“Hey, son. Do you mind if I come in?” His dad peered from the door.
Little Jim sat up straight on his bed, “Sure.”
His dad sat on his bed and placed his hand on Jim’s right leg. He looked at what’s beside his son’s right leg: nothing. He then stared straight at Jim’s eyes and said, “Son, you are still young. You’re just seven years old. I’m sorry about what happened with-“
“I’m okay,” little Jim dryly replied. His dad let out a sigh, “Fine. But I just came here to tell you a bedtime story. Is that okay?” Jim said nothing and smiled. He laid himself on the bed again and his father tucked him in under the sheets.
His father began to tell his story:
“Once, there was this amicable elephant who got along well with everybody. However, one day, his trunk got cut in half when a huge tree fell on him. Luckily, he survived, but there’s a catch. His trunk was now shorter than everyone else’s trunk.”
Jim said nothing, and his dad continued his story.
“The once amicable elephant turned sour. He didn’t know why such a bad thing happened to him. He wore his precious talisman day and night, and yet, it still couldn’t protect him from the bad things in life. What happened to him was a mystery. He didn’t know how the tree fell, or who caused it. What he knows is that all his friends in the forest: the birds, the weasels, the alligators, the tigers and the lions, everyone made fun of him. Even when the elephant went to the salon where his family often goes to, he was ridiculed, because he had no trunk to even help him drink his water.”
“Sure,” Jim said. “Because he looks like a freak now.”
His dad paused for a moment, but went on with his story.
“So, the elephant went to the graveyard, where you can see all the bones of his ancestors and their ancestors. He was ready to die. But then, there was this crow who feasts on dead elephants. When he saw the young elephant without a trunk, he flew to him and said, ‘Why are you here? You’re too young to die. I see old elephants come here to rest forever, but you… You’re not too old!'”
His dad continued, “And so the elephant told the crow everything that happened to him: the accident, his friends’ mockery, everything.”
His dad stopped talking. Little Jim said nothing for a while, but then, he talked, “And then what?”
“And then you tell me what happened next,” his dad said. “What do you think happened to the crow and to the elephant?”
“Maybe the crow laughed at him, too?” Jim said.
“Do you think the crow is laughing at the elephant right now?” His dad said in a serious tone.
Jim was the one who sighed this time. “Maybe the elephant just doesn’t know whom to trust anymore. All his close friends, and some of his family and cousins looked at him with pity. Some laughed. Some sympathized him, but it’s so annoying!” Jim couldn’t help but shout, “It’s like, I can’t go and live a normal life anymore! They don’t know what it’s like to walk with one foot. I can’t run anymore! I can’t play basketball anymore! I can’t-“
Jim suddenly stopped. He was holding back his tears. His dad didn’t move an inch, even though he wanted to hug his little son so badly, to tousle Jim’s soft hair, but he knew his son interpreted that as some way of pitying him, and Jim was such a strong kid, he doesn’t want anyone to pity him.
“You know,” his father began. “You said the elephant doesn’t trust anyone, but the elephant definitely told the crow what he was really feeling deep inside.”
Jim wiped his tears away, “Yeah… He did…”
“You know what I think?” His dad asked. “I think the crow and the elephant became best friends.” He smiled at his son, and his son weakly smiled back at him.
“Go to bed, my little elephant.”
“Goodnight, dad,” Jim finally replied.
– – –
His dad went down the stairs to meet his wife who was making herself a cup of tea in the middle of the night.
“Hey. I’ve heard some intense shouting up there,” his wife said anxiously. “He just lost his leg and he’s just a kid! What were you thinking, Jeremy?”
“Relax, Amanda. Jim was just letting off steam.”
“And how were you able to do that?” Amanda asked. “Ever since the accident, he had his feelings bottled up. He wouldn’t even say a thing about it.”
“What I only did was tell him a story about himself,” Jeremy said. “This was his ‘elephant’s graveyard.'” Jeremy put a small bottle on the counter.
“These are my sleeping pills. They’ve been missing since yesterday,” Amanda said. “Where did you get this?”
“In Jim’s drawer,” Jeremy replied. “He must’ve taken it from your bag. He’s very smart. He knows what this bottle can do.”
Amanda looked horrified at the thought. “What should we do?!” she gasped.
“Don’t worry,” Jeremy said as he hugged his wife. “All we need to do is to be there for him.”
(I think I wrote too much @_@)