Chances for Changes
by Ruwen Rouhs
Two Fathers, Two Real Fathers or A Rainbow Family
"Hi Adam, my boy! Tomorrow you will be a sophomore! Aren't you proud? You got great grades in last year's report, and I have a bet running with Dec that you will do even better this year."
Adam was sitting in the dusk on the porch of Sparrow Lane 15, his home, staring at the Freer's house on the other side of the garden. Against the night sky it looked desolate, nearly dead. No lights were shining behind the window panes. It was untenanted, since Vic didn't live there anymore.
"Hi big boy, don't be sad." Sitting down beside Adam, Broder put his arm around his son's shoulder as if to shelter him from the evening breeze. "Do you know the Legend of the Dream Catcher , the story of the encounter of a Lakota spiritual leader and Iktomi, the great trickster and teacher of wisdom? In his vision, Iktomi appeared in the form of a spider and spoke to the leader in the sacred language. As he spoke, Iktomi the spider took the elder's willow hoop which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life...and how we begin our lives as infants and we move on to childhood, and then to adulthood. Finally, we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.
"But," Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, "in each time of life there are many forces -- some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But if you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and steer you in the wrong direction." He continued, "There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with the harmony of nature, and also with the Great Spirit and all of his wonderful teachings." All the while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web, starting from the outside and working towards the center. When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said . "See, the web is a perfect circle, but there is a hole in the center of the circle. Use the web to help yourself and your people to reach your goals and make use of your people's ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas -- and the bad ones will go through the hole."
The Lakota elder passed on his vision to his people and now the Sioux Indians use the dream catcher as the web of their life. It is hung above their beds or in their home to sift their dreams and visions. The good in their dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them...but the evil in their dreams escapes through the hole in the center of the web and are no longer a part of them.
They believe that the dream catcher holds the destiny of their future.
Events remembered by Adam, have the heading 'ADAM:'.
Those remembered by Adam, Broder, Dec and Liam (also called Lilek) are headed 'RAINBOW FAMILY': .
The swift night breeze let the sparks of the dying campfire dance like little stars up towards the Milky Way. It was close to midnight on the last day of the summer camp. Fourteen students of Oakville High were squatting in a half circle around the low-burning fire. They were waiting for the last stroke of midnight on the clock in the church steeple, further down the valley.
With the last stroke, Pete stood up. Gazing up to the sky, he announced gravely, "There are three decisions left before we close our camp. But I think I could reduce them to two. Let us decide the case of Gerry and Jeff together." Passing a wicker basket around he raised his voice slightly, "Any one of the Weird Varans who votes for the two as full members of our fellowship has to drop a white pebble into the basket; any one who opposed their membership a dark one. Now! The decision is up to you!"
Twelve pebbles dropped into the basket, click by click, one pebble after the other. Mel took the basket and started to count, "One, two three…..twelve white pebbles!" she announced. "All rise!"
The twelve founding members of the Weird Varans rose and one after the other took Gerry and Jeff, the former Judges, in a tight embrace: "Welcome Gerry! Welcome Jeff!"
"Now let me move to our next case, a sad one! Vic will leave Dartsborough tomorrow with his parents for Brisbane. One of the founding fellows of the Weird Varans will venture into the world. But he ventures to the roots of the Juggers. Down Under, he can visit the places where the Juggers fought their first battles, where the heroes spilled their blood, suffered hunger and thirst. Greet our kinsmen down there!"
With these words he presented Vic with a shirt adorned with the emblem of the Weird Varans, the deadly Comodo Varan and their colourful banner. "Vic, you will stay a Weird Varan all your life and also a member of the first Jugger club of Dartsborough."
Later, long after the fire had died, Adam and Vic went down to the small stream hand in hand. Sitting on a log and listening to the gurgle of the brook Vic sighed, "These were the best times of my life Adam, these ten months with you!"
"No Vic, these ten months are our best times. This time will never belong to the past. This time will never be gone by! It will stay!"
