Thing sat watching, just like he always had, just like he always would, waiting on his mother and father to return, and for them all to be a family once again.
Sometimes Thing got so caught up in his own loneliness that he forgot all about the good stuff in his life; that, happened to everyone, he guessed.
One night, just as the sky was cooling down from a scorching red, Thing noticed a small hut over to the left of his cave, a building that he had never noticed before. Perhaps the trees had hidden the wooden shack, or perhaps Thing hadn’t looked hard enough.
So after he had a nice meal and had left a note at the cave door – ‘Dear Mother and Father, I am down at a hut below the cave, please wait on me’ – he set off.
Leaving a note was something Thing always did, just in case his parents returned while Thing was away from the cave. His mother and father had been gone for such a long time, but Thing had never given up hope of seeing them again – not once.
The hut at the bottom of the hill had seen better days, thought Thing, and there were gaps between the wooden walls. Through these gaps Thing could see the crackling light of a fire: someone was inside.
Thing attempted to look through the cracks but it was too dark and so decided to knock on the door. What was the worst that could happen? (Although there were times when Thing thought that and the worse did actually happen). Thing knocked again.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” said a gruff old voice from within.
Thing knocked again.
“Where’s the fire? Where’s the fire?” shouted the voice and Thing felt like telling the person that the fire was in his hut, but that probably wasn’t what the gruff voice meant.
When the door opened, it seemed that neither of them had expected what they found. The gruff voice was actually a pleasant old man, and the pleasant old man had expected a kid from the town.
“Hello,” said the old man. “Please do come in.”
Thing found the inside of the hut much nicer than the outside and told the man this.
“Many folks have said this. I must say I decorated it to my taste but it seems to please most who come visiting.”
Thing and the man, whose name was Ralph, sat down to a long and friendly conversation. Thing told him that he hadn’t noticed the hut before and was surprised as he had been living in the cave above for a very long time. Ralph said that he wasn’t surprised, for most people only saw things when they wanted to. Sometimes you only see things when you go looking for them.
Thing told Ralph that to be truthful he hadn’t been all that interested in seeing a hut and that maybe Ralph’s theory was wrong. Ralph chuckled because, as he told Thing, he was never wrong.
Then Thing told Ralph that he sometimes felt lonely and Ralph wondered what Thing meant.
“I keep waiting on my mother and father to return, that makes me lonely,” he told Ralph.
Then Ralph mentioned that he had a story to tell and that Thing should listen to it.
Ralph told Thing that many, many years before Thing was born, probably a million years before, some stars exploded and the core of those stars were scattered across the universe. Some of those particles were, in fact, what made up Thing and Ralph – even although they looked different, they were basically the same inside.
“Now,” said Ralph, “if you are made up of parts of the distant universe then when the universe shakes, a part of you must shake too. You see, we are all one and a whole. You, me and the universe.”
Thing nodded, although he was struggling a bit to understand it all, he felt that given time he would.
Ralph continued: “The universe vibrates and so whispers into our ears and souls. Some hear it, and other don’t. Some hear much of it, and some hear a little. Those who can hear the stars whispering loudly are the writers, or composers, or painters. Some hear plainly what the universe is saying and these are known as great women and men.
“We are all star whisperers,” said Ralph. “All you have to do is listen.”
And with that Thing bid Ralph a good night and said he would listen to the universe on the way home.
As he sat at his cave waiting on his family, Thing began to understand what Ralph meant. Thing was sure he could hear the stars whispering – and for the first time, in a long time, Thing didn’t feel so alone.
bobby stevenson 2016