” I’ve looked everywhere, I can’t find Jerry”

Behind our house was a little grove of trees that led into a larger forest. My parents tried to fence the compound but we always found a way to sneak out. My brother and his friends used to take to a little stream deep in that forest to play. Things eventually got stale doing the same thing almost daily, but that was before we met Jerry.

It was one of those evenings, you know, cloudy and very windy, a light drizzle falling, the trees and birds combined to making eerie noises, frightened children running home knowing damn well their father was probably at the door waiting to raise hell. Then out of all the chaos of the evening, I heard a piano playing. The more I tried to ignore it the louder it got. We all stopped to listen.  We followed the music to a clearing. That’s when we saw him.

Jerry was an frail old man, probably pushing 80. He sat there in the clearing with his piano, playing it off key but we were none the wiser at the time, I bet he wouldn’t change it if he could. He turned towards us and started playing by Ray Charles, quite well of I may add, and urged us to sing along. None of us knew the song but we all mumbled something. He suddenly paused, with a grin of his face, and told us to head home. We scurried off home oblivious of the insane  beating waiting for us. There are things you cannot escape; death, taxes and your angry father.

” Children, do you know what love is”

* When a man and a woman love each other very much and..”

* No, that’s not it”

” When a parent cares for his children”

” No, still not it”

” What about two friends?”

” You’re all describing the same thing. That is not love. That is discrimination, it is treatment given only to specific people. I’ll tell you what love is, love is the sky, it is the soil , the wind , the air, the sun. Thai is love, do you all understand?”

” NO!”

Jerry became our main reason for going to the forest since that day. Whenever he wasn’t singing songs from his youth he was giving us deep life lessons, which when you really think about it, we’re useless to 10 year olds. But he gave them to us either way, with the same grin he always had. He knew us well, maybe too well, but we knew nothing apart from his one name.

” The greatest gift you can ever receive is freedom. In our world we are all slaves to one thing or another”

” What are you a slave to Jerry?”

” My ideals. My ideals bind me to this life I live now, the greatest form of freedom I can receive is death. Death is thus the greatest gift, and the greatest form of love”

” But isn’t death painful?”

” Far from it, death is beautiful, death is perfection”

One day my brother ran into the house, panting and fell flat on the floor. His eyes were wet with tears and his bore absolute fear im them.

” I’ve looked everywhere, I can’t find Jerry”

” Why, what happened?”

*He’s gone, and I think he took Joe with him”


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