Next noon a cab drove up at the Freer's front door to carry Vic, Zach and their parents to the airport. Adam was showing his friends off together with Broder and Dec who had taken time off to say good-bye to their neighbors. Vic and Adam tried to play the parting cool, till the very moment Vic had to climb into the cab. Then, without a word, the two friends embraced each other, and their lengthy hug turned into a last kiss. "Bye Vic, see you soon!" with this Adam turned his back to the cab, to prevent himself from crying. "Sure Adam, next Christmas, they have summer break then in Australia!"
Lilek had arrived in time to tell Zach good-bye. The two boys fooled around till the last moment. "Hey Zach, send me a Koala bear from Down Under!" Lilek begged.
"Yeah Lilek, I will do it! Do you want the pet by surface mail or should I use the shorter way directly through the inner core of the earth!"
"You stupid, the core is molten ore, about 7000° hot! Do you think I want a well-done pet? I want a little bear for cuddling, a little bear like you!"
As soon as the cab left, Lilek broke down. Sobbing uncontrollably, he jumped onto his bike and began to follow the leaving car, pedalling like crazy.
With blurry eyes, Adam spotted Lilek zigzagging behind the cab. "Stop Lilek, stop Lilek! You will get run over!" He knew he had to prevent an accident. Instantly he leaped upon his bike. Luckily, he caught up with him before the cab reached the busy main street.
"Hi Lilek, let me escort you to your place."
"I am so sad Adam!" the small boy sobbed, "Will I ever find another friend like Zach?"
"I am heartsick also, my buddy, because Vic has left! ---- But I know a remedy. Let's race each other to your place. This will overcome our anguish!"
"You both have a wish coming!" Dec grinned at Adam during the late, late dinner.
"It will be Border's 46 th birthday tomorrow, I know, but why do I have a wish coming?" Adam asked back curiously.
"Don't you remember, Adam? Up to the day Broder picked you up, your name was Chas. Tomorrow it's your first birthday as Adam ! It's a year now you accepted the new name! So you have a wish coming too!"
"I am not rug rat anymore, Dec! I don't need a pacifier! I am much harder to please. I want something special. You will not have enough money to get the present, not even if you rob a bank!"
"I am dead serious, boy! Am I right Broder? Adam's first birthday is tomorrow!"
"I never looked at it like this, Marlow Dekker. But detectives always know better! But it's too late now to go shopping. It's close to midnight and stores aren't open anymore!"
"I didn't talk of buying something! I hope for a miracle!" Adam spoke up.
"You are a dreamer my boy! Miracles hardly ever happen. But believe in it and your wish will come true!"
Adam couldn't get off to sleep. He tossed and turned in bed. He was back in school for two weeks already, but he still missed Vic, HIS VIC . The desk beside him was still vacant. On his first day as a sophomore the cheese ball Donald had tried to become his desk neighbour, but Adam had bluntly rejected his approach. He had been hoping for a miracle; for Vic showing up as if he had never gone to Brisbane, or for a new student, a special one, a student he was immediately attracted to. None of his wishes had come true, no miracle had happened. Adam still was not himself again.
It was still dark when a faint scratching on the windowsill aroused Adam from his light slumber. A cat he thought or a bird. He turned and covered his head with the pillow. Minutes later or seconds only, he wasn't sure about it, the doorbell rang out. First a short shrill buzz, moments later two more buzzes. Broder came stumbling to his bedroom, slightly cursing. "Damn it, not even five in the morning, who the heck?" he muttered drowsily.
His voice suddenly changed completely when he opened the front door, "Hi Lilek! Hey my boy! Liam, my little friend!"
Like a bolt Adam rushed out of his room, only to bump into Dec in the dark corridor. Broder was in the entrance trying to lift up Lilek. The small boy was limp, nearly lifeless, his dark eyes closed and he was moaning as if in great pain.
"Help me Dec, he's so limp I can't pick him up." Together, Broder and Dec carried the non-responsive boy into the house. He was clad in just a pair of outgrown boxers, a flimsy t-shirt and flip-flops. But he was clutching his favourite possession in his arms, his big red soccer ball.
Dec had locked the living room door the evening before, because of the birthday breakfast ahead. Therefore Adam commanded "Get Lilek into my room, put him into my bed. It's still warm."
