Craft By Zen

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Memoir: Part 4

“Lenny, come to my room, now,” Dwaine ordered.

Lenny, who was shaking as much as a coffee addict, slowly stepped towards his father’s voice into a room much like one in which prisoners are interrogated. Each step created a small creaking sound that was magically amplified to increase the suspense. Lenny stopped in front of his dad in a mournful position, bowing his head down, not in any deference to his father, but for the shame and dishonor he had. His dad shut the door, leaving me alone to wonder. What am I going to do? I asked myself silently. A few moments later, I heard whipping and whacking noises as well as violent screams coming from the other side of the door. One could describe this event as a fatal beating, but I can tell you it was far worse. This was the ass whopping moment of the century. Lenny’s cries and shrieks stopped after his father yelled his final contentious words.

“Now Lenny, if I ever, and I mean ever, catch you stealing again, then you will never see the light of day,” the voice of a barbarous, yet didactic parent said.

Lenny left the room and went straight to the restroom to ease his pain. I knew that my turn was coming. Dwaine approached me and began to speak in a softer, gentler voice that cooed like a bird.

“I know that Lenny is manipulative and allows people to fall for his mistakes. I am not going to tell your parents, Jeremy. I know you would never do this if you had never met Lenny. You’re a good kid, and Lenny has to pay for his crimes,” Dwaine said.

My life had taken an unexpected turn. I was dumbfounded; my mind couldn’t wrap around Dwaine’s words. I was terribly confused at what Dwaine was saying. His reasoning, just as Lenny’s was, in a way, garbled. A part of me accepted his logic as truth and allowed the situation to be as if nothing had happened, but like a back itch, this did not feel right at all. I spent another night over and I woke up to the sound of wood chopping. Lenny was outside, busy with his axe, working his muscles. I rushed outside to see what was going on.

“What are you doing Lenny? Did your dad ask you to chop wood?” I asked.

“No, I’m chopping wood for the winter,” He responded in monotone.

I sat down and watched Lenny struggle at each piece of wood. Lenny was not that great at lying. I knew Lenny to be very disobedient to his parents, but it all seemed like Lenny grew submissive upon his parent’s orders. My mouth was wired shut, so I was reticent and didn’t even try to talk to Lenny. His dad came outside with a robe and slippers a while later.

“Lenny, what are you doing outside? You’re grounded remember?” Dwaine said with a thunderous voice.

“You told me to chop wood, remember?” Lenny yelled.

“Well, it’s cold outside. You better go inside where I can see you.” Dwaine was purposely being despotic to gain back control over Lenny.

“I don’t care what you’re saying now, dad. I’m staying outside,” Lenny replied.

I walked inside in an attempt to stop myself from getting into some useless commotion. Both Lenny and Dwaine were idiots because neither could convince the other that their path of choice was right –both stubborn in their beliefs on the true values of life itself. I knew that Dwaine would keep his word by denying my part on the matter of what happened at Fry’s. There was nothing to worry about, nothing to fear anymore. And I moved forward, just as life moves on. Lenny continued to yell at his father, even louder as the wind picked up.

Back in the house, I went into the restroom and gazed at myself in the mirror. The reflection looked peaceful, yet the face couldn’t stop its head from shaking. I spit into the sink and then washed my mouth. I splashed water in my face and then wiped it off with a towel. I looked up again and stared at myself. There was nothing in my reflection and I couldn’t stop but feel neutral. Simply neutral. Nothing had happened and nothing ever changed. Sure, I learned a lesson, but I no longer have any opposition for what I did. It never occurred to me ever again.