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 final part 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 5) 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?”
END OF PART 5; PART 6 BEGINS HERE
“Well, son: First, you need to go home and get some rest. After that, think about what I told you, what you felt. Consider what you’re being called to. But don’t worry, the right people will get in touch with you soon enough.
“But most importantly, you need to change: change your lifestyle, change your attitude, change the way you think about things; because you can never go back to how it was before, no matter how much you try. From now on, it only gets harder, not easier.”
The boy hesitated, but the man reached out and pulled him into a reassuring embrace and told him, “I believe in you.”
Then, just as quickly, the man let go, but the boy didn’t want to leave his presence. He felt a new life, a new breath, circulating through his body. It was a driving wind that filled his entire being, constantly propelling him forward; and now, he didn’t want to let it go.
“Minute’s up. I need to go,” the bus driver said.
The boy was reluctant, but the man nodded reassuringly and told him, “‘The great work begins.’”
So, the student climbed into the bus and showed the bus driver his pass. She was a little perturbed with him for making her linger, but she could tell by his wet clothes that he had been waiting a while. So, she said nothing.
She did, however, address the man outside, “Are you coming too?”
“No,” the man told her.
The boy turned around and looked back out, “What? Aren’t you coming?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be in touch.”
“I know, but I thought—“
“—Son,” it was the only time the man had ever interrupted him throughout the entire conversation. “I wasn’t waiting for a bus…I was waiting for you.”
Then, as the bus doors closed, the boy saw the man smile and open his right hand. Unconsciously, he did the same and realized, for the first time, the gift the man had given him.