Saturday, April 11, 2009

FFC: April Fool

“Day after day… alone on a hill… the man with foolish grin is keeping perfectly still…”

As he sat on the hillside, he hummed, picturing himself the subject of someone else’s lyrics. He vowed that this would be the last time he claimed the song as his own. This wasn’t where his life was meant to take him but he’d decided to make the best of it, however he chose to define what that best could be. He’d had much grander dreams for himself, but there were always unseen forces working against him. Life, it seems, didn’t intend to cause him harm, but something far worse… to render him insignificant.

He’d first heard the song playing at a party he wasn’t quite invited to attend. It was an oversight, of course, but he’d never walk across the street and risk having to face the potential of his conclusion being wrong. So he sat, ironically enough, on this very hillside watching the people and listening to the music as it wafted his way. He didn’t aspire to be the fool on the hill, but the lyrics searched for him and attached themselves to him. So he sat there absorbing them, allowing them to permeate the depths of his soul until he realized that he’d always been the one they described.

Looking back on his life, he seemed forever in the shadow of those around him. His brother was the all-star quarterback, his sister was a walking example of a variety of unpronounceable psychoses, and he was... well, he just wasn’t very remarkable. After awhile, he’d grown accustomed to his relative invisibility. He pondered what it meant to be the fool in everybody else’s eyes, if not his own. He saw the details they were too busy to notice. He felt the undercurrents they didn’t recognize. In his younger days, he tried to tell them and show them what they were missing. He couldn’t tell whether he was ignored or merely unnoticed, but he began to understand that his words fell short of being important to anyone but him.

It was then that he decided to challenge his apparent destiny and refuse to accept the insignificance that fate had foisted upon him. He began listening more intently, observing more acutely, and planning more specifically. In the waning light of the cool autumn day, he walked the path that had become so familiar, to the hill where he’d first heard his song. The party had long ago ended without anyone ever noticing him. As he crossed the distance that he couldn't before, the leaves crunching beneath his feet made the only music now. He made the pretense of pulling out an unopened pack of cigarettes even as he knew he had no intention of starting such a foolish habit. He lit a match, allowed them all to catch, and dropped the flame into the dry leaves. He felt a surge of power as he walked back toward the path and decided, perhaps, it was time for a new song to sing.