Once upon a time, there was a young poet in his senior school year that moved to a huge apartment complex in the city with his parents so that his father could be closer to work. The young poet had dreams in his eyes and was very religious. He tried to live the ways he was brought up, belonging to a Protestant church called Die N.G. Kerk. He even gave Sunday school to blind children at the Prinshof School for the Blind.
They moved into the apartment building and he did not even swap schools. He still went to his old school in Silverton, taking a bus each morning and each afternoon to and from the school. He would sit in the bus and read books, usually books by Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Jan Rabie or listen to Modern Talking or Cyndi Lauper on his walkman. Then we would walk home, perhaps feeding pigeons on Church Square if he still had some scraps left in his lunch tin from school.
At his apartment building, he would greet all the kids running around, perhaps smoking a cigarette in a corner (a habit he picked up a previous year at a church camp, his only vice, he did not drink) or went up home (after eating a mint to mask the nicotine smell). Then he would do homework, read a book, watch a show on TV, eat dinner with his parents, read the bible and pray and go to bed. Such was his routine. Somedays he would go down by the tennis courts of the apartment building, sit and write poetry, the words of an innocent boy filled with dreams and hopes.
He started to meet people, even joined a little bible study group. He met wonderful people, and he was happy. One day, however, he visited a new friend, and they talked and talked. That night his friend invited the young poet over for ice cream. The poet went to the friend’s house and they chatted in the friend’s living room. After an hour, the friend’s mother came home and threw a fit. She accusingly looked at the young poet and asked her son why he ‘invited that fat Satanist’ into her house. The poet was shocked. He, being a polite and religious person asked her why she called him that. “Oh, everyone around here knows that you are,” she replied. The poet tried to set the record straight, yet she disbelieves him and he left the apartment. Sad and stunned he went home.
The next day he went down to the tennis court and other children noticed that he looked sad, and when he told them what happened the previous day and that he felt stunned because he, a Christian was accused of Satanism, some of them was shocked. They thought he was a Satanist, while others were shocked because they knew he was a Christian. The child realized that a whole community judged him, that even if you are a good person, does nothing wrong, mostly live a righteous life, people will only see negativity about you because they want you to be a monster.
People want monsters, they will rip innocence from you, they will break you, and they will tell stories about you. Once upon a time, there was a young boy that believed that being a good person was enough. Once upon an innocence, a boy was broken, a boy was crucified, and he never was the same again.
A true story
© 2018 allen wolfie simpson
There are a million more stories to tell of this young poet, and maybe I already have told you some… maybe if you look hard enough you will find more. Maybe I will visit him again, and tell you more about him… who knows. But when I do there will always be a lesson hidden, maybe a lesson on how the world can take innocence from a person, or how maybe the world can earn some innocence back by being kind, by being human. Blessings to all, be kind to each other.
Photo by Allen Wolfie Simpson at Swartruggens
Concept Art: Allen Wolfie Simpson