(Last week: At the opening of Chapter Three, Chartan drives his wife and their son to the beach where years ago he went to meditate after the loss of his parents.)
Chartan, on his back, watched his son, on his buttocks, kick his tiny bare feet—the motion brought the child to the edge of the shade from the overhead umbrella. Gina, who had gone to the restroom, had reminded Chartan several times to keep their son out of the sun. He was thinking of her admonishment when his mind drifted…
The passage of time for me has come to a halt, but for Jake it’s accelerating. Soon he’ll be walking and talking up a storm. But for me I’m not moving ahead—happy, but stuck. Limo driver. Husband. Father. Then what? I’ve lost my compass in life. I’ve slowed down too much. That inner voice that’s pushed me to explore, to dare, is silent. Nothing but echoes of my own words. What am I looking for?
Gina’s hushed voice startled him. He shot to his knees and froze, mouth open. Jake was standing in the sand, his arms out to the side. He was ten-months old. Neither parent moved for fear that any distraction would topple their son.
A strong wind came up and Jake carefully fell backwards, landing on the edge of the blanket. His shocked stare was quickly replaced with crying and tears streaming down his cheeks. Chartan reached for him, but Gina’s arms were already around her son. She brought him up to her chest and Chartan, standing behind her, wrapped his arms around the only two people he loved in the world.
An hour later Chartan held Jake to his chest with his wife at his side as they walked along the dunes that years ago had been a place of meditation and strength for a young man facing life without parents. Although the wind had stopped, Chartan’s eyes were tearing.
To be continued next Sunday…