Walk Home

I decided to walk home. I told my wife.

“You can’t go home again,” she says.

“Sez who?”

“Says everyone. ‘You can’t go home again,’ that’s what they all say, and if everyone says it, it must be true.”

“Well, I reckon I’ll have to show everyone, won’t I just?” says I.

And I left home. Our home, that is. To go back to mine.

I set out walking.

After a considerable amount of time had passed, I saw my friend Phil. He was standing under an oak tree, smoking a cigarette.

“How ’bout ye, mucker?” I said. “Got any?”

“None so much,”  he replied, shaking his head. “Listen, though; I need you to do something for me; I need you to go home.”

“I am going home.”

“Aarrgh!” He threw his cigarette on the ground and crushed it out with his boot. “You can’t just say it like that! This is the part of the hero’s journey where an older, wiser friend/mentor figure gives you a quest to go on, and you’re supposed to be reluctant.”

“But I’m not a hero,” I said.

“Now you’ve got it, that’s better. Go home, Liam.”

I set off walking again slightly annoyed. He called after me—

“You’re going to meet a beautiful woman up the road supposed to symbolise temptation! Don’t fall for it!”

“I’ll be sure to miss her every chance I get!” I shouted back without looking over my shoulder.

Phil was always saying things like that.

And there was no beautiful woman up the road.

Soon things began to look familiar. The road became gravel, and then only just dirt. Bit of a goat path, really. The ditches were overgrown with nettles and wildflowers. I came to the old fork in our road. My father was standing there. He beamed when he saw me, but there was also a look in his eyes. He was amused by something.

“Hello, son.”

“Hi, Dad. What is it?”

“Why are you carrying that heavy load?”

It was then that I realised that I was shouldering a boulder the size of a beer keg. My father laughed at the look of astonishment on my face.

“You can just set it there,” he said, gesturing to a ditch full of nettles. I hesitated.

“Are you sure? It seems important.”

“Am I sure?!” He was suddenly very angry. “It’s only slowing you down!”

I dropped the boulder into the ditch. He just stood there and stared at it, and didn’t seem to notice me watching him thinking , so I went on my way.

There never was any telling what he was thinking, anyway.

Around the bend not far from home, I saw my grandad sitting on a stump. He looked up at me, not a word by way of greeting, and said—

“God damn it, Liam! Where the fuck is that boulder I gave you?!”

I was very taken aback by this outburst, so much so that I staggered back a few steps.

“Well hello to you, too! Dad’s back the road and told me to drop it!”

It was the wrong thing to say. He stood up in a red rage, looking twenty years younger and alive to boot.

“That boulder has been in our family for centuries! I gave it to your father to give to you! You’re supposed to carry it for your whole fucking life and when the weight of it kills you to leave it to your son!”

This was too much for me. I attempted to appeal to his sense of reason.

“It’s a rock, Grandad.”

“It’s the only thing they can’t take from us !” he roared.

I saw his point, and all thought of returning home left my mind, even though I could see it from where I stood.

According to Joseph Campbell’s model of the “hero’s journey” as it occurs in mythology, it is at this point in the story where the hero, or in my case, central character, having travelled to the otherworld and obtained some precious and magical item/power/knowledge, must flee back to the land of the living with his treasure. He is usually pursued by the inhabitants of the otherworld and the pursuit is sometimes comical.

So all that happened.

It was a very long and weary way back to our home—my home and my wife’s, I mean, what with me carrying the boulder and all.




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43 Responses to Walk Home

  1. Monochrome nightmares says:

    An excellent piece of writing.
    I’m in awe.
    Fecking awe.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jac forsyth says:

    This was just an utter delight to read. I love your style of writing and the end was so perfectly satisfying. Nice.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. crow says:

    Oh my god, that was awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. merrildsmith says:

    It is interesting that your story–which I just read– touched on some of the same of the same themes I wrote about, and which were also themes in the play I just saw last night.
    Wonderful story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • oglach says:

      I was thinking the same thing as I read your story. I think during this particular time of year, with the transition of seasons and heading towards winter, we might naturally have thoughts and dreams where different stages of life run together in our minds and dreams. Sort of like an internal mythology. I realise how clumsy that sounds, but it’s the best I can do. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. skat says:

    Can I call you Liam, then? 😉
    As I walked this journey with you I was reminded of so many things, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” “Dante’s Bloody Inferno”, “The Jolly Tinker.”(!) Lord, but you don’t half have me captivated!
    Curses on our ancestors for passing on such a heavy load! And don’t we get it from both sides? Sure, we are more like the milkmaid of old, carrying her pails across her back, than a single man shouldering a boulder. Well, I am at least.
    I’m grateful to be allowed to share in your voyage of discovery. Every moment feeds my own creativity. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A fun fable with a purpose

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Shall I call you “Atlas?” 🙂 Now, you’re writing mythology! You tell your stories best through the conversations between the characters. I try to imagine everyone in your story speaking with an Irish accent. So cool. Amazing read as usual. I love where your stories take me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oglach says:

      It took me a second to get the Atlas reference. I’ve always considered myself more of a Sisyphus man. So much so that they say, “Look at him! He puts the sissy back in Sisyphus.”
      The story was a dream that I had. I decided to write it down and have a little fun with it. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dead Donovan says:

    The roads we walk in life, and the roads we walk in our minds converge all too often. Great story!


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Intriguing; funny; disturbing.

    So U brought the boulder back home in the end, augmented with nettles and whatever else may have been in the ditch.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This was a very different read. I loved the ending and, also, the message you have incorporated.

    Carrying the ancestral ‘boulder’ is not always a Sisyphean task… what say? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • oglach says:

      I say you are right. We all rebel to some degree against those who came before us, but it is those who came before us that make us what we are. Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. a hero’s work (journey) is never done…splendid crafting and riff on Joseph Campbell (who is awesome) and his notions…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. HemmingPlay says:

    Reblogged this on HemmingPlay and commented:
    And now he’s got me wondering what kind of boulder I’m hauling around….??

    Liked by 1 person

  13. HemmingPlay says:

    It was a pleasure stumbling across your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thomas says:

    Excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Absolutely brilliant!!! A very powerful read, thank you very much for sharing it! Reminds me somehow of one of my all-time favourite piece of writing – the Odysee 🙂 Though I think I do like your style better and bet Homer would have done the same, living in our age and time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Riff on a Faulkner Quote | Mellow  Curmudgeon

  17. When I read your posts, I imagine picture books for adults….like Aesop’s Tales, or even Grimm’s…but much, much deeper!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. poeturja says:

    The magic elixir is definitely your writing! Perfection!

    Liked by 1 person

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