I’m trying.

 

Tony

By Ronald  Cypress

 

There he would go, walking down Prince Street, his right hand gripping the fairly rusted tin box he always carried around, the arms attached to the hand swinging back and forth notably more than its counterpart; his whole right side always seemed to move more than the other side. When we saw him out and walking it would usually be on Prince Street, the second longest road that went through our community. His crippled stroll was a familiar sight for us all, and to a certain degree everyone must have just accepted the sight, the ugly limping and hobbling around down our beautiful street. We had put up with it for years until the community decided that a change had to be made.

This really a lovely place, and we’ve always had great pride in our town.

One generation had grown up and tolerated seeing his twisted and distorted face move about the community. We were told that it was something that just had to be accepted. Something had gone wrong, but no one had the answer. His parents had been one of us. The father was a very prominent member, the mother a gorgeous woman who could have had any man she chose. It was just a bit of bad luck, actually a good deal of bad luck that caused him to be produced. They had kept him hidden away when he as younger, but we don’t really like having secrets and eventually the demand that he be seen became too much for the parents to ignore. Once he was out, they never took him back and we had to accept what had been produced in such a heavenly place.

We all love this place.

Some people come and some people go, but the town always stays the same. We’re always the same. He never went and all of us knew that he never would. Even after both of his parents were respectfully placed in the ground, he would still be around. It was accepted with grace. There were caretakers to help him with his needs, and he would never cause any trouble. We all knew who he was. We all knew his name. If we saw him stopped in front of the Ma’s Ice Cream Shop, his face lightly pushed against the window to peer inside, we’d say hello and give him a nod. He was there frequently. It was that place and a few other ones on Prince Street. He rarely went inside the buildings, but would just softly put his face to the window and stare. If you happened to be inside while he was doing this, it could be quite a disturbing sight but none of us said or did anything. We just let him be. Inside, however, I think we were all wishing that what we wanted to happen would just occur. All we needed was for a few to speak up.

We are lovely people, and we all get along.

It was the latest generation that made us realize that a change had to be made. Things couldn’t go on as they had been. He couldn’t be allowed to go on, not in our town. The younger folks couldn’t take his disfigured, monstrous face. The sharp, crooked teeth scared them no matter how much we told them that he would do them no harm. A few of us arranged to have some children meet and shake hands with him, hoping it would calm some of their fears, but we were unsuccessful. Something had to change. It wasn’t just the children. Our town’s popularity increased and more people began to arrive. There were foreigners who loved everything about us until they became aware of his presence. Most of the time we couldn’t find kind or words convincing enough to make them agreeable with the fact that he was one of us. To them he was an unforgivable sin, an absolute blemish on such a wonderful place. The dream was shattered, the town cursed.

Everyone loves this place once they get to really know it.

An hour-long meeting was held, and we considered all of our options. The children were discussed frequently during the assembly, and numerous stories about how much distress was being brought upon them came up. A few parents claimed that they their children had to see therapists because they were so terrified of what he might do to them. A few of us chuckled. Everyone in that room had grown up in the town and knew his nature. The children were safe, but many of the parents insisted that it was a mental infliction he was bringing about simply with his existence in our town. So what did they want to do? We talked and talked, going beyond the designated hour. Finally, late into the night, a decision was made and we all agreed.

This is a lovely place, and we all want the best for our town.

The word was put out so that everyone would know what was going to happen. One night a few of us would go visit him at the home he had inherited from his parents. One of his caretakers, one of us, would be there to greet and allow us to go into the home. We would find him in the master bedroom on the second floor. After our meeting with him, the town would be completely different. He would be gone. No one spoke his name afterwards, not even the children. A few may have been able to honestly claim ignorance, but we all knew what had been done. A change had to be made, and that was something we all agreed upon. The town looks so much better now, and everyone is much happier. The children are free from the disgrace that haunted their parents. Everyone is happy. And we hope you’ll visit someday. Come on by and see the pride of our hearts.

You’ll see.

This is such a lovely place, and we’re just certain you will find at least little slice of bliss here.