When I was about seven or eight,
I would walk on a wooded trail behind our house.
The trail lead to a secluded pond,
And next to the pond sat a giant old tree stump,
It served as my bench and my drawing desk.
Twenty years later,
I reminisce those times,
And wished I was at that age again.
Free from financial worries,
Free from my miserable job,
Free from the harsh realities of the world.
I made the decision to go back there,
In search for a minute of serenity.
Back to a time I was naive and full of dreams.
As I began my journey,
Things all around me become more and more familiar,
And less and less foreign.
The trees still overshadow me,
And the forest still consumes me,
Like they did once when I was a boy.
I crossed the log I used many times as a bridge,
And passed the creepy owl that once use to scare me.
As I arrive to the pond,
I am shocked that I am not the only one here.
All these years,
I thought I was the only one that knew about this pond.
It was my safe spot from the world,
And now it seems I share it with another.
I stare at him,
And he stares at me.
He is a young boy,
And in his hands is a sketch book.
In mine, is a notepad.
He wore a blue and grey striped shirt,
Like the one I used to own.
He smiles at me,
As if he already knew me.
And I smiled back.
I sat by the edge of the pond.
With my pen and a notepad.
And sat there as I pondered on my next piece.
“What’s that in your hands” he asked me.
I told him I was a writer.
And that I did it on my spare time.
“Are you any good?” He asked
“I like to believe so” I replied to him.
I asked him what was he drawing?
He flipped his sketch book towards me.
It was a drawing of the forest.
The pond was towards the lower right of the sketch,
And a deer was the main focal point.
It was the exact same drawing my mother had hanging in her room.
I told him it looked amazing,
And to give it his mother as a gift.
“I’m sure she’d love it” I said.
And I returned back to my writing.
“Do you draw?” He asked me.
“No, I stopped in order to work”
“Well, that sucks, because I love to draw.” He said.
“I know” I replied.
“Sometimes you don’t get to do what you want in life.
You just do what you have to.” I told him.
He looked at me puzzled.
“Why don’t you do both?”
“Sometimes what you like doing just doesn’t pay enough”
Ecstatically, he reached into his pocket
And pulled out a five dollar bill.
“Here, so you can take a day off”
His face radiated with glee
And his kind gesture touched my soul.
With a smile, I took the money and told him I would.
He began to draw some more,
As I stared at a blank notepad.
With nothing to write,
I turned my curiosity back to him.
“So do you have any friends?” I asked.
Without taking his eyes off his sketch book, he replied
“Nope, I don’t really have any friends,
Thats why I enjoy coming here to draw”
I remembered now.
I didn’t have any friends until maybe middle school.
“Don’t worry” I told him
“God puts the right people at the right time when you need them the most”
He smiled at the thought of that.
“What about you? Do you have any friends?” He asked
I thought about this a bit before I responded back.
Truth was yes and no.
I had a few friends.
Most of them I hadn’t seen or spoken to in awhile.
The only people I spoke to during the day were people associated with my business.
People that their only loyalty to were to their money and themselves.
Nothing close to what you would call a friend.
But I had a fiancé.
I didn’t have any kids but I had her.
She is my world and she is my everything.
“I have a few friends” I replied.
“But I also have a fiancé”
His face lid up
“You’re married?” He asked
“Not yet. But I will be. And I can’t wait until I am.
She is the most amazing woman I know
And someday, you will have an amazing wife too. Just watch”
He laughed at the thought about him getting married.
“Im ok” he said
“I still have a lot of growing up to do before I do”
You sure do, I thought.
“See, heres my ring.” I said as I showed him it
“Technically I am not suppose to wear it until I get married
But I want to show the world Im happily taken.”
He looked at it and smiled.
“Like I said, God puts the right people in your life”
We continued to talk.
We talked about his his other hobbies,
His mother who he loved very much,
And the girl he had a crush on at school.
I told him to always respect his mother,
Even when it got hard.
To follow his dreams,
And never give up drawing.
I also gave him some lessons on talking to the girl in school.
Dusk began to fall
“I have to go, before my mother gets worried.” He said
I told him to go before it got dark.
He thanked me and said
“For the first time, I know what its like to have a friend”
I told him “Buddy, I may not see you for awhile,
But know you’ve made a friend for life.”
We said our good byes and he left.
Before I left,
I sat on the tree stump,
With my notepad on my lap
And began to write.
I wrote to him:
I came to this pond today in search of hope and
encouragement and you helped me more than you can imagine. The world is yours to conquer. Continue to draw and follow your dreams because the world will one day be your canvas. Remember what I told you and remember you have a friend for life.
Heres a gift for you because I know you will want that gameboy when it comes out. Just trust me on this.”
I took out the five dollars he gave me
and took out an additional hundred dollars
and placed it with the note.
I placed the note between a crack in the tree stump,
Where I knew he’d find it.
I packed my stuff and headed out the trail.
As I approached the end of the trail,
I could see an old man coming out his car.
He had a book pack on and camping supplies.
In one hand he had a lantern,
That illuminate his whole body.
He looked older than me
About twenty years older
And I could see he had a wedding ring on.
The same one I had on.