Short Story: “Ecce Homo” (Part 5)
Author’s Note: This short story was written in 2010 or 2011, and is dedicated to my friend F.S.B. The story is titled “Ecce Homo: A Calling.” This is the fifth of six parts, which will be posted each Monday of Lent. The previously posted parts of the story are on this Word Document.
(from Part 4) “Man, who do you think you are? You don’t know anything about me!”
He had been seen through, exposed. He was rebellious and independent by his nature, and now he had to defend himself against the pressure he was under. The whole time he was shouting at the man, the boy never looked at him directly – only in his general direction. He couldn’t bear to make eye-contact, for fear that he would become transparent to the man’s gaze.
“Son, look at me.”
END OF PART 4; PART 5 BEGINS HERE
On the surface, the student was unwilling to comply; but, there was some deep part of him that, for some reason, was drawn to look at the man.
Then, the man called him by name.
But, he didn’t just call it. It seemed, more so, that the man breathed the boy’s name to him; and a sweet smell, like perfume or incense, filled his nostrils, and his ears rang with the sound of his name.
And then, he knew.
He knew he was no longer intoxicated. It was a new day amidst the same rainy night. He also knew that he was not hung-over either. All of his senses had returned to their fullest, and his mind was sober and clear. He wished to hide himself, or he would risk being seen in the naked state that he felt he was in.
But, the man placed a hand on his shoulder, and continued to look at him – to look into him.
“It’s time,” he said.
“Time… time for what?”
“It is time for you to leave. Your bus is here.”
The boy, even though his mind was clear, couldn’t understand – until he saw the bright lights of the bus drawing ever closer towards them. It pulled up alongside the curb near their bench, and the doors opened.
“Are you leaving soon,” the student asked the bus driver.
The bus driver, a middle-aged woman, looked at her watch and replied, “This rain has put me behind schedule, so I’m not going to sit here for too long.”
“Can you wait just two minutes, please?”
The bus driver looked at her watch again and told him firmly, “One minute.”
The boy could do nothing but look again at the man, but this time, he could actually see him – see him for who he really was.
“How… how do I know this is real,” he asked, befuddled.
“You just have to have a little faith.”
The man stretched out his hand, and the boy took it. And as the man let go, the boy realized the man had put something in his hand.
The man smiled and reassured him: “But, it’s nice to have some direction, too.”
“But, what am I supposed to do?”