The man couldn’t believe what his ears were hearing. His heart ached with a fiery burn deep inside. Had he not taught we’ll enough for his son to understand? Or did his son just never experience this kind of experience before.
The burning was only intensified as they made there way home. Like a volcano about to burst, his chest was churning. Every ounce of his being begging to release the sorrow he was now carrying. His thoughts raced as he tried to form a reaction so the little ears next it him would understand.
Once home, he told his son to go watch the television, so that he could go meditate. To find a answer. He felt it only right. His son was growing everyday and he was a proud father. Turning 12, he was at the beginning of his new journey. One of awkwardness, heart ache, laughter, memories, and ascent in adulthood. It was at this time, the father realized, that the lessons bestowed on him now will last for the rest of his life. As his mind escaped him he fell into deep meditation.
It was a weird car ride home he had thought. His father hadn’t said a word since they left the principles office. He had expected a yelling session or a stern talking to but silence? Silence couldnt be good. He had felt bad for what he had done. He had tried explaining to the teacher who broke up the fight, that the other kid was bullying him. And he was tired of being called names by his bully. So he stuck for himself. Isn’t that what I have been taught? To stand up for myself? But he had no answer. His fathers silence was clear. He had no answer either.
He wasn’t really in the mood for TV but he feared telling his father otherwise. He sat in silence, not focused on anything. He felt comfort in this nothingness because it distracted him from what he thought would be months of grounding. He st for what he thought was hours. Just zoning out.
As as he woke from his deep thought, his eyes opened and he felt calm. A clarity came to him. His answer had appeared.
His father was very calm when he came to talk to him. He remembered how relaxed he felt seeing him. As if his stillness brought relief to his thoughts. He had told him about a word called perspective. And that each person has there own way of seeing life. The boy hadn’t the faintest idea of what his father was trying to tell him. His mind unable to grasp a very large idea.
The father seemed to realize this. So he had given him a task to be completed by the end of the week. And at the end the boy would have to explain his idea of what he thought perspective meant.
After two days of trying to talk to his bully he had only gotten as far as getting his middle name. How was he supposed to learn about this persons life if that person just calls you stupid or pushes you when you ask if he wants to sit with you at lunch. Impossible he thought. This kid is just mean and unpleasant to be around. Why would his dad want him to befriend him?
When he got home he told his father his struggles he was having. Without skipping a beat he said ” A coconut is hard to crack. It’s milk so close yet so distant. To get threw the hard shell one must have patience. Trial and error to find the perfect method of opening the coconut. If he gives up he will never understand the taste of its milk. Will never have an understanding of why its shell is so tough. And why it protects what’s inside. But if the man is patient. He will know the taste. He will understand that just because the outside is tough and near unbreakable, doesn’t mean the inside will be the same. Something good is inside of your bully. Just like the coconut”
The next day the boy was clear minded. The story his father had told him had struck him to his core. He expected his dad used the coconut for a point because the boy loved them. And knew the struggle if trying to open one. So instead of viewing his bully as mean he thought of him as the coconut. With the hard shell. After two days of quickly asking a question and scurrying away at the instant of ridicule, the boy said nothing. Today he was merely watching.
He arrived to school early that in hopes of beating his bully there. He was sitting in the cafeteria watching from the window as the boy he was waiting for got off his bus. Yet instead of seeing a mean little kid, he saw a sad boy get off the bus. One with ragged clothes and frayed hair. His face no longer one of intimidation but one of pain. Just as the young boy was watching his bully in a whole new light; never seeing this side of the other boy, it faded quickly. The boy could see the bullies shell form near instantly. In an instant he saw the other boys walls form as soon as he stepped on school grounds. But the boy couldn’t comprehend why? Why was this kids walls so big and so angry?
After a long day of watching, the boys mind was racing. For he had no answers,just more questions. Just as he had been questioning why; a loud cry came from the parking lot. The boy raced to the scene with boyhood wonder. As he rounded the corner he saw his bully. But the tables were turned so to speak. The older boys were instead feeding him what he had fed the boy for years. Blow after blow, the bully turned from screaming to a disheartening cry for help. But no one came to his aide. He had burned enough bridges to travel the world. The boy felt an indescribable sadness overwhelm him. Without thought he jumped to aide the boy who took enjoyment from his pain.
