The Faces That Haunt Me

Yesterday, on the way to work, I saw a very disturbing scene. A few cars in front of me, a motorcycle had nipped the corner of a car (an old car at that). Out of the car rose a tall and rather big man who was obviously mad. He walked over to the motorcycle driver, started shouting at him, punch him, push him and his bike to the ground, and pummel him some more.

No one stopped him.

Not even I.

There were traffic officers standing a few steps away, and there were drivers and passengers in cars waiting for the traffic to move, bot no one helped him.

I remember driving past the guy on the motorcycle. He seemed jarred. Who wouldn’t be? Who expects to get beaten up at 9am when driving to work?

I remember his face. I remember it well. I remember his face along with the other faces that have marked my life. The homeless man Angelito, the face of a kid in the squatters of Shaw that I saw when I was 6 years old, and the other faces of people I’ve hurt – even the ones I was supposed to have loved. I remember these faces, their eyes, their smiles, or frowns, their tears, their souls exposed…

There is so much pain in the world. There is so much hurt. I’m haunted by the fact: I have caused so much of both.

The Storm Symphony

He stood defiantly on the rocks. A young boy with a paper crown on his head, humming to himself while waving a wand wildly, “Pum p-p-p-pum! P-p-p pum pum pum pum! Pum p-p-p-pum! P-p-p pum pum pum pum!”

Come in, they say,
The sky darkens,
The rain falls,
The waves crash,
The storm has come,
Come in.

Can’t you feel the pouring?
Or hear the sound of thunder?
Can’t you feel the shaking?
Are you not afraid?
Come in, boy
Come in and be safe.

The shadow will take you,
And the lightning will cut you down.
The cliffs will tear you to pieces,
And the sea will swallow you whole.
Come in, boy
Come in and be safe.

Who will fault your fearing?
Have we not run for cover?
But to face the squall is to fail,
And you will be the fool.
Come in, boy
Come in and be safe.

Nay! He says.
Finally!
The band’s all here!
The orchestra’s complete!

So the sky got darker,
And the rain fell harder,
The waves crashed louder,
The storm grew stronger

The boy felt the pouring,
And he heard the thunder.
He felt the shaking,
But he did not fear.

When light came back,
And the rain stopped.
When the waves fell silent,
And the storm died down.
The boy,
He was never seen again.

Maybe the shadow took him,
Or maybe lightning did strike.
Maybe the cliffs tore him to pieces,
Or maybe the sea swallowed him whole.
And to the world,
He was a fool.

But when the days grow dark,
And the rains return,
Through the deafening waves and storms,
A child laughs,
As he takes his place,
To lead the storm symphony.