The Whistle

This is an old vignette I wrote back in 2009. I’ve cleaned up some sloppy writing in it, and thought it worth sharing.

“Do you think it’s true?” The boy’s eyes glistened. He watched as the old man worked the oak in his hands.

“Do I think what is true?” The old man moved his knife from one end of the wood to the other, the shavings drifting to the floor around his stool.

“Is it true what they say about love? Can it really change everything?”

“Where did you hear that?” The old man carved as the boy’s body twitched as his thoughts ran their course.

“I heard some of the potters talking about it. They were saying it could be like magic. Love could change everything.”

“Heh. I suppose they said something about kings leaving all their riches behind? Poor men becoming rich?” The old man raised his eyebrow, the shape of a whistle emerging amidst the aroma of the fresh wood.

“That’s what they said.” The boy paused. “Have they said this before?”

“Many times.”

“So it’s not true, then? Love isn’t magic. It isn’t what the potters said? It isn’t strong?”

The old man put his creation down on the workman’s table. He turned to see tears forming in the corners of the boy’s eyes. The old man recalled the forest when he looked into those little windows. He put his calloused hands on the boy’s shoulders and waited.

“It’s just…I thought…well I hoped that love was something stronger, than, you know…”

The old man smiled. “August, you want to know what love is capable of?”

The boy wiped away a tear with the sleeve of his ragged coat.

“Well,” he said, reaching for his handkerchief, “that all depends on what you believe about love.”


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