10.08.2008

The Coat

The Coat

A boy was born and was given a coat.

He wore the coat everyday.

As he grew the coat grew with him.

The boy saw many things as he grew; some joyous, some mundane, some preposterous, some gruesome.

Everything he saw, everything he experienced changed his coat, added color and shape and texture. His coat became worn in some areas, and thick in other areas. In some areas it became quite tough.

When he was a young man, he wore his coat with pride sticking his chest way out.
When someone complimented his coat he felt good. When someone criticized his coat he felt bad and became angry.

Sometimes when he was alone, he tried to take it off, but he could not. Other times, he tried to put another coat on instead, but his coat would not budge. Try as he might, cover it as he might, his coat would not come off.

In his middle ages, the pride he felt before dwindled and he no longer fought his coat. It was just his coat, beautiful and awful all at the same time. He was used to it and it kept him warm in the winter and terribly hot in the summer. Like an old friend, his coat was no longer separate from him. He didn’t even notice it anymore.

The boy was now an old man. His coat was very tattered in places and had holes in other places. Some areas were like his own skin, other places were so encrusted with dirt and food and other unremembered elements that they had become extremely hard like leather. When the old man moved, very slowly mind you, the coat moved with him. Sometimes the coat seemed to lag behind for a moment or two, and the old man would wait for it. Sometimes the coat looked like it might fall off, but the old man held on to the coat for dear life. It was how he knew he was still alive, he thought.

One day a mighty wind blew from the West. The old man had slept like a baby the previous night and awoke with a calm serenity he had never known. The wind blew his long gray wispy hair and he opened his eyes wider than he had in a long long time. His skin felt every molecule of air that past over it as if his coat were gone. His wide eyes looked down to find his coat had not gotten out of bed that day.

The coat lay motionless on top of his pillow. The old man felt frightened for an instant, for he did not understand. Then, the calmness returned and he spread his arms wide to receive the hug of the universe and he became like the wind and blew away leaving only his coat lying motionless on the bed to remember his life.

By Randy Seals

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