In the soft light of the nightstand Lilek's face looked a mess, as did his t-shirt. Both were blood-smeared. Also his left temple had blood on it.
"Lilek, little brother, what happened? Please, little brother, wake up!" Adam tried to extract some information from his friend.
"Leave him alone! He is in a state of shock and cold as a stone. Get into bed Adam, and hug him tightly! Try to warm him up. Broder and I will clean his face."
While Adam spooned Lilek, Dec used a damp cloth to clean Lilek's face. Luckily, the damage was not as bad as it seemed at first sight. The smears of blood on his face and on his shirt seemed to originate from a nosebleed, and there was just a big bluish bruise in his temple, not a cut.
Adam's body heat and his tender fondling brought Lilek back to life. Slowly, he came out of the state of shock and began to cry. With a wailing voice he began mumbling, "Dick and Walker called me a bastard! They called me chink, rice-head, half-caste ! They called me a bastard !"
"Who called you a bastard?" Adam asked, hugging Lilek tighter.
"Dick and Walker! They called me asshole, jackass, faggot !" Lilek wailed, "They told me, if you call our dad "Dad" again, we will kill you! Don't dare call our dad "Dad" ever again! He is not your dad, you fucking yellow bastard . ---- Then they began to beat me!"
Dec, who could not deny his vocation as a police officer, began to interrogate Lilek cautiously. "Poor Lilek! Calm down. You are safe now. Adam loves you! Broder loves you! I love you! We care for you! Nobody will beat you up anymore, nobody will insult you, call you bad names."
After Lilek had quieted down slightly, Dec fed him some warm tea and then asked, "Can you tell us what happened, little friend? We have to know, to be able to help!"
Snivelling and pausing for reflection, Lilek began to tell. "Mom got a boyfriend, she got Rob. She has known Rob already for a long time. At first she stayed away every other weekend and left me alone at home. She didn't tell me why and I didn't ask. And then she stayed away every other night. I asked her why and then she told me about Rob. She told me she has a boyfriend, but she still loves me like before. Later she introduced me to Rob. He was nice to me, brought little presents and allowed me to call him Dad!"
Lilek blow his nose, "Two weeks ago she told me they will have baby, she and Rob. They will have a little baby boy and they will get married. When I got sad, she consoled me. You will not only have a new baby brother, but also a new dad . I liked to idea, to have a dad. Then I learned I will not only have a new dad and a baby brother, but also two older brothers and a smaller sister! This news made me so happy, because I missed having a dad and brothers and sisters my entire life!"
"Lilek, that's quite a big surprise! You never told me about that!" Adam said, caressing Liam's face.
"This weekend should be the great day, the day of the big coming together with my new brothers and sister. We should get acquainted with each other, Mom told me."
Sighing unhappily, he continued, "The whole week before, I had the dithers. I was curious about my new brothers and sister. I was happy and nervous at the same time. I was full of expectation."
Now Lilek paused for a long time, while he tried to squeeze himself even tighter to Adam. "But Dick and Walker, my new brothers, turned out to be bullies. Both are much bigger than I, and rough and always use vile words. Evelyn, the girl, is a fat sissy, babyish and a pain in the neck. She monopolized my Mom immediately. Now I know, none of them wanted me for a brother!"
Distressed he snivelled, "Yesterday during dinner when I called Rob "Dad", Dick kicked me under the table. Every time I called Rob "Dad", I was kicked! I had to share my bedroom with my new brothers. I was supposed to sleep in my bed, while they should use their sleeping bags. I was the first in bed. When they finally came from the bathroom, Dick and Walker started to attack me. Dick, the older one, snatched away the bed cover. Get out of here! It's our bed! You can sleep in the corner."
"Don't dare to use our new sleeping bags. " Walker added.
When I didn't do according their wishes, they jumped on me and Dick began to beat my head against the bed frame. Walker began to hit me in the face with his fists, hissing: Do not dare to call our dad "Dad" again! We will kill you. You chink! You rice-head! You half-caste! He hit me till my nose started bleeding."
Lilek closed his eyes, "I can't remember what happened from there on. But later I woke up in the corner of my room on the floor. I was freezing! And Dick and Walker, both were snoring in my bed. I took my red soccer ball and decided to walk to you. I had to, you are my friends!"
