Josh Delaney

In a single moment, the bad tempered rain clouds made peace and the sunlight wearing ballet shoes tip toed delicately over the faces of the suddenly silent new-borns at St. Cyprian’s maternity ward.

All was very calm and quiet and the air had a smell that something very important was taking place. It started with a small giggle. The red eyed midwives tending to Mrs Faith Delaney, were still carrying the burden of two stillborns earlier, felt a wave of healing energy and recorded the birth of Josh Delaney 6lbs 6oz at 06.06 am on the 6th day of June.

The giggle grew and became a belly laugh that spread from room to room, ward to ward and soon infected the whole hospital. The most uncontrollable belly laugh in the history of laughter.

The doctors were baffled! There had never been a child recorded as being born laughing, it simply wasn’t possible! Babies are born with an instinct to cry not to laugh. Laughter comes much later.

As they cleaned this delicious laughing baby they noticed amongst his mop of black hair a striking mass of white. The child had been born with grey hair. Josh winked at the midwife and giggled when she drew attention to it. His deep dark brown smiling eyes screamed a knowledge, a wisdom and an enthusiastic interest in all around him.

Faith had every reason to be proud for she had a most unusual son in so many ways. He had come late to her as she was 42 and already had a daughter Joy, who was grown and making her way in the world. Josh had been the last and loveliest thing her beautiful husband Alex had done for her. Sadly her husband had died suddenly of a sub arachnoid haemorrhage at the moment of conception. His last moment, an expression of pure love had created Josh. She knew at that moment when they took her husband away that she wasn’t alone, as she sobbed into her hands.

She didn’t grieve as people seemed to imagine as she had this little soul inside her to keep her company. Outwardly her appearance changed drastically as overnight her black hair turned white but her inner feelings could not explain why this happened. It was as if from the womb Josh was saying all the right things, speaking soul to soul and instilling her with a wisdom that was not her own.

As josh got older, the only noises he made were cheerful sounds. If you gave him something he didn’t like he would laugh so hard it would take two nappies to stop the laughing…. And that of course he found hilarious. He delighted in his bodily functions, changing nappies had never been such fun.

She didn’t know where she ended and he began, the bond and symbiotic love was so powerful and so pure. At night he slept next to her and brushed his little fingers through her hair gently as she became wrapped in sleep. So gentle and so caring was his manner.

One June morning when even the sun was happy Faith was tending to the lawn Josh came to her and took instinctively her by the hand. He led her to the area where the wild flowers grew, pointing out a nest of new born hedge sparrows on the way. He smiled and studied her and lifted up a leaf to show a struggling butterfly fighting the last of its cocoon. They watched mesmerised standing vigil over the butterfly, silent and vulnerable, waiting for its wings to dry and to be strong enough to fly. It was as if Josh was using this as a metaphor that it was time for him to fly.

From then on four year old Josh, slept in his own bed.

When he was at school, although he never spoke, it didn’t stop him excelling in his work. He was loved instantly by everyone who came in contact with him. He carried a huge calming aura that extended well beyond his own personal space. On entering a classroom the other kids would immediately settle and focus on their work.

On paper though, because of his silence and that he would often seem to be in a world of his own, he was given a diagnosis of Autism. Faith and his teachers knew this was wrong as Josh was a powerful communicator. Faith asked him why he wouldn’t speak and implored him to start for she feared it might cause him problems in the long term. Josh just wrapped his mum up in a huge hug kissed her lightly on the cheek and chortled gently.

When his mum went to her little study later she found the printer had chugged out two quotes. One unknown “he who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words” and another “when you talk you are only repeating what you already know but if you listen you may learn something new” Elbert Hubbard.

Faith never asked him to speak again.

He was certainly a unique soul, receptive, intelligent and very beautiful with his two tone hair and captivating eyes and ready smile.

At school he continued to perform brilliantly academically, and to teach more than he was taught. He liked to sit alone and watch and listen to nature’s music and drama but students and teachers would seek him out to be near him or to confide in him.

Faith had received a phone call from the school stating there had been an incident. Apparently another boy had brought a gun to school and intended using it against his teacher. Josh was in another classroom and despite his teacher’s protestations had continued heavily with a purpose. He walked silently and calmly to the boy with the gun. Standing between the boy and a Mr Gaines, a cruel and unpopular teacher, the gun pointed at Josh’s forehead.

As the rain clouds gathered above, Faith’s fragile heart that had seen so much pain…… suddenly stopped.

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7 comments

  1. Sharon, I found your opening lines intriguing – wanted to read on. Josh’s character is curious and follows the story consistently. I was not sure how old Josh was when he indicated to his mother that he would sleep in his own bed – felt that needed a transition of time to help it flow in the narrative. You built Josh and the relationship he had with his mother to be one of love, trust, and understanding so I was not sure what you meant at the end when you said, Faith’s fragile heart that had seen so much pain. What was her pain?
    The ending episode was sad, but revealed the depth of Josh’s character.
    Thank you for the interesting story.
    Sandy

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    1. Thanks Sandy for your thoughtful comments. Good point about his age when he sleeps alone, have added an age now. This wasn’t my intended ending there is a lot more to Josh’s life but I felt I needed to cut it short so her pain in this refers to the death of her husband. Josh is a minor character in the book I am working on. He does die but not like this and becomes a psychic adviser to his sister when she deals with her troubles. I wanted to create an unusual life for Josh and this might be developed further. Really not sure if I’m happy with this though. You sometimes have an idea that turns out very different on paper. Thanks again for stopping and commenting. It means a lot to me

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  2. Sharon! Where have you been? I’m sorry it took me so long to comment on this but time has been short!
    I like this character, the oddity of his traits, the circumstances of his conception and birth. As a story I think it misses a bit of action, conflict, he has all this great peculiarities but it feels he is a little passive through life. But integrated in a bigger story I think he’ll be great. Will he be some kind of side-kick? 🙂 It reminds me of Isabel Allende’s fantastic, quirky characters in “The House of the Spirits”, have you read it? This was a book that opened my eyes to the freedom of writing, I was used to reading the anglo-saxon and french classics and it was a breath of fresh air (or maybe a gust of wind:) ). I loved the way she mixed reality’s rawness with ethereal and supernatural in a way it all felt natural and plausible.
    I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ll do with Josh, please keep in touch!

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  3. I will absolutely definitely keep in touch Cecelia. Your writing is outstanding. I haven’t had a change to leave notes yet. I was sorry to hear you and your little one had been poorly. Hope you are well now. Josh is part of a bigger piece. Ends up dying a different way and becoming a spirit guide for my MC. I will check out that book thanks hun. I’ve been busy in the real world getting myself a job, sometimes not enough time to do the things we want. Speak soon lovely lady hugs x

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