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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel G Escobar

Paper Boats

This is based on a true story and in memory of the life of a person who may well be forgotten by those who call themselves family. As one of the last remaining members of the family and believers that most of their life was thrown away by the disbelief and constant physical and emotional abuse they suffered, it is my right to share their story so that it remains documented. Each sentence is carefully written to identify the events.


Perhaps a single sheet, a one-dimensional layer of life and existence is more likely to tear when wet through the tears we cry or the blood we shed, than a thousand layers that each act as protection to the next. And the folds of it as folds of skin together meet and create our fleshy meat, that in the end protects our thoughts from dissolving in the sea. And of course, when life’s paper boats are set free, our existence depends on how well we have packed ourselves to be. Paper boats thrown out by paper boys to wonder on the open ways and carried by the breeze.

Paper boats do not need to know where to go and may at times be lost. Most like we can find ourselves lost when others have paid no attention at all. We form connections driven by affection or simply by closeness to those that we trust or are simply close with those when it comes to thought. Not many others that we might feel comfortable around, they lead their lives with no concern of others about. And we may hold in this state, as if it were our life’s fate, no concern from others who may not love but, no, let’s not go there.

Help can come to fill the rest, what emotion of life and body cannot tell, we pray for those whose stories we depend on, as beacons to grab hold of, and lean on. We follow from that which was taught, but give it meaning as we know that it may do us better down the road. And we stuff these pages into the creases of our paper boats, to help them float on the waters they are drifting on. Pages whose support is also guidance and give us hope and a place to rest, to feel safe and be protected by Poseidon’s trident.

And when life strikes past the heartbeats last thump, we grab to nothing else but that victory post that we were always fond of. And we hold it close to our hearts, and ask for life to give another chance. Others not see how much was lost, if they never cherished it. Now there sits, an empty seat and a lonely radio who gently listens to others speak. The sound has gone and silence fills the room, but there we lay in the corner where we belong. And we look past our things and onto the empty space, and where a body once laid, now there’s nothing there. The warmth is lost and the comfort gone, who to turn to now since no one else had ever known. For what others saw, was the person who was there and not within, the connection lost is what others will never see. Maybe some who depend as much, may see beyond the life that’s lost, and maybe once, only once, they’ll see me there, out of touch. 

And without the help of the old man’s hand, there is no end to the plank I stand, my only comfort has gone away, I may never see a better day. But not all may forget, but the chance is fairly dim, like paper boats that sail away they might keep sailing beyond we see. There are few who we must accept to be part of the life we lead, but their existence on the day is never set, but I wait and I bet, with guarantee.

But we wish that they do not forget, as laid in speak each day we met, for I leave them suns and moons to help them find their way back soon. But there are those who with me they stay, and ask of me to be with them, which I accept without delay, and help with life begin its day. Like the life I gave from my own blood, that passes by without accord, traps me in a room where I lost myself thinking of those I knew and gave into trust. Far beyond the other end, I barely hear or see them, but a little glimpse that I may see and a promise made to me, gives me the comfort that I am much in need.

There are few places where life is sound and light, and a stranger’s grasp is stronger than the life we have. There is movement and mistrust, and yet see more of real life as those we don’t know thrust between the crowds, and lift the dust as they quickly move about. For we see all kinds of life gathered here to chat or walk, or be near the folk and freedom as it appears. They all seek their needs, be it one thing or another, no one judges and they don’t care, as long as they can get their wares. And this extends for miles on end, and it’s a place I go to free myself, for I make friends and often sell to them. But I do not trade in cloth or stone or smell, it’s for me a chance for stories to tell. Here they listen and I speak my mind, and share stories as I see them, they may not care, but do not mind, as they too come out to find. And what we find it not the connection, it’s not the friendlessness nor affection, it’s about being here, in the chaos it creates without end, and the noises which affects the senses, make me feel alive again. Many are strangers to this, very few care to ask, they believe I hurt myself, but if I offer to explain, they don’t let that pass. How could they think something else, for a lifetime I have come here, from where else do they think I get my gear. They must know of all I make for many times I stayed awake, although just assume they like what they consume.

Please don’t let me be inside, I must go out and live today, I’ll come back I am quite sure of that, but I feel trapped within these walls that obscure my thoughts and turn me blue. Without their say, I turn to leave, the outside life calls onto me, but today, no please, I want to stay. The life I trusted and saw as part of me, is calling one final word, to leave and be free of those who were of no help to me. I grasp and I fight in purple rage but my weakened body only faulters, why have they come for me and under whose orders? I beg, please, it’s not my fault you see, why must you place me with the horrors of which I speak.

Taken in the night without much fight and by their actions unadorned, this is those that had always urged that they were right all along. They forced me to be without the only one left, that even through dismissal was better than certain death. And those that stand and lie without power to change the fact, must live in shame for their inability to act. And those who led the violent path, proclaim themselves heroes who saved my life, but all I want is for everyone to understand. It didn’t matter how much I cried and pleaded to the air, very few showed how much their cared, and labelled and discarded as my heart slowly parted from those in thought I shared.

It’s cold and dark and my fate is hard to see, though I hope that my mind stays stronger than my body. I feel broken and consumed, and ashamed to be, that I hope those ones I care about never see, or it may shock them and confuse them, and not believe in me. In fields of lavender, I find some little comfort, as the violet light shines upon and magnifies what we cannot see, shows a history of abuse and hunger, and of scars, broken bones and missing teeth. For the culprits may remain free from their wrongdoings, but our memory will never fail to see, those who robbed life from the palms of others as they pretended to set them free.

There are few letters that may describe the truth and vocalise much need, to let the victims know of how they suffer away from the walls that imprisoned me. Beyond this time I am no longer one, but a memory that others need, I am conscious of my life, and now I am sailing free. For long before I was held here, I felt when they all left, I laid forgotten like a sheet of paper that no one ever read. But their story doesn’t end there, they must have called out to leave, though only few can tell, if they ever felt being free. Along as I passed outside and was unlocked from the cage they gave, and I breathed in the fresh air and filled my lungs with comfort I need before I go to sleep.

And there the life had passed away, to join many others, like a market full of souls that dissipate from their struggles and daily horrors. And so they went without much thought, and laid to rest, as the leaders of their haste stood beside the grave. And they mourn and speak their troubles, without their right to hide the truth and lack of care, they never gave, but only took away the life that was never theirs. Yet some remain that fill their pain from far away and make paper boats to sail away, as examples of life’s remains, when there are those who show how much they care. And the paper boats delicate and small, say nothing more, and they only show life’s fading glow.

But the story ends with a glimpse of happiness, by the union of them two, close apart as they were in life, they reunite in the same room of afterlife.

Edited on May 24, 2021 Fixed spelling and grammatical errors.

#Featured #Stories


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