The long, frantically delivered report of yesterday's events had exhausted Lilek. He sighed with relief and turned around to face Adam and snuggled up to his big friend. Just when Broder and Dec left the room, Lilek turned his head and fixed his eyes on Broder, "Broder once you promised to start a new family, a gang open for any boy. I want to stay with you and Adam and Dec. Please, you promised!" Then he fell into a deep sleep.
About two hours later, Adam was awakened by Broder talking into the phone with a strident voice "Mrs. Lek. It's me, Broder Ryder!" Adam could not understand her answer. Then Broder again: "Yes lady, Adam's father! Can't you remember me? Can you please give me some background information?"
Dec's voice was heard, "Turn on the speakerphone, Broder! I need to listen to the conversation too."
"You want to talk to Lilek?" Lilek's mother asked back, "Wait a minute! I will get him. He is still asleep. We have nice guests, his new brothers!" Then Adam heard her shouting "Get up Lilek! Border's calling! Dick and Walker, get up too, it's already eight o'clock!"
Nothing happened for a moment. Then Broder informed her with icy voice, "No use to call for Lilek, Mrs. Lek. Your son is not at home. He is here with us, with Adam. He is sleeping now." Mrs. Lek's answer couldn't be heard, then Broder again, "Why??? He ran away from you and his new brothers. Last night! In the dead of last night he turned up here! He was looking for refuge at his friend's!"
Now Adam couldn't stay in bed any longer. Jumping out of bed, he joined his two fathers in the office.
Now hell broke loose at the other end of the line. Harsh voices were heard. Children cried! After the ruckus had died down a little, a booming self-opinionated voice nearly busted the loudspeaker, "I am Robert Guscourt. Police officer Guscourt! What did you do to Liam Lek? Where is he? Have you abducted my son? I will report this to the Police Department immediately! "
Dec took the receiver, "Stop it officer! I am Detective Marlowe Dekker! I think you have heard of me. I am the new head of the Child and Youth service!" When Robert Guscourt's voice didn't soften, "You should be well aware of your responsibilities as a Police officer. You should be aware of your responsibilities in respect to children entrusted to your care, your own children as well as strange ones. We should discuss the situation seriously and find an agreeable solution. Or do you want to be accused of willful neglect of a boy of 12? I am serious, sir!"
A battle of words set about on the other side of the line. The voices of Rob and Lilek's mother clashed. Dick and Walker were interrogated by both of them. As expected by Dec, the brother's view of the events of the preceding evening contradicted Lilek's account extremely. Knowing his two bullies pretty well, Rob got angry and called for the truth, threatening a penalty. In between the snivelling of their sister Evelyn could be heard, and then again the accusations of Lilek's worried mother.
Dec decided to go between, knowing that it was impossible to reconstruct the events of the evening before. He knew he had to calm down the hot discussion on the other end of the line. "Rob, at the moment there is no sense in discussing this incident any longer. Even if you beat your boys, the events will stay obscured because both sides have a different view of the occurrences."
Broder added, "At the moment it is of foremost priority to find a solution for Lilek's problem. Throwing the three boys together like potatoes in a basket will not work. The first tryout failed. So will the next. Before you try it again, you have to make sure Dick and Walker will accept Lilek as their brother. For the moment it's the best to keep the boys apart till they are able to cope with the new situation. My offer is, to keep Lilek with us!"
Now Lilek's mother began to argue heavily against such a solution. "Lilek is my son. I have the right to decide what the best is for him. I want him here. I have decided to marry Rob and give Liam the father he needs. In the end, the boys will accept each other!"
"No way Miss Lek, you can't put these three boys together, Lilek and Dick and Walker are just too different. After the events of last evening, I fear it just could end in a Cain and Abel story. It nearly has already!"
This argument resulted in a break of the verbal exchange, which Adam used to put forward a suggestion. "Mrs. Lek, its Adam. You know I am a friend of Lilek, the best one he has since Zach has left. I know it's hard for you, but please do Lilek a favour. A big favour! Do it because you love him. Allow Lilek to stay with me for now. Lilek and I, we like each other like brothers. And be sure, Broder and Dec will care for us like fathers. Please agree to our offer. Please do it for Liam's sake."
