The boy in the crate

by Aristianna Voureka

 

He was unsure whether he had done was the right thing, even though it was not his choice…even though he was not the one who made the terms of the deal; he couldn’t help but revisit the long lost memory where he shoved the poor weak boy inside that crate. He may not have been the man behind the vengeful lesson, yet he had done someone else’s dirty job. That made him as dirty as the man inside the big aristocratic house. Since then, he had watched over the little boisterous creature as he whither’d away like a sad flower.

And once more he found himself looking from the old, rusty window to find his adrenaline level rising, observing again the stubborn boy, who had now grown to be almost a man. You’d think not much would have changed inside those four walls, but Alonso knew better. He had seen the little creature whither and had seen him sprout again into an evolved creation every man would aim for. Carefully studying him from the window, he saw the boy lying on the bed throwing his baseball up in the air and later caching it again. He had done that since he was first imprisoned to fulfill the terms of the deal. The first years were filled with anger and stubbornness; and so the baseball would restlessly smack the white ceiling, unraveling the weakling’s desire to have the rotten walls collapse. Later though, as he started to evolve, the baseball stopped to aimlessly hit the ceiling and instead stopped mid-air to fall back at his long thin hand. As Alonso studied him, he had seen how the weakling mastered the art of throwing and had a calm expression on his face rather than the old childish one.

With a sigh, Alonso slowly backed away from the dusty window and walked back towards his roses. He remembered when the boy had decided to study physics on his fifth year of imprisonment. He slowly read through his textbooks and tested himself for definitions, yet soon enough lost his patience and shrieked out the definitions aloud, as if his mind magically engulfed the higher noted answer. Once Alonso heard the boy testing himself on what he thought to be one of Newton’s Laws. He heard the young troublemaker repeat over and over again, “every action has and equal and opposite reaction”. Slowly with time, the volume of the definition increased and the boy was found once again shrieking…when suddenly he stopped. Alonso remembered clearly how that had caught his attention. He moved away from the roses, back towards the window. When he looked inside, the boy was whispering the same exact definition in a state of epiphany! He was looking blankly towards one of the walls when he suddenly shot up, which made Alonso flinch and go back to his beauties. That was the first time he had questioned the boy’s sanity.

Returning from his flashback, Alonso smiled, yet one of the roses had cut his finger. Mother Nature stung him for his enjoyment of his sad reflections of the weakling. “Mierda” he mumbled, as the blood gushed out from his index finger. He quickly removed his other glove, and stood up with his finger in his mouth. Then he made his way to the aristocratic house of “Monstruo” as he called him. It was Spanish for monster and Alonso thought it suit him perfectly. Monstruo was the man behind the deal, the man that got Alonso’s hands dirty and full of guilt, also known as Mr. Bauer.

Entering the back door of the house, ghosts of the past danced around Alonso. The house was no longer filled with the light of day but with shimmering candlelight and old chandeliers. It was the night Monstruo had thrown that party. People gushed in from the front and back doors to join the others in the ballroom. The house had always been a pleasant sight but now it glowed. Guests from the city had come to join one of the famous Bauer parties. On these special nights, Alonso often chose to leave since the Spanish gardener never received the ‘good’ type of attention. However on this specific night, Mr. Bauer had asked him to stay. And so Alonso dragged his legs around the house and at some point even found enjoying himself the dancing bodies that filled the old structure.

Mr. Bauer wasn’t particularly old, however his taste had always added him in years. In such a fast moving century, he was the only person who chose a book over a computer, a candle over a lamp or even some solitude over a wild party. He wasn’t married and didn’t have any kids and that seemed to be his only regret. And so every summer he would break the loneliness of the old house with a rather ‘loud’ party. People from the buzzing city rushed in, their sparkling outfits, mini-tempting skirts, the loud music, laughter and most of all such careless drinking. It was an odd sensation to have such music, sounding like a bad car accident, stretch out from the house, yet this was one the beauties of the Bauer parties. People joined them because they were different. Time caught up with the people, the old mysticism about the house, Mr. Bauer, it all urged people into bets and even fights.

The poor weakling also decided to join the loud crowd on this evening. He was boisterous and confident, dressed like every other rich teenager, flirting here and there, drinking and even calling for fights. He had come rather late and so the alcohol had turned him into a dick-head (for lack of a better word). Monstruo didn’t take well to impolite people; he was used to a different century, where pride was above one’s selfish needs. He had grown up in an aristocratic German family with strict rules and expectations, and so the young boy was a disgraceful sight to him. They had an unwelcome conversation which built up to the bet.

