The living room was silent with the exception of disparate breathing and the creaking of the floor. The three of them stood taut, at attention waiting with baited breath. This was a ritual of sorts, these boys, three brothers in formation, standing in order, from oldest to youngest as their father towered over them.
The room was brightly lit with a abundance of sunshine, there was a mirror mounted on the wall behind them that scattered the light throughout the living room in a melodic pattern of sorts. A series of bookshelves on the left, seemed to taunt the boys… Standing there unmoving, just like them. Directly facing the three was the relative freedom of their garden, past the fence was a playground.
It is safe to say that the playground was preferable to their current station.
Nothing was said as they followed him with their eyes in anticipation of what was to come. The look on his face was implacable as he paced back and forth, while his gaze seemingly burned a whole through each one of them.
Inexplicably… The silence was broken with the bellowing of a soliloquy, his voice echoing throughout the house and reverberating through each one of them as they stood wide eyed and glued in place.
“You’ve got to look out for one another… You’ve got to set an example for each other to follow, and that goes for you too boy!” as he pointed at the youngest of the brood.
And with that it was over and the boys were allowed to disperse.
As for the youngest one, he thought hard about what this “example” that his Father spoke of meant…
But once the cartoons began to flash across the screen the brothers forgot about the mandate.
Years later, the boys never forgot as they often mimicked their Father’s soliloquies word for word.
I was one of the three boys standing there, the youngest one to be exact. Setting an example was always something that we endeavored to do, often without thinking about it.
Perhaps it was the spirit of repetition that was our Father’s calling card, but we always remembered to walk that line.