“The Ideal of Synchrony” by Julio Torres

The Ideal of Synchrony by Julio Torres

Lacking skill and coordination, Umberto and his son Diego rowed in silent discomfort down the dark river to the waters where they now sat, waiting for something to happen. Diego had been dragged (“as if I were luggage!”), as usual, to one of Umberto’s poorly planned expeditions.  This time, He’d insisted on navigating to this spot surrounded by jungle, convinced he’d mesmerize his son with a natural phenomenon.

“Listen!” Umberto got excited and stood up. Local indigenous legend narrated how every summer the trees whistled to the stars, pleading them to dance to their moving song. Umberto attributed the song to wind moving through the river trees, and the dancing stars to summer fireflies. “Oh, never mind.” Umberto sat back again to examine the map.

A raindrop fell on Diego’s shoulder. “It’s going to rain.”

According to the map, they were at the right location, but Diego was too uninterested to be even skeptical, Umberto too stubborn to hear the local’s warnings of a night rain.

“It’s not going to rain.”

Suddenly, fireflies began to appear from inside the forest. Father and son saw hundreds of floating yellow stars coming from every side. In a moment of perfect, wishful synchrony, both prepared to hear the song of the trees.

But then it rained. A downpour so cruel it killed the stars, Umberto’s hopes, Diego’s annoyance and the forest’s unborn song.

Not saying a word, daring not to look up, Umberto sat under the rain, ignorant of his son’s compassionate stare behind the cold curtain of water.

That night, Diego thought about the end of that deluge, drops falling from the leaves, wind blowing through the trunks. The tree’s tune was one of mourning, weeping for the stars that had danced to no song.

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