Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Favourite Sound

Rufus wakes me by pushing his dog food bowl across the tiled floor. The sound is meant to create a pavlovian response; I can almost feel him smile as I prepare his breakfast.

After breakfast I head to the bathroom for my morning shower and the sound of water falling into water. The note deepens as the floor pan fills.

As we leave the house the front door knocker bounces, brass on brass, and the door clicks closed behind me.

Then there’s the coffee shop. Tapping, grinding and steaming all merge together into one word. If you translated that word into English it would be a hearty ‘good morning!’ Some days it’s so loud I put my hands over my ears. The barista laughs at me; a warm friendly espresso laugh.

I sit outside the café and slowly sip my morning coffee. Nearby people rustle the business pages and talk in serious morning tones. Rufus sits quietly at my feet. He likes biscotti and eats it open mouthed for full crunch effect.

The pedestrian crossing buzzer sounds like a crazy cartoon creature. Rufus leads the way and people swish past us noiselessly.

Automatic openers rattle glass doors. Voices echo in the foyer and hard heels clip and clop on marble floors.

A pleasant ding. Rufus and I head up to 8, three dots, I’m already thinking about work. People are quiet in the elevator but you can still hear then.

The receptionist says a polite “hello” to me and a gusty “Hi there fella” to Rufus. We head into my office.

And there it is; the source of my favourite sound – my Braille writer. I love the snap it makes as it creates. I put on my headphones and transcribe.

There’s nothing like reading a good book in silence.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Black Marketeer

Selling arms to the enemy isn’t strictly legal but war covers over a multitude of sins. The company I was working for was selling to both sides of the market and making a killing.

My wife and I were not given to excess but we lived well in war time, better than most anyway. My extra income meant we had more time together; often we would walk along the beach as the sun went down.

“The clouds are red ribbons.” She was particularly pensive that evening.

“You love ribbons,” I replied, glad she had finally spoken.

There was silence for awhile and then she said suddenly, “Do you ever think of the dead?”

“To be honest I try not too. This is war; people die.”

She was quiet as we made our way back to the car.

I knew what she was thinking and frankly I couldn’t bear the idea that she thought ill of me. We had enough money to make it through the war and so I decided to retire.

The next day I told my boss I was leaving the business. He responded by threatening me, saying that if I ever exposed the racket he would destroy me.

“I just want to retire in peace,” I replied calmly.

I raced home, eager to tell my wife the news.

The front door was open and I heard a burst of gun fire – you can tell a lot about a weapon from its sound.

And she was dead, of course she was dead.

Selling arms to the enemy isn’t strictly legal but war covers over a multitude of sins.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Truth of the Orb

How it came to be referred to as the ‘Orb’ is not known. What is known, what is oft repeated, is how the Orb came into my father’s possession.

The story starts with a journey; a pilgrimage to a distant land.

“The land where legends are born,” my father would say with a faraway look in his eye.

My father bought a ticket and crossed the ocean. He crossed alone and in silence keeping his distance from other pilgrims making the same voyage. He chose to believe that his path was the only true path. This wasn’t a game for him. This was his life, his passion, his one belief. This was his only goal.

“A goal makes all the difference son – always remember that.”

My father marched from landfall to towns centre. He blocked out the chanting and praying that filled the air. He ignored the trinket sellers that accosted him at every footstep.

“Faith isn’t a song or a toy son. Faith is food for the soul.”

The crowd was surging towards the holy ground and my father was dragged along in the flow.

Once there he prayed with uplifted arms and tears in his eyes. And as he prayed a shrill whistle pierced the silence and the Orb flew through the air straight into his hands; a gift from God himself.

Now the Orb sits in a shrine in a small corner of our house. Father says that one day it will all be mine. But, to be honest, I’m more of a rugby man.