For about four days, there has been no movement within the Ivory Tower. On top of the tallest mountain on top of the world, the Master of the Ivory Tower, the Little Boy, was intent on looking into the past, fast forwarding, and following the life of a man that had two sons.
It seems that it is an ironic story of atonement, which captivated the Little Boy’s interest although there was no magic involved in it. It just seemed so sad for a boy who was locked up on a tower with nothing to do but to look at the World beneath him, so he tuned in to this one man.
The man in this story is known as Jose. He had two sons, Joseph and Jason, which were generations apart. The first son, Joseph, was born of Jose’s first wife. Shortly after giving birth, his wife died and he was left a widower; Joseph was left an orphan. In the lush land of the Philippines, this wouldn’t have been such a sad story except that Jose was poor. Because of that poverty and his love for his son, he decided to go abroad, into the land of sands, Arabia, to tend to the black gold that they were abundantly extracting from the earth.
With Jose gone, the baby, his little Joseph was left alone, orphaned, not by Death but by Fortune, and lived a life of sadness and old fashioned love. He was raised by his grandfather. The old man, being old and old fashioned, didn’t know how to care for children anymore save for one adage: discipline is love. While Jose was away, when the grandfather would play cards, and with no one to look after little Joseph, he was often left tied up by one ankle to the window grills of the house. There, he would look sourly and jealously at the neighbor’s kids, playing and laughing their hearts out in the dirt. Sometimes, unable to help but want to be happy, he would cry out loudly to his grandfather to release him. Sadly, the grandfather had a temper and a slight case of deafness. As a consequence, the old man just ignores the little kid’s cries, and if he does notice, he made it known to little Joseph through a very blunt messenger, a quick yet painful tap of a walking stick on the kid’s head.
As years go by, little Joseph was old enough to take care of himself and so, the old grandfather decided to die. To little Joseph, this was cause for celebration, not because he got rid of the mean grandfather that tied him up or beat him on the head; the death caused Jose to return home and reunite with his son, who’s already 17 years of age.
Meanwhile, within that 17 years of absence, Jose found himself a bride-to-be. As it happened, he was writing with a stately woman back in the Philippines by the name of Elle. Elle, as the youngest of her family, was already considered an old maid since she was now taking care of his aging father. All that kept her going were letters that Jose sent her from Arabia. Yet again, the death of Jose’s father brought on another form of happiness. Elle and Jose planned to marry after a year from this death.
The fateful, happy day came. Jose and Elle were married, and it was a joyous occasion for the two of them. After a year, Elle bore a child, Jason, Jose’s second first born, Joseph’s half-brother. As a baby with a doting and, by this time, wealthy father, Jason received all the luxuries of life. As the first son of a youngest daughter, he was showered with gifts, toys, clothes, love and affection.
At this point, Joseph moved in with his father and step-mother. Surprisingly, this story doesn’t have an evil step-mother. Ironically, the father and the first first-born son didn’t agree so well, perhaps, because of the miles and years that they were apart. Strikingly, Joseph seemed to have an understanding with Elle. He never really called her “mother” or anything of that sort, but he did show his respect by calling her “Tita,” which is what people in the Philippines usually calls their aunt. Joseph never despised his half-brother. In fact, he also treasured him like a real, whole brother. One day, after coming home from an excursion in the mall, he even bought his little brother a toy that sang whenever anyone presses its tummy.
To some people, this looked like a real family. However, as Elle, Joseph, and Jason grew close, Joseph and Jose grew farther from each other. Even if they were now living in the same roof, they were like two peanuts within their separate pods in separate fields in separate corners of the World. It seems that Jose didn’t approve of the prolonged absences of his first first-born son. It seems that Joseph was not accustomed to answering to anyone, even to a person whom he should have been calling “father.” As years went by, Jose, Elle, and Jason saw less and less of Joseph.
One night, he came home with news to tell. He came home with a woman, the mother of his child. Even though Jose didn’t approve and Joseph was not accustomed to authority, they seemed to have come to an understanding. Since everything was all done, there was nothing else to do but to accept this simple section of a slice in the natural course of Life. In fact, this seemed to have reconciled Jose and Joseph. The father talked kindly to his son; the first first-born son learned to say “father.”
Nevertheless, it seems that Life or perhaps, Fate was the antagonist of this story. Fate seemed to have caused Joseph to be a responsible young man and provide for his expecting wife. Fate seemed to have caused Jose to be more than a father — he became a grandfather. With this grandiosity attached to his role and wanting to make up for his neglected son, he sent Joseph some groceries, food for the young family. On the way home to his new house, Joseph was killed.
Based on what the nosy neighbors said, Joseph died on a jeepney. A drug addict was riding with him and shot him dead. As expected, Jose mourned the death of his first first-born son. As usual, a funeral was done in the rain. As usual, life for Jose moved on because in mortal terms, Time heals all wounds.
At this point, the story got boring for the Little Boy. After 4 days of capturing his attention, glimpsing back in Time and focusing on the events that happened on 4 people while fast forwarding took too much of his energy. As he was moving away from his 4-day perch, a question struck him. “What was the meaning of all that? Why was it a story of a father atoning for his sins against his neglected son and a story of a reconciliation cut short?” With no answers to those questions, the Little Boy, Master of the Ivory Tower, started a fit. “Why, why why don’t I know the answer?” It inflamed him that he doesn’t know the answer; he who has been granted knowledge of everything by the Sun, the Moon, and Heaven does not hold an answer. With this, we will now leave the Little Boy to his rantings on top of the Ivory Tower on the top of the tallest mountain on the top of the world.