Mr. Bauer had challenged the young boy into a life like his, however with more strict rules. The boy would have to spend seven years in the old cabin at the far corner of his field, alone. He was not to have any device from this century. All he would have was a baseball, for amusement, and the light of candles. He could request old books. The food was to be of Mr. Bauer’s choice and not of the boy’s, which meant old fashioned boiled plates. No music, no human contact, and most of all no clocks. If the boy managed to spend those seven years in the old cabin, Monstruo would repay him with his wealth, as he had no other person to pass it on to. Yet that was the least expected from the boy…Monstruo was convinced the cocky creature wouldn’t last a day. And so the loud music, his intoxicated mind, the girls nearby watching all led him into the deal. He had agreed. That was how Alonso…he himself being possessed by the drinks, shoved the boy into the small, squeaky cabin.

“We all had doubted him and now he is a few hours from his freedom,” the gardener thought to himself. Alonso was asked by Mr. Bauer to fetch the boy, but he was scared of this…not because he felt ashamed, even though that was part of it, but because he wasn’t sure of how the weakling would react. For all his childhood, he had learned to strive behind time. He had missed out on new inventions and was far from modern society. Going back to the dazzling restless city would be a challenge. But the boy had proved to be a worthy adaptor and fast learner.

As the night approached, Monstruo called to Alonso and told him it was time to free the young adult; he was a man of his word after all. As the small Spanish man approached the copper door of the cabin, his hands were shivering. When he opened the door, he saw the young boy sitting by a candle staring out of the little window. He didn’t seem very surprised, and to be honest what soon came after surprised Alonso way more. The boy had denied leaving! He didn’t even bother to turn and face Alonso; instead, he asked him to give a letter to Monstruo. Alonso wanted to protest yet decided he had done enough already to have the little weakling hate him forever and so followed through on his request.

Entering the main house and going up the stairs, his hands started burning. He found himself slowly reading the handsome letter.

Dear Mr. Bauer,

Clocks have not ticked around me for a long time and neither have the chords of someone’s voice, that is why I decided to send you this letter for it would be easier for me to explain what I am about to say. I am not sure if you have forgotten me, yet I must confess I wouldn’t be as bothered if you had. I have come to love the company of myself and I no longer care of what the rest of the world has to say about me…for I have explored myself more than any other person has through his entire life. I have also come to understand you tried to make this as difficult as you could for me, as the food got sourer every day and not another single party was thrown after I was accommodated in this house; and I want to thank you for that. I have come to love my beholder…this crate. Mr. Bauer, you did not imprison me…you freed me, you freed me from the rush we live in, from the disrespect. If I had known earlier how ironic life was…that it takes a crate to become a free man, I wouldn’t have waited this long. I can never thank the universe enough for driving me to your singing house that night for I am convinced this is where I had always belonged. A wise saying says “you stop being a child when you know exactly what you want to do in your future”. If that is so, then Dear Sir, I am glad to say I am no longer a kid. In my studies in this cozy cabin, I stumbled upon a long read Law…Newton’s “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. One does not really contemplate the true meaning of this law in school, for we just take what we are served. But thanks to you I did. Your baseball, the physics books…they showed me we are not far from objects. Therefore we too have similar laws applied on us. I believe Newton’s Law isn’t only true in a physical way but in a mental way. For when you push a wall, the wall pushes back in the same amount of force, revealing that what you give, you take. The harder I throw my baseball into the air, reactively, the harder it lands back in my hand. So I kindly request, as noble man to noble man, if the terms of our deal may to be changed; if for instead of my freedom and wealth, I get to stay here among you in this heaven of yours. As I want to be granted what I give, and I have now come to understand that the only way to truly get in return what I want is to stay here, with you.

I apologize for my attitude that fateful day and I do not understand how it is you repaid me with such nobility. I believe it was a miracle, regarding I was an exception when it comes to the laws of physics. Thank you. I owe you all I have.

Yours faithfully,

Adam 

Taking his eyes off the letter, Alonso was already at the top of the stairs when a tear rolled down his cheek. He joyfully exclaimed, “El loco encontró a su compañero!” and searched headlong for the bright Mr. Bauer.

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