He wants me to call him on the phone at least once a day usually at night before he goes to sleep. When I do we talk about nothing important, just the "I'm doing this" and the "what are you doing" thing. But to him and to me it is more than ritual conversation. It is as important as linking hands from afar and knowing that everything is all right, that the world is as it should be.
He knows he is growing up fast and that he is becoming a young man. His voice has deepened and cracks over the phone as he speaks. Yet he deeply resents the changes. He wants to forever remain a child in a world where growing up is a reality and a curse of life.
His pleasures are simple and evocative of the world he wants to live in. He can spend hours lying down on bed or the sofa while watching cartoons on the television, snack foods within reach to quell any unforeseen hunger or boredom. Or he could be playing with his Gameboy or PSP in one corner, so concentrated on what he is doing that he can be oblivious to the din and distractions of the world. Then when it suits him he can be a ball of energy, running, biking and playing with abandon, sweat falling down his face like rivers.
He is generous, friendly and considerate. He does not pick fights nor does he strike back unless maliciously provoked and even then his anger is quick to pass. He sees the best in people and accepts them as they are. His love for his family is warm, poignant and encompassing.
He says he hates his only brother because the latter often mercilessly taunts and teases him. When that happens he would shout out his frustration and exasperation. But even that "hate" is transitory and superficial. His forgiving nature soon reasserts itself and all is forgiven.
I have often wondered why the Almighty did not make man the way He made this boy. Devoid of malice and bitterness, free from greed and envy, blissfully innocent and seeing the world in bright, wondrous, happy colors. Perhaps this what Man was like before he got thrown out of paradise, before he knew of pain and suffering and knew the meaning of sin and evil which eventually corrupted him and hardened him into what he is now.
When my nephew asks me to call him I always try to do as he asks. Not only for his sake but my own. For he is my reminder of what true innocence and goodness is. He keeps keep me sane in a mad, mad world, a world that remains livable and tolerable inspite of the insanity because there are people like him.