Chapter one – The Meeting
Each story begins at a certain point. Be it the beginning or be it the end. Each writer is different. Each point has a reason. So allow me to start mine like this
It was a particularly cold, windy and dark night as they called out his name, for as usual, little Zach had gone missing. This time however was unlike the other times, when he could just be found reading somewhere in the green, lush garden filled with trees set in this typically normal country home. This time he had packed all that he believed that he possessed with just a few extra items that he might need and was waiting for his only ride into town.
Zach was the type that could loose himself in the stories of man. The written word was his escape from the horrors that he had endured during his short little life. This time however was different. At only 13 years old, And standing at a meagre 1.45m tall he had been to 4 foster homes and run away from 3. He was not your typical everyday child and could often been seen sporting a blue eye (caused either by his willingness to stand up for those weaker than him or just his general inability to get along with certain people) or easily spotted by the very pronounced scar just above his left eyebrow (courtesy of Foster home number 3). The Orphanage he had attended was a two story face brick building that showed the wear and tear of many of the old buildings in that part of town and the people there had no answer to him. The abuse that he had endured made him angry and hateful. It destroyed this young soul with the evils of life in such a way that until this point had not allowed the good that there is in the world to be seen by his young eyes.
Even with the lack of schooling that young Zach had to survive with, his love of books and reading gave him knowledge and intelligence that far surpassed that of the average 13 year old. He could, by just talking, whisk you away to a land of strange animals and mystical people; he could bind you within the knowledge of numbers and sequences and even take on the most scientific minds with theorems of pure brilliance. But before you think of him as a genius I implore you to remember, that as I said before, it was with his words that he cast his spell on you and with those same simple words he could take you on a journey beyond the imagination.
As in every story there are others involved in this web of life. For you see on the other end of this long country road lived a man named Jason Steven Crawshank. At the age of 47, He was tall to any mans standards, and at 2.17m most people would have had to look up at this man even though his very pronounced slouch made him seem a little shorter than he was. Always well dressed even when sporting a simple jeans and shirt, this man was well organized. Mr Crawshank had written no theorems, no papers nor any books that anyone had ever had the privilege to have read, for he was, by every social standard a simple man, who worked hard for everything he had. His only talent, his one feature of surprise, was that this man was a teacher. A teacher, who as the typical middle class man, also had problems of his own, but through his many years had also learnt to face them head on.
These two vastly different souls were destined to meet on that dust covered street on that fateful night that Zach would attempt his fourth great escape and as they stood there under the cover of the rusted and old bus stop, not saying a word, they both felt a strange pull, a tug at the very fibre of their beings. They turned to face each other and a simple question was asked – What are you running from? – And at that immediate moment it seemed to them that this was not to be an ordinary engagement.
Now you might think that it would be Mr. Crawshank, “The Adult,” that was asking such a question as he saw this little boy carrying a bag with, what looked to be, all he had in the world crammed inside, but truthfully I say to you that it was Zach that was questioning the validity of the bags he saw at Mr. Crawshank’s side. As these 2 people with so many unseen scars stared into each other, trying to understand this bond, that formed with no knowledge or spoken word, it became apparent that this was no ordinary meeting, and as they spoke on that dust covered road waiting for the solitary bus that they both knew would arrive, both boy and man agreed, without admitting, that this time, maybe running, was not the answer.
As they went their separate ways that evening, it was as if there was more meaning to the meeting than either of them had grasped. For even in their wildest dreams, could they not have fathomed that this was just the beginning of the tale, for this, is the written word from The Writer.
The Wind would cause the clouds to hide the moon from sight as Zach walked home, and as any normal youngster he was kicking the odd stone that lay in his wake, paying no real head to it as he thought back to the conversation he had just had. It bothered him that someone would attempt to know him better than he thought he knew himself but also that he had never met nor seen the man before. A series of questions crept into his mind, “Does HE know me? Who is He? Why do I feel like I know HIM? And what makes HIM so important?” (But don’t those sound familiar? Haven’t you asked those questions before) These questions seemed to follow him home. He was quickly brought back to reality as he slowly got closer to the house for he could hear the voices calling him, or calling out to him, and it was that which sent the thoughts in his head scurrying, for knowing that he was to explain where he had been and why, overwhelmed him, even scared him.
How would he even begin to explain that which he himself didn’t understand? Why did he run? Finally, he had found a simple place, a caring place, and one that seemed to accept him just as he is and yet he was still going to run. Where he going I don’t think that even he knew.
Unlike for Zach the trip home for Steven Crawshank was uneventful for he did not have anyone to call his name, no one to answer to and he refused to dwell on this boy he had just met. He was a teacher and as such did not see a need to explain the events that had just happened, because he believed there was no question that did not have an answer, no problem that did not have a solution. He lived alone in the beautiful little cottage in the garden that he shared on this communal property. Don’t, I ask, pity this man for it was he who had chosen that path to begin with and with the rattling of keys he simply unlocked the door, walked to the kettle and flipped the switch. The only sounds recognizable to him were his everyday neighbours, some were fighting and screaming, whilst others, were laughing and singing. These sounds soothed him. They reminded him that he was "home", and although it wasn’t much, it was his.
Zach walked up to the front door of the beautiful home in which he had spent the last 5 months of his confusing life but instead of just walking in as if he lived there he would knock like some stranger wanting to ask for help. It was a soft rattling of his knuckles against the strong wooden door even though he knew that there was a doorbell nearly centimetres from his hand. The soft sound would barely be audible to the normal person but to the worried people inside this home it came as loud as Church bell that rang every Sunday morning to call to God’s people. The door swung open and before Zach stood a man whom did not scold or scream but simply stood out of his way to allow him to enter. Zach did not say a word that night but instead walked up the stairs and straight to “his” room and shut the door behind him.
Zach awoke the following morning knowing full well what to expect as he had been to this Rodeo before. The same old story, only the characters in this one were very “different”. Once again he had to sit through the talks and discussions. The constant questions that he could not answer or maybe he just didn’t want to. In the past he would occasionally have thrown in his opinions and of course that did not exactly do anything to better his cause and was probably the reason for the scar I mentioned earlier. This time however as he sat there and was shouted at, he kept his silence, but it had no relevance on the look on his Foster mother’s face, for it was that look, that look of sheer betrayal that seemed to just fill her entire being that this time would be the difference. He could not look her in the eyes that morning but he did not need to for the look that she bore seemed to hit him from all sides, it hurt him to realize that for once he had started to feel safe and loved but yet he went out of his way to hurt the people who had done everything in their power to give him everything that they could with the little that they had. Zach raised his head and saw the tears streaming down the sides of her face and he reacted without thinking, without planning. Before he, himself, knew what he was doing he had flung his arms around her and said the only thing that was in his heart. I AM SO SORRY. And for the first time in a very long time, longer than Zach wanted to remember, he meant them.