It was always there. A loss, not even known for what it was. An emptiness that fell upon every thing that Jack experienced through his life. He was empty of love and lost it when he was a child.
Jack weeps now when he realizes what he felt that time when the emptiness took hold of him. He always thought it was abandonment. A memory that diffused relationship with everyone. Jack tried to cope with that memory, not even aware he was doing that. Clever words spoken and written. There were many times when that empty feeling would diminish and it was always the same thing. Smiles and words that promise embracing mutual friendship. Jack needed to forgive the people that he thought abandoned him. They did not know Jack nor he them. Relatives that should have known those things. Inherited behavior, perhaps cultural.
Music was soothing and a smile inside at a moment of beauty got Jack hooked into that beauty. Songs and orchestral creations worked well. He still remembers some of those songs. Then, when Jack played music, the phrases of praise momentarily filled the emptiness. ”I loved what you did” or sometimes just a few notes spoken of. Jack always felt the emptiness fade a bit. He craved approval and contact. Applause was nice but fleeting, Playing Ashokan Farewell on the violin perfectly, without an accompanist on guitar for example. Fulfilling for a moment.
It was a coldness in Jack’s very core that drove him to play well, and now, to write well. A romantic spirit. Those moments are when the emptiness would back off. Approval and love of just him. Jack did not know why those times of contact and praise satisfied him. Wasn’t it like that for everyone? Seeking smiles and laughter from people and amazingly, an interest in him that might be a friend. There were a few friends that Jack could contact anytime for their care and seeing him for what he was. An empty man, perhaps like they were. Leaning on one another like an unmovable roof truss. Solid wood. With knot holes and defects but Oak or Gopher wood. A trust able to withstand bad storms.
They are Gone now from the inevitable event we all must experience. They died. How inconvenient of them to do so. Jack still loves them dearly and he knows they still do. One of them appeared to Jack just as he was dying. He was 2000 miles away, so Jack figures friendship is eternal. (One man in particular)
Most of those friends were the kind we all need. A phone call or even showing up without calling, just showing up. Not even a hint of inconvenience from the open door. “You were in the neighborhood? That’s over a hundred mile trip! C’mon Jack, tell me what’s going on”
The day of the wall phone is gone. Now we have Facebook and posts telling us what’s right with us. All neat and clean without any tears or embraces of understanding. Isaac Asimov’s robots now have cell phones and good internet. We edit conversations akin to open book exams.
The last two years of isolation and fear have reduced our civilization to rubble. The masks, no smiles seen from anyone. The old game of keep away. Friends were forbidden to come near and we are so much poorer, even crippled by it. We all lost and the stats and graphs and zoom meetings were just party favors for the worthless messages.
Jack is not alone in his quest now. The world needs good friends and we must learn again how to do it. Smiles are back and Jack has noticed that a slight smile and a nod are beginning to make a difference. Smiles and laughter ring out as bells from the steeple. Come. Gather together and be thankful for blessings and deliverance from evil. Look upon the world as a small child’s smile at an adoring adult. It opens our heart as we look upon our world. Not through rose colored glasses but with clear vision. We take off the disguise and reveal ourselves and see. This is who we were created to be. I’m not afraid of your visible smile. It’s civilization 101. Jack has
been masked for most of his life and he has the ability now to offer himself. Smile, It’s pretty good. Jack Gator