After a long pause for refection, Lilek's mother agreed. Heavy-hearted, she offered a compromise, "He may stay with you as long as necessary. But you have to promise me to treat him really like a brother!"
"Wake up, Lilek! Wake up Liam. My little brother! Wake up, it's breakfast time. It's close to eight already!" Adam pulled the duvet off Lilek and tickled the soles of his small feet.
In surprise, Lilek looked around in the strange room. At first he seemed not to remember what had happened the night before, but then it dawned on him. He straightened up, glanced big eyed at Adam, and then heaved a sigh of relief, "Thanks!" closing his eyes again and sinking back in the cushions, "Thanks Adam!" then a little hesitating, "Thanks big brother!"
While Lilek headed to the bathroom still drowsy, Adam began to search his spare clothes for a t-shirt to replace Liam's bloodied one. Finally he decided on the one with the print "World Soccer Championship 2006". This was Adam's favorite shirt, but he had outgrown it. Since he was in Broder's guardianship, he had developed like a sapling transplanted from the dry dessert to a paradise garden. Now he was nearly a head taller than the summer before. Adam decided on this shirt because it was the T he had gotten from Broder as the first sign of affection a year ago, and now he wanted to show Lilek he loved him like a brother.
"Hey boys, get going! Birthday breakfast is ready, and Broder is jumpy like a little boy! He can't wait for his birthday any longer!" Dec called through the open living-room door. "Hurry up Lilek, hurry up Adam!
With a flourish movement like an impresario of a stage company, Dec opened the door of the living room, offering the view of a well-laid table with innumerable burning candles and three-tier cream cake. On the wall opposite the door, a big shield like a coat of arms announced:
While Broder took Dec in a big hug, he spotted Lilek wearing Adam's t-shirt out of the corner of his eye. For a moment he confused the two boys, but then his heart began to jump and he burst out happily, "Welcome my two boys to the greatest birthday party on earth!"
Adam eyeing the shield complained laughingly "What's this? I will be 16 soon! I am not a baby anymore!" Then however he realized the meaning. It was his first anniversary as Adam. "Thanks Dec!" he giggled, "You missed something, however!" Grinning he darted back to his room, showed up with a box of colored crayons and edited the birthday greetings. The shield now read:
BRODER + DEC
Then he took Lilek by the hand and began to dance around: "I got two fathers! I got two fathers! I got two fathers!" At first Lilek smiled happily also and joined into the singing, but suddenly his face turned sober and tears streamed down his face.
Now it was on Dec. He looked questioning to Broder, and then took Adam's crayon impulsively and changed the inscription to:
BRODER + DEC
ADAM + LIAM
With a big smile, Adam to Lilek "Help me please Liam. It's our task now to adorn the shield with a garland of flowers in the colors of the rainbow!"
Later, feasting on the cream cake and eyeing their job critically, Liam announced proudly: "Look, it's a real emblem now, a real coat of arms; the coat of arms of an irresistible gang, the RAINBOW GANG, the gang of Broder, Dec, Adam and Liam!"
The smooth surface of the Sky Eye reflected the golden September sun like a mirror. The sandy beach seemed to be of pure gold, while the green grass shaded by old willow trees was still wet from morning dew. The four members of the Rainbow Gang were the only visitors at the small lake high up in the mountains.
Leaving the task to set up the picnic table to Broder and Dec, Adam stripped naked and plunged into the cold water, whooping Indian war cries. "Come on in, Liam! It's cold, but perfect!"
"But I haven't got my trunks!"
"Don't be shy! Look at me!" Adam jumped out of the water revealing his bare bottom. "Nobody is around but us, and my fathers!"
Still embarrassed, Lilek stripped and waded slowly into the cool lake, hiding his special parts with both hands. Noiseless, Broder and Dec, both wearing swimming trunks, sneaked up behind Lilek and took hold of him, lifted him high into the air and counting "One, two, three", threw him into the deeper water where Adam was waiting.
