Weird or Normal
tom walsh


     But then he noticed Hector’s bag still on the floor.  He sat up and put his seat back in its upright position.  He looked out the windows and he spied Hector sitting on a picnic table, his feet on the bench and his elbows on his thighs, his hands together with the fingers intertwined as he stared off into the distance.  Behind the rest area was a large field of grass that easily could have reached to Jason’s chest if he were to walk in it, and behind that started a forest.  Hector stared in that direction, and Jason imagined him at that moment a dreamer, a poet searching for inspiration or searching for words that would make his inspiration a reality, something tangible.
     He got slowly out of the car, knowing that his legs would be worse now than they had been.  He had to go to the bathroom, but he wanted to check in with Hector first.  He took his first few steps very slowly to get his walking legs back, and then he went over to the picnic table where Hector sat.  He sat down, too, not saying a word, and looked out at the grass and the forest.
     “Hello, amigo mío,” Hector said quietly.  “You have slept?”
     “I have slept,” Jason replied.  “I slept pretty well, too,” he fibbed, not wanting Hector to worry that he might be too sleepy to drive.
     “That is good,” Hector said, not removing his gaze from the scene before him.
     “What are you looking at?” Jason asked after a few long moments.
Hector shrugged.  “I do not know,” he said.  “I am not looking so much as I am thinking.  I never have seen this particular field before, or that forest behind it.  I am wondering what kind of life there is right before me that I cannot even see.  

"In that grass must live many snakes, insects, birds, perhaps even foxes and mice and other animals.  In the forest beyond, how many different creatures are living their lives right at this moment, with no idea at all that I am sitting here watching the edges of their world?  And they do not care that I watch.  It does not matter to them because it does not affect them.  Why are we trained to see only the surfaces of things and people without regard for the life that is deeper than the surface?  When we learn to live life that way, we lose the opportunity to see and feel the very essence of life, the very depths of life that we only can guess at because we do not see it.”
     “Maybe it’s too scary for us,” Jason said.  “Maybe if we were able to see the depths, we’d lose our minds.  Go insane.”
     Hector turned to him slowly and regarded him very curiously.  “That is a very wise thing that you say,” he told Jason.  “I am very impressed with your insight.”
     “Thanks,” Jason said awkwardly, not sure if Hector was being serious or was joking with him.
     “You are welcome,” Hector replied, turning back around and returning his gaze to the scene before him.  “The question is, though:  What is so wrong with losing our minds?  Just what are we trying to preserve by not losing them?”
     Jason laughed.  “That’s a good question.  Sometimes I wonder.  Sometimes the people that other people call ‘flakes’ seem to be much happier than the ones we all call ‘normal.’  I think sometimes it’s good to be weird.”
     “Personally, I would not be any other way,” Hector said.  “I want to be weird always, for only in weirdness can we find the normal.  We all are trained to see the world in certain ways, and that keeps us from seeing the world as it really is.  And we create these carefully controlled façades for ourselves that become so normal that it makes me sick sometimes to see them.  In order to become ‘normal,’ people have sacrificed their sense of play, their ability to have fun, their willingness to try different things and to take risks.  It is so very sad.”

Three Cavaliers
Tom Walsh

Alone in his car heading west, it's easy for Jason to feel sorry for himself and mad at the world.  But then he gives a ride to Hector and learns life isn't as negative as we sometimes see it.  The friendship between this young man and his 70-year-old passenger is an inspiring story of love and of dealing with obstacles in life.  It's a story that you'll treasure long after you're finished reading.

Three Cavaliers is also available for your Kindle!  Click on the image for the book, or click here to visit Amazon.


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Cynthia Ozick


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