A brisk morning in Harmony USA. The willow outside the home was dancing in the breeze of the new day. Set in the middle of the courtyard the tree had nowhere to grow, but up. Still it forced its way out. Cracks lining the asphalt walkway told the story of adventurous roots below, sawed off branches as wide as lumberjacks were portals to the stories of growth subdued, and pits in the broad base of the willow invoked memories of blight subdued.
The home was that of a young boy named Iris. Born in Jamaica, Iris came to Harmony in his youth. The foster home he lived in was run by a bubbly woman named Jasmine, but the kids all called her J. Time had treated J well but life was not as fair. Leaving home before her sixteenth birthday, J worked her way from the mountains to the heart of Kingston. Thanks in large part to the love and example set for her by her father, J was able to work a future when none believed she had one. Stints as a seamstress, nurse, and store owner had given her a reputation for working a way when others saw none. Bold and unflexing, she was a tornado few could entertain. Her trysts with love left a trail of heartbreak, civil disobedience, three girls and Iris under her care. After months crafting their Visa application, J was able to bring her lot to the States and start anew.
They found a home for rent under a cousin J had contacted before arriving. The two-story house was rundown, paint peeling, but vacant, other than the mice that scampered across the birch panel floors in the night. Now life was stable, or more so than it had been. They spent months renovating the space. When they were through, J looked at the work they had done and decided to open their doors to neighborhood children running through life with no one to guide them.
Iris had many brothers and sisters now. He was bunking a boy named Pan, now his younger brother. Iris didn’t mind rooming with him, in fact he enjoyed most of it. Forced to the lower bunk, given the lumpy spring mattrass meant for Pan, constantly struggling to placate Pan’s irracitic temper, and the room a constant and unforgiving mess were all manageable. It was the lying that got Iris. Corners of the room littered with legos, action figures, balled disgarded shreds of homework, and stained clothes. A lost one legged Barbie hid at the far side of the cavern under their bed, her haven from the daily chaos. Creme colored walls with a single poster and one framed picture, a ceiling peppered with glow-in-the-dark stars, one coffin width closet to hold all of their dress clothes, two dressers for everything else, and one desk pressed against the wall between the dressers. The playful clutter was atop the furniture as well. All of the chaos was fun and Iris loved it, but the lies were what got him upset. Often the lies spun out of control and Iris was left trying to keep the pieces together.
A reflective, caring, and reserved boy Iris loved to dream, think far into the future, make jokes, and MOVE. Little did he know, his life was less under his control than the circumstances he was under and the whims of people he would never get the chance to meet. The mind of this young man was chaos. This morning as he gazed through the haze of his slumber he had to choose...
Should I wake up and wash the crust off my face and get going or sleep in?