Swimming and splashing, the four enjoyed the next fifteen minutes in the cold water till everyone's teeth chattered and their lips turned violet-blue. Then both adults retreated to the picnic site in the shade of the willow trees, while Adam and Liam ventured with an air-float to the centre of Sky Eye.
Relaxing leisurely on the float in the brooding noon sun, Lilek turned to his big friend, "Can I ask you something, Adam?" When Adam didn't answer immediately, "Zach told me Broder has adopted you, therefore he is your father and you can call him Dad. But you are also calling Dec "Dad"? Why is this? Did he adopt you also?"
Adam had never wasted a single thought about this question before. Swallowing down his surprise, he stated "Broder and Dec are living together, they are partners for life. They are my family, my fathers and mothers. Therefore I am calling both "Dad"!"
After a long, long break Lilek sighed, "I would like to call Broder and Dec "Dads" also. I wish to become their son! I do not want to become Rob's son and the brother of Dick and Walker. ----- Adam, I would like to be your brother, your little Bro!"
Later, when Broder called the boys back to the beach for a picnic, both were still in a contemplative mood. Adam's mind was stirred up by conflicting emotions. He already had to share Broder with Dec. On the one hand he missed Border's undivided attention, but on the other hand he enjoyed Dec being more like a big brother than a father, a big brother who didn't get tired to introduce Adam to a world unknown so far. His concern now was that he had to share the attention of both of his dads with Lilek. However, this question only worried Adam for a short time. He looked at Liam and was absolutely sure Liam would be the ideal younger brother, the brother he had always longed for, the little brother who would share the merits of a happy family life with him.
And Lilek? His concerns were of different nature. Would Broder and Dec accept him as their son? About Adam he felt sure. Adam liked him, loved him. He had proven this before. The other problem however was much harder. He thought of his mother and his heart grew heavy. He loved her and she loved him. She had loved him as long as he could remember. But now she had decided on a new family. It was her right to do so! Would she allow him to stay with Adam, Broder and Dec? Would she allow him to become also part of a new family, a family he had chosen of his own will? Right away he couldn't envisage a solution. His mind ran crazy! He had to ask Broder or Dec or both! He decided to ask Dec first.
The hearty appetite pushed Adam's contemplative mood to the back of his mind. He enjoyed clowning around with Broder and Dec. His two fathers behaved psyched up in a way Adam had never observed before.
"What's up? You are funny like kindergarten kids. Is there something you have to tell us, me and Liam? Or are you tipsy? There is no buzz around! "
Broder just giggled and Dec blurted out, "I know something great will happen later today! I don't know what. Something totally unexpected will happen. My gut instincts tell me! We just have to wait. I can feel it! There is a big surprise, and Broder has this feeling too!" He rose with a laugh and dashed away to a thicket at the water's edge to relieve himself.
Lilek had been moody and contemplative all during the picnic. He hardly ate. When Dec left, he excused himself with a pensive face, walked slowly down to the waterside, got down on his haunches and stared over to the far side of the Sky Eye. Liam contemplated the situation again, should I stay with my mother and Rob and the others or should I stay with Adam, Broder and Dec? Suddenly he remembered a little clip, he had seen on YouTube. A slim boy named Terrence was singing a song " Ik heb twee vaders ". Liam liked the song immediately and tried to follow the subtitles. That was really hard but after a time he got the lyrics and he still knew the refrain by heart:
I have two fathers,
two real fathers,
sometimes cool and sometimes strict!
But it's going great with us!
I have two fathers,
two real fathers,
who, if they have to
both can be my mother!
On the Sky Eye, on the float, Adam had told him Broder and Dec are his fathers and his mothers, just like the song said! He had to ask!
On his way back, Dec ran up to Lilek. The boy was crouching in the sand, like a picture of misery. Getting down on his heels, he put an arm around Liam's shoulders and with his other hand he caressed Liam's dark hair. Cautiously he tried to probe into the boy's mind.
"Still sad, Liam? Still worried? You don't have to, Liam. Broder told you already, you can stay with Adam and him and me as long as you want. Your mother agreed to it, heavy-hearted. You can stay tonight; you can stay till tomorrow, and if you like you can stay all the days ahead. You can stay as long you want! But she told me, you also can come back to her any time you want, day or night!"
