Fiction Friday: Hide and Seek

The hands of the mason move in tandem in silent rhythm. The creator is blind to his creation. Stone upon stone. Row upon row. Suddenly he blinks and a wall is before his eyes, blocking his view ahead. He turns and finds he is alone in a cell of his own making. He longs to cry for help, but berates himself for the thought.

broken stone wall


“Why should anyone come to your call?” he thinks. “You’ve done this to yourself. Piece by piece you’ve shut away the world.” He nods his head in agreement with his heart and looks to the skies. It will soon be night, and then another day. “Is this all life is meant to be? Has all the building been in vain, not to brighten the world with beauty, but to withhold the beauty of the world from my own sight?”

He sinks to the earth and finds it damp beneath his calloused hands. The escape of sleeps calls for him and yet remains just outside his grasp. He is left alone with thoughts that taunt and question. It takes the night for him to realize that self-pity is not the answer. With the light of sunrise, a shake of his shoulders, and a brush to his pants, he reaches for the highest stone to bring it down again—but it resists its makers intent.

Singly the stones moved into place with ease. Rejection upon doubt. Fear  upon failure. Pain beside worry. One by one they found their home without the mason even acknowledging what was happening. Years of hiding had made him an expert wall builder. He could erect a monument while half-asleep. But this moment found him wide awake and tugging at a mass of stone and mortar that refused to give way to reason.

His cry for help echoed back to him in cheerful response. A single stone to his left moved out from its place and fell to the grass below. Bending to peer through the vacant space, the mason was both surprised and ashamed to see the kind eyes of the Master Mason smiling back at him. He lowered his gaze and readied himself for the expected lecture. It took him more than a moment to respond to the “mind if I lend a hand” that he received instead.

“Alone this wall would be impossible to take down.” the older gentleman said. “But together! Ah now that makes all the difference in the world.” he concluded with a wink.

Side by side they worked. Some sections harder to dismantle than others, but all giving way to the work of the Master. With each stone taken to the ground, the mason’s heart grew stronger in hope. He could see the trees at the edge of the path and a glimpse of the hills in the distance. The effort tore at his callouses and caused him pain, but he didn’t mind. The presence of pain made him realize that he could feel again. Pain was a part of life that he had been missing behind the wall. In the thickening of his skin he had blocked out the hurt, but he had also covered his sensitivity to all other sensations as well. He rubbed his thumb over the now tender spots of new skin, looking up just in time to see the last of the stones falling away, giving him space to move ahead in freedom.

He grasped the extended hand of his rescuer and stepped over the rubble. “How did you hear me cry out?” he asked.

“Ah Son.” the Master replied. “I’ve been here the whole time, watching you stack up those silly stones, your eyes at half-mast and your mind a thousand miles away. You didn’t even know what you were doing until it was too late. But I knew. I was just waiting for you to know it too.”

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