The boy had it pretty rough.
He didn’t have much but a soft heart
that he gave to others so freely
in a bad neighbourhood
and in the wrong family.
When he came back down to his apartment
after playing cards with the
lonely old man in number twelve
or helping the lady down the hall
with her groceries
his mother was there
stuck in front of the television
just for him:
“WHERE YOU BEEN? Out doing NONSENSE with NOBODY! And look at how dirty
the dishes are. They ain’t going to wash themselves, you know!”
“I was just helping…”
“Don’t you talk back to me, BOY! I know you’re out there hanging with the
TRASH doing nothing USEFUL!”
“JESUS! Just LOOK at you! Pathetic! Won’t amount to much of anything.
I ought to have Marsha’s boy. He’s tall and strong and smart. He’s a man!
Already at your age! What did I do to ANYBODY to end up with such a
useless little runt?! NOW GO MAKE ME SOME TEA!”
And so it went on and on…and on.
Until one day. A Tuesday.
The boy sat quietly on his bed
while his mother blared a game show in the living room
and there came a tapping at the window.
It was a girl. A little older.
A yellow dress. A blonde angel. A bright smile.
He opened the window and she rushed in chattering:
“I just moved next door a week ago. Why haven’t you seen me?
What ev’s. I always see you helping people. Do you work here too?”
“HA! I knew you were just really sweet. Wow! Did you draw all of these?”
“You’re so talented! What’s your name?”
“I’m Emily! I just painted my toenails, would you like to see?”
She raised her feet and giggled.
Emily sat up and planted her hands on her hips.
“I have a special talent too.” She said triumphantly.
“I can see inside of people. I got that from my mother.”
“No, Silly! I can know what’s in your heart. Here, let me listen!”
Emily placed her head on his chest and smiled.
“It’s so wonderful, like an angel’s. I could fall asleep to it.”
Emily brought her face up to his and for a moment all Josh could see
were her two bright blue singing shimmering eyes
vivid and uncompromising.
His heart picked up its pace.
Emily leaned forward and kissed him
“You are so beautiful. Do you know that?” She asked.
“Shut up! Come on, let’s go.”
Emily took his hand and dragged Josh off the bed and
through the window.
Laughing, they fled all the way
down the fire escape.
“You don’t want to miss this!” Emily’s laughter
was fine music.
with his heart leaping through his chest
up into the sky.
He had never felt anything like it before
nor had he imagined it
and after that
everything had changed.
Sometimes the most beautiful things
grow in the
ugliest of places.