molehills and found them perched together upon the mountaintop.

They were laughing and full of fun and getting away with being young.

They were silent and drained of joy and by all means busted.

He was tired. There were long days behind him and long nights ahead. His back, it burned with exhausted muscle and it erupted with spasms of stress and it resorted to a door frame to keep it remotely upward.

Ropes wind and they twirl and they roll nicely off the spool and one minute you are tying knots and making swings from trees and old tires and the next your hands are empty and your metaphor is at its end.

Then they are sorry and they cry and they have said it all before, for instance, last night when he stood propped against the same tired door frame grown weak and weary beneath the burden of his weight. And the waiting still grows heavy.

Words were said louder than they needed to be. Threats were made that were never meant. Little feet scurried to where they should have been and behind them they left a trail of guilt like so many breadcrumbs. Sweet, innocent, beautiful guilt, and they cried loudly as he closed the door in hopes that doing so would save them all.

The hallway is long and lonely and it only need be examined a dozen or so times before it is ingrained firmly upon his brain. Every footstep has purpose. Every footprint an echo. Life is bends that do not break and labored breaths borne deep that linger upon the twilight of its wake.

Behind the door there is only the sound of softly seeded dreams and once reluctant slumber.

Their breadcrumbs are soft and smooth and shaped like plush piles of fluff and imagination. He picks them up one by one, carefully, quietly, and he carries them into the room and places them where they are supposed to be, embraced forever within the arms of his affections. His kisses are made on promise, and his whispers are for forgiveness.

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