Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Prodigal

Do you ever make up stories about people you don't know? I do it all the time. I'm not talking about gossip or slander, but I do fabricate entire histories to help me feel better about certain people.

For instance, let's say that a man (yes, it's a man because everyone knows men can't drive) cuts me off or stops short. This is where my imagination kicks in, and I start to wonder why he did what he did. Maybe his mind is elsewhere because his mother is in the intensive care unit and dying of some rare blood disease. Now he's rushing to his daughter's school. The little girl apparently fell from the monkey bars and broke several vertebrae. His wife is unavailable having tragically died in childbirth, so he's been called. He's also about to lose his job manufacturing incandescent lightbulbs now that they're illegal. With all this happening, it's no wonder he can't concentrate on his driving.

See how it's done? Without a shred of road rage, I've killed or maimed three of his family members and destroyed his livelihood. However, I also feel really bad for the guy. Honestly, how could a person not feel sympathetic?

Today, I was pulling into the Shop Rite parking lot and saw a young man approach an older gentleman. I then witnessed the older man give the younger one a quarter. Next, the young man walked up to my car and explained that he was trying to catch the bus and asked if I could give him fifty cents. He looked rough, but he was exceptionally polite and clear-eyed. I gave him the fifty cents. Then he headed toward someone else.

Now I've never even seen a public bus in this neck of the woods. I don't even know if we have a bus system here. This made me wonder. Exactly which bus was he trying to catch? Where was he going? How was he reduced to his present situation? What destination could be worth the effort of collecting small change from complete strangers in a parking lot, in the rain?

Frankly, I don't care to speculate about most of those questions, but in my mind, I have the answer to the last one. I can think of only one place worth such trouble, worth swallowing one's pride for. He must be going Home.

The Prodigal Son Returns
by Soichi Watanabe

And the son said... ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.


Jodi said... [Reply]

Julie, this is great. Why don't you add it to the Imperfect Prose community? You can get to it by clicking on the button on my blog. The girl who runs it is Emily Wierenga.

Julie said... [Reply]

Glad you like it, Jodi! And thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out. :-)

emily wierenga said... [Reply]

loved this. so glad you shared with imperfect prose, friend! peace to you this easter. e.

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said... [Reply]

Yes my mom and I like making stories about people. But we usually don't kill off their relatives! It's usually diarrhea or a wife in labor that makes someone drive recklessly! And yes making stories, helps us b e more understanding of people, not judging. Patsy from

Joybird said... [Reply]

I'm just reading along, quietly chuckling to myself, giggling away at your whimsy when that last sentence comes flying out and peirces my heart. In a wonderful way. Home. Lovely.

Julie said... [Reply]

@Hands to Work, Hearts to God
Diarrhea! That's funny! I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who rains down woe on others. :-)
I agree with you -- being more understanding, not judging -- that's huge!

Julie said... [Reply]

@emily wierenga Thank you, Emily, for your compliments, and thank you for creating such a wonderful community of writers and readers! Easter blessings to you and yours also!

Julie said... [Reply]

I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. It means a lot to me to hear that. :-)

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