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A Space of Short Stories: The Rediscovery of Simon Lawrence

As he was falling to the ground, a feeling of insignificance took over him. When his head touched the floor, he could smell the dirt on it. He looked up at Bob and Bob seemed untouchable, gigantic, and almighty. Young Simon wanted to get up and hit him back, but he wouldn’t dare. Lying on the ground, his humiliation had completely possessed him. It didn’t matter how much he wanted to fight back, because Bob, the giant classmate with the tough fist, had beaten Simon not only physically but emotionally too. “I hope that teaches you a lesson bitch,” Bob said. Simon just looked at him like when a scared puppy looks at his master. Bob left. Simon finally got up, cleaned the dirt off his clothes, and wiped the blood from his nose.

           At three o’clock, as always, Simon’s mother was waiting for him. “My goodness, what has happened to you?” she said to Simon as she saw his swollen eye and his broken nose. “It is nothing mommy,” Simon said. Yet, her mother was concerned, it was the third time young Simon, a five year-old with no dreams or hopes, had been beaten at school that year. When they got home, her mother cleaned him up. “God, Simon what are we going to do with you? This cannot keep happening,” her mother said. Simon looked at her and simply shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t care, it didn’t matter to him. He felt like he couldn’t do anything about it. He felt abandoned in a world where no way out seemed possible. “We have to fix your face Simon, your father cannot see you like this,” his mother told him. “My father?” Simon asked her. She looked at him and tried to calm herself down. She kneeled down and grabbed Simon by the arm. “Look, I hadn’t told you, but your father called me. He wants to meet you.” “Really?” Simon replied, as his face all of the sudden lighted up. His eyes seemed like they were about to pop out of his face. His cheeks seemed blushed. “What? Really? Will I meet my dad?” He simply couldn’t believe it.

          The next day, a Friday morning almost like any other, Simon’s mom woke him up very early. “Rise and shine my darling. Rise and shine,” she said. Poor Simon had barely been able to sleep thinking he would at last meet his dad. “Is it the time now mommy?” he asked. “Yeah. Today you won’t go to school, your dad is waiting for you.  So come on, we have to make you look all handsome.” “Mommy should I wear my tie?” Simon asked her. “Oh my boy, not really,” she replied. Yet, Simon’s sad face immediately charmed her: “Well, OK if that is what you want, I’ll bring you your tie.”

          An hour later, they finally reached the address. As Simon was stepping out of the car, he looked up to the building. The magnificent phallic structure seemed to extend all the way into the skies, as if it had no ending, as if it was infinite. “Is that where Papa works?” Simon asked his mom. “Yes darling,” she said. Simon just shook his head like when you know something extraordinary has happened and yet you cannot believe it. They entered the building. Many people on shiny suits were running on every direction. Simon and his mom went to the front desk. “Excuse me, I have an appointment with Sir Malcolm Lawrence,” Simon’s mom said. “Of course. He is on floor 500th,” the man behind the desk told her. “500th!” Simon said. “That is right young man. He is on the top floor. You must be really important if he is making time for you,” the man told him. Simon and his mom went into the lift, where an old man dressed as a butler opened the door for them and took them to the 500th floor. As the lift was going up, Simon could see all of London at his feet shrinking little by little. Five minutes later a bell rang, the lift’s doors opened, and an elegant woman at the other end of the long hallway said: “You must be Simon. Welcome to the Empire Corporation. Please follow me.” As he was walking into the labyrinth of offices, Simon noticed a large magnificent chandelier on the ceiling, the marble floors reflecting his own image as if they were mirrors, the endless dance of people in shiny suits coming and going, and the thundering plasmas hanging on the wall. “Please take a seat. He will be right with you,” the woman said.