It was his dad who had come to pick him up. For the second time this week he had gotten in trouble for fighting; which wasn’t good. His fear from the principle quickly shifted to his father sitting in the car, waiting. Once again the teachers didn’t care how or why, because fighting was not allowed. His bully was no where to be found. The last thing the boy saw of him was when he made eye contact as the teachers pulled everyone off each other. He had a look of sadness and bewilderment. Probably as shocked as the young boy was for even trying to help him. As he approached the car he caught a slight grin on his fathers face.
He sat in the back seat, puzzled. The bully; who sat in the front, was eerily quiet. His face beaten and bloodied; probably limiting his ability to talk, the boy thought. The car ride was silent except for the occasional question on which turn to take, as they navigated towards the bully’s house.
He knew his son saw what he needed to see. The coconut story must have struck home. The principle had told him what had happened; although they didn’t care, only seeing the altercation. He wasn’t planning on driving
As they approached the house, the son felt his heart drop. This was the bad part of town and he hadn’t ventured this far before. His eyes burned with sadness as he saw the living condiontions of his bully. A cr that must have been there longer than he wAs alive. Paint, almost non existent, showing faded wooden planks. He only saw one window that was fully entrant, the rest boarded up. As he surveyed the poor conditions, his eyes caught the other boy slump into his seat. Fear, he thought. This boy was scared. Before the boy could spek his father spoke up.
He cOuld feal what his son was feeling. The house wasn’t as he remembered, from the last time he stopped by. The fealing of fear and sadness wafted threw the car. Without thought he asked the boy if he’d like to spend the weekend with him and son. And withought a moment of passing the boy quickly replied with a yes that barely escaped his mouth.
The boys had a fun night. They played video games the whole time and it was filled with laughter and excitement. And he could hear them talking in the room before they went to sleep. Before he turned on the tv to try and relax after a long day, footsteps approached him. His son looked concerned as he slowly walked towards him, so he invited him to the porch to let him relive his thoughts.
The boy unloaded everything the “bully” told him that night. It wasn’t much but it wasn’t good. He told his father about the sadness he felt when he saw the boy eat, shoveling it as if it were his last meal. How the boy cried when he was offered a bed to sleep in, “the couch” on which he slept had lost its appeal years ago. And how quickly he changed the subject when it came to his father.
“You’ve heard the bad. Now what’s the good?” His father said quickly before his son lost track of his thoughts.
He paused. He hadn’t thought about that. So much negativity almost overshadowed the fun time he had had that night. “Well we had lots of fun. He’s pretty funny and even likes the same games I do!”
His father laughed. His son had finally broken the shell and realized,that just like the coconut, the inside was sweet. “I am very proud of you son. You see I knew his father when I was about your age. And just like your new friend, his father, was also not a very lovely boy. He to was was a bully; even getting me a couple times. As time went on nobody cared for him or showed him affection, causing him to become more and more aggressive. This went on for years till he messed up and got to sent to jail. We later found out his dad was beating him and his mother. But he never showed that pain. Only acting out what his mind had no answers for. When he got out of jail he got his long time girlfriend pregnant, and they had your new friend. His father had started drinking pretty regularly at the bar. Being a small town he gained a reputation of getting to drunk and causing trouble. Which has followed your friend to get bullied himself for have a drunk dad.”
” you see your friend isn’t a mean boy. He is simply acting out what his dad did years ago. He is stuck in a cycle of pain, anger, and confusion. He sees happy families like us and feels pain because he doesn’t know what that feels like. He did not ask for his childhood to be like this, nor does he know why his father is like he is.”
“This is why I presented you with this challenge. IF NO ONE BREAKS THAT CYCLE then who’s to say when he gets older he won’t put his child threw his childhood. You see he wasn’t trying to hurt you, he was acting out what life has presented him with. He is stuck in cycle that no one sees. And if no one helps break it the The cycle goes on forever.”
Ten years later he sat at the table for thanksgiving dinner. Looking at the father and son that had helped him all those years ago. He was expecting a son in a month and had a question that he needed to ask. What better way to say thank you to someone who pulled you from the darkness, than ask them to be apart of your child’s life forever. “So we are looking for godparents, and there’s no one else that deserves this more than the family that saved me”