By Karin Gold and Shani Chabanski
There were once four children who grew up in a town near the edge of a forest. Twice a year, their family traveled into the
forest to visit their friend who built his home there many years ago. Twice a year, they would meet there with their family and friends for three days. They shared meals together, danced together, sang together, and laughed together. Sometimes they slept on the wooden deck, staring into the starry night sky, and wondering how it came to be that they four were meant to share such secret splendor, or why some other people would never know the joys of their little home in the woods. That thought made the littlest one cry sometimes.
Back in town, the four children quickly learned never to share their secret world with other children, for as soon as they told their stories, other children mocked and laughed at them. Soon they stopped speaking of their Land altogether, choosing to simply carry the memory with them, like an internal grin.
One day, the eldest one, a woman now, moved away from the town. She was grown and felt the need to travel the world and to meet new people. She was no longer able to meet her siblings in the woods for their secret hideaway. She missed them terribly and grew toward anger. She lashed out at all her new friends, anger and sadness boiling inside. Her siblings mourned her absence, but distance means separation, a feeling which cannot be dismissed or replaced. It is only emptiness, which cannot be filled.
Three years the pain continued. Her siblings grew older and she grew more and more angry and sad. Her every day turned into a living hell and she could not understand why…
One day, one of her younger siblings decided to leave the town as well in order to find the long lost sister. Leaving the youngest two behind, the second oldest wandered the neighboring towns and villages in hopes to bring his sister home. Sadly, he was distracted by all the new people and all the new things and lost his way. One by one, they seemed to be leaving their homes. Although they knew that is what growing up is all about, the two youngest felt abandoned. They missed their siblings terribly and the dynamic between them felt changed. After their older siblings left, the rest of the family barely heard from them, and that scared the little ones. Finally, it was time for the youngest two to leave their home in search of something bigger, but they did not want to go. They desperately clung to their parents and their surroundings in hopes that time would simply pass over them instead of forcing them on its wings.
Sadly, time is not kind and the youngest went their separate ways into the big, wide world. Now the four siblings were separated completely, barely hearing from one another. All were sad and angry and simply could not recognize what was missing from their lives. They all grew up, had loving families, and roofs over their heads. What they did not realize is that roofs were constraining them. They were used to growing up under the canopy of live trees, not dead ones.
One day, years later, they all ran into each other by accident. Just the sight of each other made the siblings more at ease and together they decided to return to their home to see what had become of it. Luckily, upon returning to their small town, they realized nothing had changed. They brought their children and wives and husbands to meet the community that raised them under the beautiful canopy of trees. They danced,
laughed, sang, and played beautiful music until the sun peeked out from over the hill, curious of what occasion warranted such happiness. Once they noticed that the whole night had passed, they realized that they did not want to leave. They were finally smiling outwardly again. They finally found their missing puzzle piece. They realized that what had been missing all along was community and music. Each one decided to bring their families to this Land and to raise their children how their parents had raised them. And they lived there happily ever after, smiling externally.
Published on page 44 of the Winter 2012 issue of Leviathan.