            Simon climbed all the way up to the enormous leather couch just outside his father’s office. He looked at the door, and it seemed invincible, like the gates of a castle guarding a king. Simon’s heart was beating faster and faster. His hands were sweating like never before. His legs were trembling. “I told you I didn’t want that. You’ll change all of this and you will bring it back to me in two hours,” a deep and powerful voice was heard behind the door. “Of course Sir Malcolm. I am truly sorry for this,” an anxious young man said as he was coming out of Simon’s dad’s office. Then, his father secretary, sitting in front of Simon, picked up the phone and said: “Sir Malcolm I have the Prime Minister for you on line one.” Hanging up, she looked at Simon and smiled. The young boy was eager for the time to arrive when the magnificent door would open for him. Ten minutes passed, but for Simon it were like 15 hours. “He is ready for you Simon,” the secretary finally said. Young Simon jumped off the couch and nervously looked at his mother. “You go my boy. I’ll wait for you here,” his mother told him. Simon just nodded his head quickly like a woodpecker. The secretary opened the door. Simon, gently, one slow step at a time, entered the office. His whole body was shaking like a leaf. He wanted to control himself, to put himself together, but he couldn’t. As he entered the office, he saw at the very end, 800 meters away from him, a behemoth desk, and behind the desk, a colossal chair like the throne of the Queen. On the chair, facing the other side, was the strongest, tallest, most titanic man Simon had ever seen. Simon kept walking, step by step, towards the desk. All of the sudden, the swivel chair gyrated, and as it did the man’s face was revealed. His face had a glow like that of the Gods, immediately paralyzing Simon altogether.

           The stiffed young boy stood there just looking, staring into the mighty eyes of his father. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t think, he couldn’t say anything. “My boy Simon,” the man with the croaky voice that made the windows quiver said. “I have been waiting to meet you for a long time,” the man continued. Simon, all rigid like if his body was made of steel, couldn’t even blink. “Come here my boy,” his father said, as Simon’s feet propelled him off the floor springing like a gazelle towards his father. Then, his father picked him up and put him on his lap. “Thank you so much Papa,” Simon said. His father looked at him, and with his hand grabbed Simon’s chin, pulling Simon’s head up. “Well, well, well. What do we have here? What happened to your nose?” his father asked him. “It doesn’t matter,” Simon replied. “Of course it matters,” his father interjected. “But I know you will fix it. Right?” Simon sighed and nodded his head. For the next two hours Simon was on top of the world, nothing could take away from him the feeling of peace and protection he felt sitting on his dad’s lap. They talked about everything: about Simon’s fascination with cinema, about his father’s adventures travelling all around the Solar System, about Simon’s love for mathematics, about his father's trip to the Amazon, everything without exception was covered. Then, his dad’s secretary came in. “They are waiting for you Sir,” she said. “My dear boy I must leave you now, but you have to know I will be with you from now on and to eternity,” Simon’s father told him. As the young boy was walking out of the office, he felt, for the first time in his life, complete. He was dreaming but the dream was real this time. As he was leaving, he realized he wasn’t walking: he was floating on the air flying towards his mother. At that moment his world was perfect, pristine, sublime as only the Angels are. This moment was sacred for Simon, ignoring completely, however, that that would be the first and last time he would ever see his father.

          The next Monday he went back to school as a reborn man. Later on, in the courtyard, Bob ambushed Simon again. “Where do you think you are going, you bitch?” Bob said. Simon looked at Bob, his face looked familiar, his voice he recognized, his factions he acknowledged, yet Bob looked different that day. Simon stared at him, and looking at him closely he was shocked to see that giant Bob had shrank. He was no longer taller than Simon, at most they were the same height now. “Give me my money bitch!” Bob said, demanding as per usual for Simon to surrender his money. Simon didn’t do anything. He didn’t move, he didn’t speak, he just calmly shook his head. Bob, infuriated as he always easily became, raised his fist and punched Simon. Simon’s nose swiftly started to bleed, and his body flew out into the air, eventually falling to the ground. Lying down on the dirt, Simon looked at Bob, but this time, this time it was different: Simon stood up, and this time, he hit him back.

     

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