The Divergent Life of John L

well read_0717

John L receives news of his mother’s death. The news is delivered by John L’s father. John L asks for details and his father provides them. Car crash. Drunk driver. Pronounced dead at the scene. Over the following weeks John L speaks to police officers, ambulance workers and witnesses of the crash. All of them confirm the expiry of John L’s mother. John L is never presented with a body and never sees or hears from his mother thereafter. Unattainable to John L, the objective truth is that his mother is indeed deceased and he has been truthfully informed by all those he has spoken with. John L is beside himself with grief.

John L receives news of his mother’s death. The news is delivered by John L’s father. John L asks for details and his father provides them. Car crash. Drunk driver. Pronounced dead at the scene. Over the following weeks John L speaks to police officers, ambulance workers and witnesses of the crash. All of them confirm the expiry of John L’s mother. John L is never presented with a body and never sees or hears from his mother thereafter. Unattainable to John L, the objective truth is that his mother is in fact alive and he has been wilfully deceived by all those he has spoken with. John L is beside himself with grief.

****

Some years later, John L is still in mourning. He still misses his mother desperately, a person with whom he shared a profound connection. He often finds himself wishing they had been blessed with more time; that they might have shared more of their lives together. Those around him, his father included, still maintain that his mother was violently killed not three years previously. One morning, a young man informs him that his mother is alive and well. Of course, John L doesn’t believe a word of it. The young man, however, presses on. He claims John L’s mother has, over these past years, treated him like a son. She has tucked him in at night, prepared his meals, and consoled him during times of trouble. John L is astounded. The young man’s assertions have described his mother’s behaviour quite perfectly. John L asks to see his mother immediately. Impossible, the young man explains, for reasons he is not able to reveal. However, the young man assures John L that he is always in his mother’s thoughts. John L returns home to share the news with his family. Some of them celebrate with him while others remain unconvinced. John L and the others who believe his news move to the kitchen to rejoice together, escaping the cynicism of those who were not swayed. Unattainable to John L, the objective truth is that his mother remains as dead as the day she first perished and he has been wilfully deceived by the young man. John L celebrates late into the night and thereafter thinks fondly of his mother, who he now knows to be living a comfortable and enjoyable life, unable to contact him in any way for reasons unknown.

Some years later, John L is still in mourning. He still misses his mother desperately, a person with whom he shared a profound connection. He often finds himself wishing they had been blessed with more time; that they might have shared more of their lives together. Those around him, his father included, still maintain that his mother was violently killed not three years previously. One morning, a young man informs him that his mother is alive and well. Of course, John L doesn’t believe a word of it. The young man, however, presses on. He claims John L’s mother has, over these past years, treated him like a son. She has tucked him in at night, prepared his meals, and consoled him during times of trouble. John L is astounded. The young man’s assertions have described his mother’s behaviour quite perfectly. John L asks to see his mother immediately. Impossible, the young man explains, for reasons he is not able to reveal. However, the young man assures John L that he is always in his mother’s thoughts. John L returns home to share the news with his family. Some of them celebrate with him while others remain unconvinced. John L and the others who believe his news move to the kitchen to rejoice together, escaping the cynicism of those who were not swayed. Unattainable to John L, the objective truth is that his mother is alive and quite well and he has been truthfully informed by the young man. John L celebrates late into the night and thereafter thinks fondly of his mother, who he now knows to be living a comfortable and enjoyable life, unable to contact him in any way for reasons unknown.

****

Some time after this, John L moves into his own apartment. He finds living alone quite agreeable and has no trouble settling into a daily routine. He arrives home from work at precisely 5:30pm every day of the working week and prepares his dinner. One day, however, his usual routine is disrupted by the discovery of a meal served and ready to eat on his dining table. Living alone, John L is suitably perplexed. He can’t imagine who could have prepared the dish. Nevertheless, he enjoys the food and thinks no more on it. The phenomenon occurs repeatedly, day after day for the next few weeks. It so happens, one afternoon, that John L crosses paths once again with the young man. John L informs the young man about the mysterious meals. The young man explains that John L’s mother has been sneaking into his apartment and making the meals for him each day. John L is elated at the thought. He suggests that he might meet his mother by returning home early one evening. The young man is of the opinion that it would be pointless, since John L’s mother is very careful only to enter the apartment when it is empty and she can sneak in unseen. For reasons he is unable to divulge, the young man points out that John L’s mother will never allow their paths to cross. John L returns home and from that day forward continues to enjoy the meals he finds waiting for him upon his return from work. Unattainable to John L, the objective truth is that the dishes are being prepared by a paid waiter under the employ of his father and he has been wilfully deceived by the young man. The waiter sneaks in unseen each day to cook the meals and is in no way emotionally invested in John L. John L eats his meals each day thankfully, fully in the knowledge that his mother is lovingly preparing his food each evening.

Some time after this, John L moves into his own apartment. He finds living alone quite agreeable and has no trouble settling into a daily routine. He arrives home from work at precisely 5:30pm every day of the working week and prepares his dinner. One day, however, his usual routine is disrupted by the discovery of a meal served and ready to eat on his dining table. Living alone, John L is suitably perplexed. He can’t imagine who could have prepared the dish. Nevertheless, he enjoys the food and thinks no more on it. The phenomenon occurs repeatedly, day after day for the next few weeks. It so happens, one afternoon, that John L crosses paths once again with the young man. John L informs the young man about the mysterious meals. The young man explains that John L’s mother has been sneaking into his apartment and making the meals for him each day. John L is elated at the thought. He suggests that he might meet his mother by returning home early one evening. The young man is of the opinion that it would be pointless, since John L’s mother is very careful only to enter the apartment when it is empty and she can sneak in unseen. For reasons he is unable to divulge, the young man points out that John L’s mother will never allow their paths to cross. John L returns home and from that day forward continues to enjoy the meals he finds waiting for him upon his return from work. Unattainable to John L, the objective truth is that the dishes are being prepared by his mother who is still alive and well and he has been truthfully informed by the young man. His mother sneaks in unseen each day to cook the meals and does so devotedly, wanting to show John L how much she cares for him. John L eats his meals each day thankfully, fully in the knowledge that his mother is lovingly preparing his food each evening.

Category Well Read