Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fiction: Speak Through the Word of Vulcan



3rd entry for the #BlogBattle

“Papa, what is a prophet?”

The clouds were wispy and the air was crisp blowing against the wood and mud brick house on the side of the cliff.  Ketut's father was leaning against the balcony looking at the rippling ocean underneath them. Down on the beach there was only a couple of people waiting for the surfer that was still in the waves, and Ketut's sisters playing a game of paleta.

“Well son, where did you hear that word?” Ketut's family was a mixed affair of cultures and beliefs but had never spoken of prophets, although Enrique was always glad to answer his son´s intriguing questions.

The family had just arrived for the first time to the coast of Lima to spend the summer with the Peruvian grand parents; the girls were enjoying the beach with their cousins while Ketut spent his time discovering things about his father´s childhood in the old house on the cliff.  Dewi, his mother had gone with his Abuela to the mountains to learn the Andean art of weaving and natural dyeing. Enrique simply enjoyed finally being home after years of travel, and eating his favorite Peruvian dishes while constantly answering Ketut's inquiries, as he did wherever they were.

“I just found this book in the dusty shelves of Abuelo's library, he said you read it when you were a few years older than me.” Ketut held up an old battered copy of The Prophet by Khalil Gibran.  On the first page was a messy scribble that said “Propiedad de Enrique”.

Receiving the book from his son, Enrique couldn't help but reminisce about where that book had come from.  During his last years in Secundaria, Ketut's father used to spend the afternoons wandering the streets of the center of Lima, looking through old bookstores with crumbling wall paint and old men sitting in rickety chairs.  This book had been just one of many discolored and dog-eared volumes on a table with a dirty sign that read “Filosofía y Teología”.  

“What is it about Papa?”

Looking up at his son, he answered “Well, a prophet is a person who speaks the word of God, in this book there is prophet that visits a town and all the villagers ask him questions about life and he answers them through the word of God.”

“Which God, Papa?” Ketut had already learned a lot about Balinese Gods and Demons and Spirits, his mother told him stories all the time, as had his father about the Andean Gods like Inti the Sun God and Quilla the Moon. He had even learned of the existence of the Muslim god Allah through his neighbors in Bali that had emigrated from Java, but they hadn't told him much.

“There are so many gods though, how can this Prophet talk only of one? This confuses me, I like to know there are many gods.” Ketut sounded worried and a little anxious.

“That is the beauty of this book, it is not about any God in particular but about the feeling of God, the way God is everywhere in every sense and if you believe and have faith then you can overcome any obstacle that life may bring you.”

Ketut still seemed a bit confused. He had never heard of a prophet before, or of someone that spoke the word of God. He had never even heard of Jesus.

“Don´t worry son, you do not have to choose to believe in only one God nor do you have to forget about all the other Gods you know, or to believe at all. This book is beautiful to read because it lets you see things you wouldn't see otherwise. Read it with an open heart and open mind. There are many books like this; every culture has their own beliefs about God. For example did you know that in Ancient Greece, the people believed that there was a God called Vulcan? He was the God of fire; he is the namesake of your beloved volcanoes. The same way as you know the Balinese and Andean Gods, you can learn about hundreds of others. You can read books or talk to people, it doesn't mean you have to believe in any of them, or that you have to pick.”

“I like that Vulcan god Papa, but he isn´t a prophet.” He answers thoughtfully and continues,  “Are there many prophets also like there are many gods?”

“Yes son, there are. You can learn all about them too. When your Abuela comes back from Cusco you can ask her all about Jesus, some people believe he is a prophet and some that he is the Son of God. Jesus is who Abuela believes in. There is so much you can learn about peoples´ beliefs just by talking to them.  You will discover all kinds of truths this way.”

“Thank you Papa.  Maybe I can be the prophet for Vulcan.”

“Yes Ketut, you can most definitely be that.” Enrique says hugging his son as the last rays of sunlight hide behind the ocean and the girls come run up the stairs laughing. It had been a good day.



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