Browsing "How It All Started"
May 15, 2012 - How It All Started    No Comments

Chapter 1: The Last Word

Will remembered very clearly the last word he ever spoke.  But he didn’t remember much before that.

He did remember riding an airplane, all alone, because he didn’t have a mommy or a daddy any more.  He remembered the nice lady on the plane, one of those ladies that works on airplanes, taking care of him and bringing him food during that long, long plane ride.  And when he arrived in this brand new country, in a brand new city called Paris, he remembered the lady taking him to meet a man in a uniform who asks questions and decides whether to let you into the new country.

He remembered the man asking him questions in a strange language, French, which he didn’t understand.  Then the man started asking questions in English, but not very good English.  He asked Will’s name, and his birthday, but Will didn’t answer, and the lady answered for him.

Finally, the man asked Will what he was carrying in his arms.  He was carrying a book as wide as his body, a dusty, old book with golden edges that used to belong to his mommy and daddy, and which was the only thing he brought with him to Paris.  Will didn’t understand any of the words or the stories in that book, but he loved the book all the same, and he hoped that one day he would be able to read it and understand it.  He did know who the writer of the book was, because there was a picture of the writer on the first page inside the book, and he remembered being told once who that was.

So the man in the uniform asked Will what he was carrying.  And Will answered him.  And this was the last word he ever spoke.

He said, “Shakespeare.”

May 15, 2012 - How It All Started    No Comments

Chapter 2: Paris

As you know by now, Will didn’t talk much.

Actually, Will didn’t talk at all.  So he looked and listened a lot, and he thought a lot too.  When people told him he didn’t talk much, he always thought that he would love to say, “Actually, I don’t talk at all,” but he couldn’t say that because, well, he didn’t talk at all.

He did love to look and listen, which was lucky because he lived with his uncle and aunt, and his uncle was a painter and his aunt was a piano teacher.  They lived on a houseboat on the river, which was quite comfortable, but there always seemed to be something wrong with it which needed fixing, so his uncle never painted as much as he would have liked, and his aunt only had one student, who was an old lady who lived a few houseboats down.

So his uncle and aunt never had much money, and they didn’t have a proper house, and they couldn’t send Will to school, but they took care of Will because they were the only family that Will had, and after losing his mommy and daddy, Will had nowhere else to go.  That’s why he came to Paris.

Will spent his days helping his uncle and aunt fix up the boat, because they didn’t want it to sink, and he spent his nights staring at the words on the page of his Shakespeare book, touching its golden edges, and trying not to feel sick when those big noisy tourist boats passed by on the river and made their little houseboat bob and rock.

Some days Will watched his uncle paint strange people who looked like they lived hundreds of years ago.  Sometimes he sat and listened to his aunt play piano and sing.  And recently, he had begun to take walks in the city, looking at people and listening to them.

He mostly liked to listen to the tourists, who were people who were visiting Paris to see the sights.  He liked to listen to them because a lot of them seemed to have come from where he came from, and he understood them.  He didn’t understand French people yet.  And he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to.

May 15, 2012 - How It All Started    No Comments

Chapter 3: The Bookshop

Paris had a lot of tourists.

Will understood the words that these tourists spoke, because a lot of them spoke English, but he didn’t really understand the people themselves.  He didn’t really know why they were here.  They always said how beautiful Paris was, but they never seemed like they were going to live there.

Will lived in Paris, and he didn’t think it was so beautiful.  He didn’t mind that it was old – he loved old things, like his Shakespeare book – but Paris made him feel so lonely.  He didn’t have a mommy or a daddy, and he didn’t have any friends, and of course these things made him feel lonely, but Paris made him feel lonelier than ever.

One day, Will was passing by a group of tourists, and he thought he heard one of them say, “Shakespeare.”  Then he heard another person in the group say “Shakespeare,” and point to somewhere across the river.  So when they started crossing the bridge, he found himself following along, to see where they were going.

After a while, he found himself in front of a bookshop.  And right above the door of the bookshop was a picture, the same picture on the first page inside of his book, of Shakespeare!  Will couldn’t believe it.  It made him feel very strange, and excited.

Will went inside the shop, and it smelled just like his book, too.  That dusty, old smell that he knew so well, and loved so much.  But when he took a look inside some of the books, they were as difficult for him to read as his own book, and it made him feel even lonelier.

So Will never went inside again.  Instead, he came back, on most days, just to stare at the picture of the man above the door.  Sometimes he stared for what must have been hours.

And sometimes he noticed an old man, inside the shop, a man with a full white beard and tiny brown eyes, staring back at him.