Here is the story, my friends. Please by all means comment. I need to get back into writing (I have been neglecting it, let me tell you) and feedback - critical or otherwise - helps me keep going. I don't want to leave words behind in the snowdust of snowboarding on a mountain...
Boy With A Coin
If he'd found it on the street, that would make sense. If someone had handed it to him from a generous pocket, the situation would seem much more plausible. But as it was (or rather, is) the boy seems a bit thoughtless. Careless. Confused.
His name is Benjamin. I tell you this not because it is important, but because I want you to see him as you would a friend, acquaintance. Someone who's face and name you know and care about, if only because he seems to genuine and innocent to let anything bad happen to him.
Benjamin worked hard. Every day there was some new job for him to do. In a world where little boys had nothing to their name, his was the life of a drifter. From shop to shop he begged for work, scrounging a living. No one begrudged him this life, though; he worked as hard as any of the grown men. Daily he earned more than food. He earned respect.
It was on one of his odd jobs that he tripped on a loose cobblestone and unearthed a large coin. At first he could hardly believe it. It covered the whole palm of his hand.
It was not a penny or a dime or any other such worthless piece of metal. No, this was a day and age when metal in your pocket meant more than any piece of paper crumpled in your wallet. This coin could have bought a weeks' worth of meals – in the boy's case, many more than that, as he usually existed upon bread crusts. He could have done most anything with this treasure.
The world opens to your hand when you have money. That's the way it works. We all know this.
Maybe the boy knew, and did not understand.
He crammed it into his pocket and left it there. His face was aglow but his heart could only stare. True dreams are not of money (though they may be of wealth); true dreams are of beautiful things. Of adventure and love and desire and ambition and achievement of great things. Dreams take us away when our feet are shackled to the floor.
He walked and walked till he reached the pier. There the sea breeze lifted the hair from his forehead and tore some of the stench from his grimy clothes. The world seemed to open before him. The see filled his vision, the horizon seemed closer than before, music sprang up in his ears. Without looking at it, he pulled the coin from his pocket and rubbed it smooth and clean.
He held it up above his head, watching the last rays of sunlight catch the gold color and turn it brilliantly orange and yellow.
What was he to do with it?
He tossed it into the sea.
And then he wished.
His eyes were wide open and the sunset over the ocean reflected brilliantly in them. His fists were clenched. His heart was throbbing with the idea of his dream being realized. That was all he needed to do. He turned and walked away.
A sailor watched from the edge of his master's ship. His eyes drew together, then widened, as the scene played out before him. As soon as the boy's back was turned he ran, eyes fixed on the tiny ripples in the water where the coin had sunk. Money was tight, and not only for poor little orphan boys. He leapt out over the water and at the last second curled his body into a dive, fingers outstretched for the prize.
Later, the papers reported a drowning. No one ever knew that it was the sailor's feeble graspings for treasure had brought him to his death.
I cannot tell you what the boy wished for. Then it will not come true, you know. He never told me (though I guessed and I am sure that I am right). All I can say is that his wish does not involve anything that we have mentioned already.
What if he had saved the coin? He could certainly have made great progress towards his wish. Perhaps even achieved it wholly.
What if he had shared the coin with another, and brightened their day? He could have brought joy and eased someone's hunger, supposedly. He could have even given it to the sailor and saved that man's reckless life.
But he didn't do those things. Instead he wished big and he wished wholly. Everything in him wanted this to come true. And it didn't matter that he was throwing away his livelihood. He was gaining life. Life such as he wasn't sure he could get.
But it was worth throwing all away to wish for it.
Just a boy with a coin. And then a boy without a coin. And does it all matter? That all depends on whether you wish you had the coin or not. Or whether you think you know what he wished for.
Tell me: what one wish is worth wishing with everything you own? Wishing beyond what you could ever hope to gain?
Tell me, please. Tell me what this story means.