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Archive for February 11th, 2013

As the sun set and the stars began to unfold in dark night sky that rolled out before the friends, they were gathered for one last goodbye. It was what it was, and they understood, but at the same time they felt alone or abandoned. And as the old man said goodbye to his friends, who were sitting with their heads bowed and tears in their eyes, he thought of all that he had been, all that he had done and most of all, everything he had taught them. Turning to look one last time he caught the eye of the white haired boy, the one he had come to know the most of all of them. The boy was smiling as he always did, despite the pain that he was feeling right now, and for one last moment they connected as only true friends do. The old man had taught him to hide his pain well, and the last words they spoke echoed in his mind. ‘You are small, but you are strong. You know you will find me in your heart and mind where I will exist forever.’ Then in a moment the old man disappeared into the mist that lay before the ruins.

 

The old man had handed the keys to the Friendship Tree and the secrets it held within to the white haired boy. It was long ago now on a day much like today had been, where the sun had shone brightly between the puffy white clouds that often stirred the imagination with all the amazing shapes that they made. He had known the time would one day come when he could no longer look after the butterflies, the ladybugs and the dragonflies that were hung there, protecting them from those that would choose to tear them down, not understanding their meaning. The Book of Dreams also required his fullest attention, with its words ensuring the survival of the Tree and the most important place for those that visited this place to write their thoughts and dreams.

 

It was a big responsibility, yet the old man knew the boy was ready. He had watched as he had formed the deepest friendship with the girl with the pink bows in her hair, and he had marveled at the trust the two had put in one another. This bond was truly unique and the old man had never seen this before. He had also watched as the white haired boy had cared for his love, the girl in the red dress. He had shown her total respect and had been her strength through the toughest of times, with a love that was unconditional. All he had done had proven that he certainly earned this responsibility, although he had not done what he had for any other reason than that was just who he was, a reflection of the old man himself.

 

He was tired and he had summoned everyone to the Magic Forest to tell them all of his departure. They did not know what it was he wanted and they had wondered why he had chosen there and not the Tree, but all became clearer as the creatures of the Forest also came out to say goodbye. After all so much of who they were was from him even though the white haired boy was the dreamer.  They knew that the old man himself had started the dreams and from these the Magic Forest and the Friendship Tree had grown.

 

They were now all waiting, and the whisperings were deafening to say the least as they all tried to guess what this was about. Then a hush fell upon the clearing as the sound of tired shuffling feet could be heard making their way along the path. Within a short while he was standing before them, smiling widely as always, which as usual spread across the faces of all those there. He cleared his throat, then he gave a little cough, and when he spoke his voice was so soft and calming. “My friends. Yes you are all my friends. I have watched you grow and learn so much. The magic that I had woven long ago has been passed to another, so young, yet older than many I know. Proud am I that here, in the middle of the clearing, stands his statue tall and true, shining like a beacon for all to see. Now it is time for me to leave.” A collective sigh echoed and tears began to roll down the cheeks of all but the girl in the pink overalls.

 

The old man thought briefly then explained. “There is a place that for so long was lost in time, for so long with emotions locked away never to run free. This is the place I now need to be, to look after the lost souls so that once more they can enjoy the freedom that childhood deserves, the one thing that was taken from them long ago.” He the said goodbye to each of the nine children and to each he whispered words of friendship. As he turned and stepped to walk away, the girl with the pink bows in her hair sprang to her feet and ran to him. She hugged his leg and as he picked her up, he noticed a single tear in her eye, like a diamond in a jewel box, and as it rolled from her cheek and fell onto the floor, a single pink rose began to bloom. He had never seen her cry, and did not want to see her cry again. So he whispered in her ear. “Please be strong, your friend with her ruby red cheeks and the white haired boy need you now more than ever.” She smiled widely, and then hugged him tight. Only he and the white haired boy truly knew her as she was.

 

He gave a final wave goodbye then as the old man disappeared into the mist and the ruins that lay beyond, the sounds of children’s voices could be heard, laughing and singing joyfully. Before he left, he had given the white haired boy a note to read after his departure. The words he had written were to be remembered for all time.

 

Memories of the years have passed,

With all the joys that they have brought.

So many things that I have learnt,

So much to all that I have taught.

 

Life has been so good to me,

Watching close as you have grown.

To be the ones before me now,

As I leave you on your own.

 

You can fear the things that lay ahead,

Or take them all within your stride.

When you don’t know what to do,

Trust the boy whose hair is white.

 

 

The old man had gone, maybe never to be seen again. The friends made their way to the Friendship Tree, and took the note the old man hand given them so it could be placed in the Book of Dreams. Their long lives lay ahead of them and they had many adventures that they would take together. Unlike the old man, they would never grow old.

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