Lilek suddenly began to cry, faintly only at first, but then he broke into a passion of tears. "Dec, I don't know what to do! It's so sad! I love my mother, but I just can't go home as long Rob is around with his boys. Mom loves Rob and she wants to stay with him, and they want to start a new family. Mom and Rob will have a baby, and the baby needs a mother and a father! The baby needs Mom and Rob. Oh, Dec!" Looking up to Dec, "Please let me stay with you! Let me stay with you and Broder. Let me stay with Adam!"
Dec didn't say a word. He knew the unexpected had just happened. He rose, lifted up Lilek and carried the feather-light boy back to the picnic site. There, he placed Lilek carefully like a fragile crystal vase on the blanket next to Adam and Broder. "The best birthday present is the unexpected one. It's the present that is coming out of the blue!", he said. Studying their surprised faces, he smiled "Adam, here is your brother Liam! Broder, here's our new son. It's Liam!"
Their car rolled into town with the evening breeze from the nearby mountains. Dec stopped in front of the "Red-speckled Tortoise", an old fashioned restaurant with a big terrace. As a birthday present, Dec had reserved a dining table on the very corner of the big terrace, offering the best view over the municipal park, beginning at the sports grounds and up to a grove far out on the hill.
When they arrived not a single table was vacant anymore, because Kermess was celebrated this weekend, with a grand display of fireworks scheduled to conclude the evening. From the stalls and fairground rides, the auto-scooters and the flying circus, swing boats and old fashioned merry-go-rounds near the sports ground were booming music and the voices were sounding over to the terrace. The whole scenery was topped by a slowly spinning Ferris Wheel.
Dec had reserved a small table for three persons only. Luckily the chubby waitress was nice enough to organize a small chair for Lilek. "I can get a fourth place setting for your boy." she addressed Broder. "Sir! You are late! There is no fourth serving of veal left. Fortunately your son is so small, so the three servings ordered in advance will be big enough to appease his appetite also!"
Halfway through the happy slurping and munching, Lilek seemed to shrink in his seat. Looking around, Adam discovered two sturdy boys searching the terrace for a vacant table. "There are Dick and Walker, Rob's boys." Lilek whispered with quivering voice. But then he jumped up, charged across the terrace and flung his arms around the neck of a woman waiting at the entrance. "Mom! Dear Mom!" he shouted and began to drag her over to their table beaming with joy. "That's Adam and Broder and that's Dec, my friends. Mom, dear Mom! I missed you so!" Noticing Rob, the boys and Evelyn, Lilek's voice turned gloomy but then he straightened up. "May I introduce you to Rob, Mom's friend, and his children!" he remarked tonelessly.
Broder tried to remedy the situation, "Nice to meet you Mrs. Lek and your new family. We didn't expect to meet you at this place tonight." Pointing at the occupied terrace, "Sorry, every place is taken and our table is too small to offer you seats."
While Lilek's mother still hugged her son, Rob bowed slightly, "Glad to meet you Mr. Ryder and Detective Dekker! I am so glad you are willing to care for my fiance's son. I am sure the situation will straighten out soon, but for the time being it's better for my boys and Lilek to stay apart."
After interchanging with Lilek in a dark corner for a long period of time, Mrs. Lek approached the table with tears in her eyes, holding Lilek by the hand, "Mr. Ryder, Mr. Dekker! I entrust my son to you for the time being. I know for sure you will treat him like fathers, and he promised me to be a good son and for Adam the best brother." Then she left, shading her eyes with her hand.
Adam took Liam in a big hug, "Everything will turn out right in time my Bro." and wiped off Lilek's tears. Then he turned to Broder and Dec, "Let's go down to the fair. An inward voice is telling me there is something else ahead, something surprisingly and unforeseeable."
Strolling through the fairground, Adam and Lilek filled up the last holes in their stomachs with soft ice, spun sugar and roasted almonds, while Broder and Dec preferred Coke. None of them was really keen to take fun rides, being too tired from the events of the night and the delightful excursion to the Sky Eye. Waiting for the firework display, they decided to leave the brightly illuminated part of the fair for the dimly lighted park.
