PRAYER

By John Thomas Tuft

It’s the faintest glimmer on the farthest…darkest horizon. It is waking up with a start…unsure if a dream of disconnected images…and fears…and heartburn are what summoned you from the depths of restless sleep. It is the creaking of the floorboards as a cautious parent…barely daring to breathe…ever so carefully grasps…the doorknob to fearfully…hopefully…open the door of the room…beyond which lies a sleeping child. It is sitting in the sterile hallway with the smell of antiseptic clearing your sinuses…heart dropping to the pit of your stomach…footsteps approaching…but you dare not look up…you cannot look up.

It is the clang of the metal of a locker door…in a crowded hallway of a middle school…ringing hollow…ringing so true as the fear in the eyes…of the young boy…who is certain that he is alone…of all those shrieking and giggling and acting so, so sure in the jostling crowd…that his secret might be revealed…that he might be known.

It is the yelling…of a game of hide and seek…in the magic of twilight…on a late summer’s eve…played by jesters in the attire of fools…in a neighborhood of shadows. It is the tapping on and on…of the white cane of a blind man…along the concrete sidewalk…hesitating at the drop-off of a curb…or a cliff. It is the whirl of a washing machine…spinning out the excess…while setting in the stains…left by carelessness…inattention…ignoring the bleach. It is approaching like a grinny on the floor of the forest…too light to disturb the meekest of leaves…bounding over twigs and mud…intent on grabbing the last nut…from a woodpecker’s hole high overhead.

It is the hand hovering mere millimeters from the wood of the door…to the residence of a hoped for love…but what if…the eternal question…the eternal quest…what if she’s not right…she is not the one…or she does not feel the same. It is the dog…the puppy…the golden retriever puppy…oversized paws splayed wide…deep eyes fixed upon your own…in boundless expectations. It is the spider waiting on the impossibly slender perch…daring to swing out into emptiness…trailing the impossibly slender strength of its silk…to weave the impossibly beautiful design…purpose…which catches the drops of dawn’s dew…which captures the light and transforms it… into rainbows of impossible colors.

It is the big toe pointed on the line…of the leg…of a young girl…in ballet attire, concentration writ large on her face…pointing to aspiration…pointing to determination…pointing to hope…belief…in herself. It is the callous…on the finger…that holds the gold band…of the farmer…searching the sky…sitting on the tractor that pulls the plow…across the land sown with his sweat…but he and the land are so tired. It is the rush of wind…of the gasp…of the woman on the bed…face contorted in struggle…eyes pressing to ponder…the miracle…of her child issuing forth.

It is the feel of a solitary tear…slowly surrendering to the pull of gravity…conquering one by one…the ridges and crevasses…of the wrinkles on an old woman’s face…dangling precariously on her chin…before a small hand with the ever so smooth skin of a child…touches at it…with one finger…as if to play.

It is the magic of the words…heard and unspoken…holy or hurled…whispered or imagined…of all wanderers…and wizards alike.