A Story


Little Eric telephoned The Red Man to tell him that he was angry that day. Jacob stole his ball, he said, and he would never forgive him. Mother always told him to be nice to others and to forgive and forget. But how could he forgive someone who had been so mean? It must take a lot of courage to forgive, and even more to forget. Maybe only the monks from temples high up in the mountains could do that, or maybe really holy priests from the Vatican could do that. Even if someone forgave someone else, he thought, he couldn’t possibly forget. How can you forget someone you wanted to remember? And even if you did forget, it would only be a certain amount of time before your brain recollects the information again when something reminds you of the mean thing that person did to you and it would all come rushing back. “Then” Little Eric said, “you would be angry all over again”.

The next day, Little Eric called The Green Man to complain to him about favoritism.  But of course, Little Eric did not know what favoritism meant. Instead, he told The Green Man that it was unfair that his mother treated his elder brother Anthony better because he was older and possibly made less mistakes. “But it’s not my fault!” Little Eric exclaimed. It wasn’t his fault if he was born later and did not know as many things as Anthony knew. It wasn’t his fault that he was too afraid to walk back from school on his own even though it was only a few blocks away. And he could not possibly be blamed for having less strength than Anthony to carry grocery bags into the house. They were heavy, and only made him feel small and weak because Anthony could carry 3 bags of groceries with his arms but Eric could only manage a small plastic bag filled with apples. It was mighty unfair, Eric thought. If he had a choice he would choose to be born first or maybe be a single child. But mother had slapped him for even harbouring that thought. “You should be glad you have a brother.” She said. ” At least there’s someone to protect you once we’ve gone”. Little Eric cried at the thought of this, because he could not bear to think that his parents would disappear someday. And it made his head hurt to think of where they would go, and how they would go, and how he himself would go away one day too. Plus, to him, it was still unfair that Anthony got all the attention. He wanted some of it too.

Little Eric rang up The Blue Man a fortnight later to tell him how much the sea and sky reminded him of him. “You have the same blue eyes” Eric mused, trying to imagine himself with blue eyes instead of the hazel he had all his life. His mother had hazel eyes as well, but his dad had piercing green eyes. Like emerald or jade. Anthony had green eyes. When dad got mad, his green eyes would sparkle, but not in a friendly way, because his nostrils would flare up too. And his father’s cheeks would turn red trying to control his temper. His eyes were beautiful, even when he was angry, but scary at the same time, Little Eric thought. “Because those eyes could capture you and make you afraid, but you did not know what the person was actually thinking.” It was terrifying to stare at green eyes, yet attractive all the same. “There’s a difficult word to describe this”, Eric told The Blue Man, but at the moment he just could not recall it. It was okay though, because it was comforting to think of the colours on a human body. If you were angry your face might turn red, and if you were sick you would turn a sickly white or beige, depending on how dark your skin colour was. There are many people around the world with different coloured skin, sometimes dark or light or inbetween. That is why there is such a thing as racism, which was a word used to describe people who did not like other people based on their race or possibly skin colour. It was bad to be racist, because, Little Eric concluded, “We may look different on the outside, having different skin colours and eye colours and so on, but we all have a heart and the digestive system I learned about in Science class.” It is just like animals, he reasoned. “There are so many of them in the zoo: tigers, lions, birds, otters, bears, parrots, snakes and mice. But they were all animals and belonged to the web of life.”

It made Little Eric’s head hurt to think of so many things, but he was glad, because he liked the feeling of wondering about things. Maybe that is how Robinson Crusoe felt when he wanted to sail across the oceans to explore and discover. Little Eric felt sorry for The Blue Man though, because The Blue Man could only see blue and was not concerned with other colours. It was easy to focus solely on one colour, but he reckoned it was quite a boring life. And Eric felt sorry for him because he would never know how beautiful a rainbow looked against the sky.


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