|Literary Masters, Inc.
Publicists for Short Stories, Books, Poems and Songs
Long Island, New York 11971
| "Tracing Dreams"
By Melissa R. Mendelson
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Rated "G" by the Author.
Some lessons take a long time to learn.
Sunlight streamed down onto wrinkled, tan skin as a gentle wind whispered through a head of white hair.
Shards of grass bowed over for the wheels of the chair that the man was confined to and to his feet that
hovered over them. A shadow stood very close to him, but its attention was elsewhere. A paper airplane
flew past him but was then caught by little fingers.
Deep, blue eyes fell on a child who flew the paper airplane in a circle around him. Drawings of people and
animals lay nearby. Crayons were scattered throughout the grass. The airplane briefly paused in that light
grasp as the shadow turned in the boy’s direction, but then its attention once again moved elsewhere.
An array of lilies, roses, tulips, and lilacs caught the old man’s gaze as he turned toward the large garden
outside the nursing home. His breath hovered in his throat as his eyes ran over a rose’s petals and then
down toward its sharp thorns. A breeze blew the rose toward him, but only for a moment. Only a moment
was given to him to admire the beauty of a flower before it withdrew back into the other ones. If he were to
go now, then this is where he would want to be, under the sun and by the garden.
“Grandpa?” The eyes returned to the child. “Why are you quiet?”
“I’m thinking, Keith.”
Leaning forward, he snatched his grandson up in his long arms. He held him up for a moment before placing
him on his lap. Smiling at each other, their eyes slowly moved toward the shadow nearby. “I’m just thinking
that you are getting quite big. How old are you now?”
“I’ll be nine next week.”
“Nine? Wow. Time does fly by, and those drawings over there? How long have you been doing that?”
“For awhile, I guess.” He frowned.
“What is it, Keith?”
“It’s nothing.” He turned to look at the shadow whose attention still remained elsewhere. “It’s nothing.”
“Nothing? You have a talent, boy. I could barely draw stick figures when I was your age.”
“But it’s not realistic.”
“What are you talking about, Keith?” His eyes slowly turned toward the shadow.
“Dad said to not get my head lost in the clouds. He wants me to focus on education when I start school again.”
“That doesn’t mean that you have to stop drawing.”
“I like drawing. It makes me happy, but he gets mad when I do it a lot.”
“Does he now?” The boy nodded. “Did you know that your father has a real talent for art too?” The boy
shook his head. “He did, but I gave him the same advice that he is giving you.”
“So, he’s right.”
“No, he’s wrong. I was wrong too.” The boy stared up at his grandfather.
Suddenly, the shadow approached them. Their eyes fell on a middle-aged man wearing a brown suit and
brown loafers. He held a cell phone against his ear as he gazed at both his father and his son. Frowning, he
could only shrug at them before answering someone on the other end of the phone. “Hold on, Carl.” He
looked at the old man. “Dad, I’m really sorry. I’ll just be a few more minutes.” He didn’t wait for an answer
as he started to walk away. “Read me those numbers again, Carl because they still don’t add up.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately. I wouldn’t say that I regret my life because I don’t. I just don’t feel
completely whole. I feel like I missed out on an essential part of my life, one that could have added
more happiness to it.”
“I don’t understand, Grandpa.”
“I know you don’t, Keith, but, one day, you will.”
“So, is it okay for me to keep drawing?”
“As much as you want.”
“What about my Dad? What if he still gets mad? What if he won’t let me draw anymore?”
“Keith, I’m going to tell you something, and you can tell your father when I’m gone.”
“When you’re gone? What are you talking about?”
“Look, listen to me. Later on, if he gets mad that you are still focused on your drawing, ask him if he
remembers what happened on his twelfth birthday? Ask him if he remembers how I came home late
and frustrated from a long day at work? Ask him how I reacted when he showed me his drawings?”
“He will tell you that I ripped them out of his hands and tore them up. He will tell you that I said that my
son would be a real man. He would earn a living as a businessman not a starving artist. He has to stop living
in the clouds.”
“You did that?” The old man nodded.
“Do not forget to tell him what I am about to tell you now. Later that night, when he was asleep, I emptied
out the garbage and pulled out those ripped pieces of his drawings. I took scotch tape and taped them back
together. They are in the same envelope with my will.”
“I’ll tell him, Grandpa. I’ll tell him.”
“Now, you must make me another promise. No matter what happens from now to whenever, you must
promise me that you will do what you want to do not what anyone tells you to do. Understand?” The boy
slowly nodded. “I want you to be happy, but only you not your father can make that happen.” He noticed
tears welling up his grandson’s eyes.
“Are you really leaving?”
“Very soon now. I can feel it.” He hugged his grandson. “I can feel it as much as I can feel that silent dream
inside my heart. That dream that continues to tell me that I could have been so much more, but that dream
is now yours. It’s now your dream.”
He closed his eyes as he held his grandson against him.
©2006 Melissa R. Mendelson [All Rights Reserved]
|NEW REVIEWS: There are so many fine pieces by Melissa here. Yet, somehow I feel this is her best to
date. A warm and poignant story of opportunity missed or thwarted by external influences challenges us
to trust and act upon our dreams before they are lost. Thank you, Melissa.*****__Barbara A. Sabo.
It is true; this is the best of Melissa. Written with such care and attention to detail including the subtle
surprises in character introduction and development. The father-son exchange is so realistic. Worthy
to read again and again.****__Jean Ann Morgan.
Quite a departure, Melissa. And a very delightful one. There is something hauntingly autobiographical in
each of your writings and this is no exception. A warm and defining piece that really does need to be read
again and again. Very nice.****__Captain Apple Jack.
I love all of Melissa's short stories. It seems to me that more than one has taken a headline or a
happenstance right from the streets where I live and work. Always written with such graphic richness.
I wish I had half this talent. Keep going, Melissa. Keep going!*****__Su Chang-Wu.
This short story made me go back and read several others by Melissa. I am new to Literary Masters, Inc.
and, therefore, new to her works. I agree that they are all worthy and compelling reads. I also agree that
"Tracing Dreams" is a bright departure from her other works and a rewarding direction for new fans of
Melissa to explore****__Michelle Z. Banda.
The story reminds one of that famous quote from the Great Bard's Hamlet Act i, Se 3: "To thine own self be
true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou can'st not then be false to any man." True for Hamlet;
true for us. The truly good admonitions endure over time. Well done Melissa!****__David W. Carpenter.