At the exit a tent attracted their attention, a square tower tent with high walls and a banner on top. The tent was conspicuous, not because of it's size or construction, but by the changing colors of its semitransparent walls. The light coming from inside changed the walls' color and their brightness in an unpredictable way. Starting with white, the walls turned into a vivid red then their appearance changed suddenly to purple, turned into a deep blue and then began to pulse in a funky pink. Moments later the light went out inside and the tent looked black like the Kaaba. Then unexpectedly, faint lights emerged and slowly intensified into the flickering greenish glow of northern lights. The Great Spirit seemed to celebrate his disembodied dance! The magic tents drew the four visitors closer and closer.
Adam, taking Lilek by his hand, sneaked to the closed entrance. Cautiously he lifted the curtain to spy inwards. As if by magic the curtain swung back and revealed a life-size young man sitting on a pedestal, faintly reminiscent of a seated Buddha. The youth seemed to be of pure gold, sitting with its hands in the earth-touching position. His face was peaceful. With his emerald green eyes he smiled at the boys. Adam and Lilek stared at the golden youth and peace swept through their souls. Without moving his lips, the young man recited nearly inaudibly:
Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.
While Adam and Lilek tried to understand the message, the light in the tent went dull and with the light the youthful Buddha turned into an old man clad in a grey furry coat. Into his white hair three feathers were interwoven, tangling down to the left. A big grey wolf huddled beside him, baring the teeth, growling inaudibly. The man's head was lowered and his eyes closed. Suddenly a cold breeze filled the room. The boys shivered and were suddenly scared to the bones. Just when Lilek took Adam's arm to pull him outside, the old man raised his head and opened his eyes. His eyes cast a spell on the two and they couldn't move. The eyes grew bigger and bigger, they started to glow and their color changed from dark purple to a bright scarlet. When the boys couldn't withstand the stinging eyes and tried to avert, the old man raised his right arm and concealed his face with the piercing eyes with a dream-catcher, a willow hoop which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it and the grey wolf said:
The web will catch your good ideas!
The bad ones will go through the hole!
Suddenly white lights came flowing from the back of the tent, blinding the boys. They closed their eyes. When they opened them again, they faced a small boy in a white shirt sitting under a rainbow. The boy looked like a little Jesus herding his lambs. He smiled "Hey you! Hey Adam! Hey Liam! Touch this globe, touch the globe with both hands!" Then the sweet boy raised his eyes, lovely blue eyes, and directed his attention to the entrance, "Come on you two also! Come on in, Broder and Dec. Touch also this sphere of life!"
When Adam, Liam, Broder and Dec touched the small globe suspended midair cautiously with their palms, the lights went down in the tent, while inside the hollow globe discharges started to take place and the sphere expanded in size. Bolts of lightings flashed through sphere, their number increased more and more, till in the end the globe transformed into a fireball.
Adam looked up, but he wasn't able to see the sweet boy anymore. The light of the globe was so intense now that all four had to close their eyes. Then a soft voice broke the silence:
The Light will fight the Night!
The Light will win the Fight!
The Light will heal the scars!
In this very moment three heavy cannon shot made the whole fairground tremble and the light in the sphere extinguished. Adam, Lilek, Broder and Dec fled the miraculous tent head over heels, holding hands.
Outside of the fairground in the dark park, a big crowd had gathered, watching the fireworks fly up to the sky. Adam and Lilek, side by side, were standing in front of Broder and Dec. The boys leaned back against the fathers, amazed by the Peonies blooming in the night sky and the comets of Palm Shell nearly touching the stars. Crossetts crisscrossed the dark blue sky, Roman Candles unfolded their blinking fans and at the end of the fireworks the golden fire rained down from heaven to earth. With a last booming cannon shot the noise of the fireworks died. Applause welled up and the spectators cheered.
Adam took Lilek by the hand, "That's the start of a new life, a new year full of ideas!" and Broder took up the line, "full of dreams and visions!" and Dec continued, "yes, a new year full of expectations and challenges!" Finally Liam's voice rang up to the starry sky, "full of Adventures! Adventures! Adventures!" and the echo answered, "Ventures! Ventures! Ventures!"
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