VISUAL. EMOTIONAL. REAL. Well worth the read!
***** Five Stars from me!
James Scott Bell shows how we can redeem our past in this short story; imparting a valuable lesson in humanity from a father to a son.
Maybe there are two hero’s in the story? Firstly, it’s Charles, without a doubt. But the story is told from ‘golden boy’s’ perspective; with him learning the most valuable lesson of all and becoming a hero, in my view as well; eventually owning his past mistakes and much later in life sharing the lesson with his own son.
At school, Charles knew he was different; his disability displayed for all to sneer at. He embraced it; using the power of words to battle the bullies. This story also shows how a good percentage of the human race are really still ‘pack animals’. Sadly. Some just think they’re better than others. Some are bullies and usually hunt with another and ‘golden boy’ was part of one such group with friend Robbie; to be fair I don’t think he really ever felt comfortable in the role. And he did have a conscience. Knocking Charles over with a clod of dirt on purpose pricked at that conscience. And not long after that he saw Charles in the crowd at one of their football games, smiling and clapping because of the touchdown ‘game saving score’ that he’d made. His conscience pricked a bit more and in that moment he knew Charles was the ‘better person’.
Charles drowns during the summer holidays; the inference is perhaps it wasn’t accidental? This news is a shock to him. He learns about it from Robbie; and the enthusiasm with which the news is given doesn’t sit well with ‘golden boy’ either. He soon finds himself standing outside Charles’s house. A woman is gardening out the front; a conversation with a grieving mother who tells him how much her son looked up to him and the other athletes is the last part of the lesson for ‘golden boy’.
Imparting the lesson to his own son many years later completes the learning for ‘golden boy’.
I wanted there to be more for ‘golden boy’; as in a HEA ending at the least. But I’m a romantic realist and fully appreciated and enjoyed the realness of ‘golden boy’s’ character. However, when I purchased, for some reason I didn’t grasp the words ‘short story’. But upon further reflection there didn’t need to be more and the romance is in the relationship between the father and the son. The story is perfectly formed. Beautifully written. Short. But complete. Will look for longer works from JSB. Liking his style very much!