Monday, June 23, 2008

Missing Wings

The little boy didn't look different than other little boys, with his dark hair and hazel eyes. He didn't act different than other boys, with his love for trucks and all things that went "vrooommm." If someone had lined up all the little boys in the city next to each other and asked you to pick out the one who was different, no one would pick him.

But he was different. Very different. For the little boy had two marks on the backs of his shoulder blades. Two big pink smudges that were about the size of his mother's palm. It wasn't a sunburn and it wasn't a birthmark.

When people asked the little boy where the marks came from, he would simply look up at them and smile. "They're from my wings," he would say, blinking at them as though everyone had big pink marks on their back.

"Your wings?" Normally, people couldn't shut their mouths at this point. They would gape at him like an idiot, stuttering and sputtering.

"Yes." The little boy smiled the same smile each time. "I seem to have lost them. Do you know where they are?"

But no one knew where they were. No one even knew what kind of wings he had. Were they feathered or were they a thin gossamer, like dragonfly wings? Were they fuzzy or were they smooth? Did they swoop like a bird's wings or hum like a bee's? Maybe they weren't even real wings. Maybe they were fairy wings or dragon wings or wings belonging to some other mystical creature.

The little boy didn't know what his wings looked like either. And that was the problem. How could you find something if you didn't know what you were looking for?

At first, it was easy for the little boy to ignore the pink spots on his back. But one day after he turned 10 years old, they began to itch. No matter how hard he scratched, they itched and burned. His skin felt like caterpillars with feet of fire were crawling across his back. He'd rub against trees and scrape rulers across his skin. His mother would rub thick salves, lotions and creams into his skin several times a day. Nothing helped. His skin burned and itched so badly he thought it would fall off his back.

One night, as he scratched and itched and wiggled, it came to him. He had to find his wings. He had no idea where they were and no idea what they looked like. But he knew that if he did not find them, his torment would not end.

So the next day, with his backpack full of clothes instead of books, he kissed his mother goodbye and set off to find his wings. He hadn't gotten halfway down the street when a man with a thick beard and bushy eyebrows stepped into his path.

"Galen?" he asked.

The little boy shook his head. "I'm sorry, my name is Bryant."

"No, it's not." The man smiled and shook his head. "It's Galen."

"I think I know my own name," Bryant said, his voice full of irritation. "Excuse me." He stepped around the man and continued down the sidewalk. The man waited a few moments then called out, "So, Galen, found your wings yet?"

Bryant whirled around, his eyes wide. "Who are you?"

The man just smiled.

To be continued.....