No Tulips Today

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Tears welled up in his eyes for the fifth time and the day hadn’t even dawned yet. He tried not to think of everything he was thinking but it was too late. As each scene of the previous day crossed his mind, he got hotter and hotter with rage until he was certain he was going to light up on fire. He jumped out of bed and ran away. Away, leaving his house far behind.

He ran and ran. He knew he had to get to that only place that could save him. The familiar fragrance of tulips filled his nostrils as he fell lifeless on the dew-wet grass. Heaven. He didn’t try to get up. He just brought his knees close, up near his chest and tightly held himself in a bundle. Rain drizzled. However much he hated it in the city, the rain was always welcome here, in his field of tulips.

Soft petals tickled his ears. Slowly, he let go. He opened his eyes to the flowers. He sat up and talked to them. Why am I still alive? Why don’t you let me die? All of his questions were answered by the whispering wind. On any other day, the wind would have been enough but not today. Today, he had vowed to do it.

As if to try for the last time to talk him out of it, the black misted spirit appeared on his shoulder with a face hung low. “Don’t so it Jacob.” He said. “Things will get better.”

“You know he’s lying, Jake,” said a cloud of white that descended on his arm and took the form of a little white man. Nestling against his skin, the little white man atrrected Jacob’s attention.

“Don’t listen to him, son. He means harm. To you. To everyone.” “Ah! What accusations. I will let them pass. I’m here for Jacob.”

“You wicked soul. Always trying to lure poor earthlings with the friendliness you pretend.”

“You forget all the time. I don’t have a soul.” The white man was ruthless with his passivity, his snide pretence.

“And that’s why you are always trying to kill others’. Always trying to kill them.”

“And I help them! I show them how painful souls are.”

The white spirit was starting to get agitated. It had wailed out.

“Now, Jacob dear, remember, I’m always here for you. And once you get rid of this black fool, I will be back to help you escape to heaven.” And with that the little man vanished.

“Please Jacob. Try and understand. I know it’s tough but you’ve got to hold on.” And the black spirit disappeared too.

Jacob was mad. His heart was aching. Try and understand? He never understood fighting, and the spirits were not making it simpler.

He fell back among the tulips. The smell enveloped him. He let himself drown in it. Once his lungs were filled, he could think again. Should I do it?

He had already tried asking for help but he was told smack in the face that the world doesn’t sympathise with weak boys. That was it. The world. As long as “the world” was out there, Jacob couldn’t live. Even his tulip field couldn’t protect him. No… no tulips today.

Without letting any more thoughts come to him, Jake got up and ran off and he didn’t stop when he got to the bridge.

Rain poured all night. It was as if everything in the world that was bound, broke free that night.

Next morning, when a fisherman caught a human body in his net down the river, Jacob smiled down at him from heaven.          


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