An American Parable

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Thereupon moving he was informed by the local government, that he was required to help his neighbor renovate his home as a part of gaining citizenship to the country. He reluctantly agreed although the policy sounded suspicious the wheels had already been set turning by him moving his entire family there. Maroon was perturbed because the abuse began on the first day. He had yet to learn to speak and read the language fluently, but the vitriol with which abuse was hurled in his direction was easy to translate. His return home each evening became a more and more dejected process that slowly sapped his pride like the water that leaks from a hastily built dam. For this was not child’s play and required a complete gutting of the house. The newly minted “master” was not kind in any way and would relish describing the free helper as lazy and destitute. Even the neighbor would love to learn more skills but was relegated to the mundane work of destroying old walls and watching as new ones went back in their place. Sunup to sundown each day the work stretched on into months and Maroon at times would sleep there as to prove he was committed to the project.

The longer he stayed away the greater the chance there would be a frustrated spouse waiting for him as he finally arrived home. The yelling would pierce the darkness and send all of their children scattering for the hills uncertain of the devil that had gotten into their father following the cross country move. He was exceedingly irritable so many learned to stay out of His way permanently. Youngest to oldest became preternaturally sensitive to the stress and anxiety the situation was causing their mother. Soon they decided to make it as easy on her as possible. No matter what chores were completed or the way they collected right as Mama yelled “dinner”, mere children could not turn her apparent sorrow into joy. Previously their childhood exuberance was able to snap her out of constant production mode to join carefree feet in a fun game of sprint through the sprinklers. That time was over and slowly but surely food began to disappear faster than it was replaced and the fights became more frequent and vigorous over the months and years until one day while Pops was next door working Mama packed the kids up and took the children back to where she was raised. Some were slightly sad about leaving their father but the narrative of him being a hard taskmaster made that grieving last for only as long as the house was within the rear-view mirror. They were on to a new adventure that would soon have them exploring their mothers’ old haunts under the tutelage of their austere and well-respected grandfather, Luke Muse.