Three in the Sun

(A photo prompt provided by Ms. Diana Matisz, December, 2012)

Written by Kerry Elizabeth Blickenderfer-Black

It was summertime, but they did not feel the warmth of the sun, nor were their hearts lightened by the freedom that summer break usually gave to students.  They walked, arms interlocked in an intertwining meant to provide a barrier, a wall, a way to lock out their troubles and sorrows.  Together, the three children would face life in this fashion, inextricably linked, holding each other up against gales and heartaches, walking away from loss toward a brighter future.

They watched as their home burnt to the ground.  The duplex provided fine kindling apparently, because it went up so quickly that nothing but the barest of a structural skeleton was left, its black bones reaching skyward from its ashy grave.  They watched the path of many silent tears that seemed to leave tracks not only on their mother’s aging face but also on her ailing soul.  They’d suffered hunger, worn hand-me-downs, felt the bite of many a bully’s words.  They’d watched their father drive away in the beat up, once-red Ford pickup truck, never turning a face of regret for abandoning them for a fresh start and a new family.

On this summer afternoon, with the lush green grass cushioning their footfalls, they were aware that it was upon each other that they would have to rely, and upon God, who created such a scene of pastoral bliss despite the turmoil of the souls passing through.  For it was in this hidden meadow, with its silver maple stretching welcoming, leafy arms and rabbits and chipmunks playing among the under-planted shrubberies, that they learned of fidelity and allegiance.  These lessons lasted into their adulthood, solidifying the strength of the intertwined arms.

Cleo was the oldest, though the most emotionally fragile of the three children.  She formed the center post of the triumvirate, an anchor to ports of escape.  Her able mind would transform such places as the meadow into an entrance to Eden so that the children could unburden themselves in childhood play.  She had the talent of transformation, the gift of glamour, and with the guidance of her imagination, the horrors of the children’s past would have no fertile grounds to take root while under her gentle spell. These gifts would allow her to envision finer places and see within hearts’ goodness.   

Joseph was the oldest boy at seven, a protector of women and hater of the father who abandoned his family.  His convictions would take him to scholarship and activism, law changes and a staunchly fine heart.  His every purposeful step would resonate with righteous change implemented within a system that seemed otherwise unable to hear the plaintive voices veiled by pain.

Five year old Kevin hadn’t even started kindergarten when his family found itself fatherless and homeless.  He clung to his siblings as his only friends and protectors, yet it was he who in the adult years to come would don the mantle of a soldier who through strength of character, compassion, loyalty, and courage would progress within the armed forces’ ranks.  Upon his return from honorably active duty,  this steely man would become a police officer whose pursuit of justice would rival a member of the Justice League. 

The three continued to provide for each other mettle and an internal compass, guide posts and lighthouses.  They were strength for one who felt weakened or down-hearted.  They each inspired within the others better actions and greater convictions, encouraging pursuit of social reform.  One would envision and breathe to life with words the fragile wind of change.  The next would take this vision and pursue through legal channels and lobbying until it became law, law which the third swore to uphold.

With vision, determination, and love, these siblings would learn to protect each other and their fellow man, embracing physically and intellectually the precepts of humanitarianism.  They would, as adults, bring about such social reform as better shelters for abused women and teen mothers, elder care protection, and a law that protected the mentally disabled.  Together, they were a voice for the mute, arms for the invalid, and a keen intellect for the slow-witted.  Though they didn’t necessarily link arms in the same fashion, in a very real way they never lost that feeling of camaraderie and purpose that terrible, sunny afternoon necessitated by circumstances complicate in their formation into formidable protectors and companions.