This week’s Word Wednesday is actually two words:
Scylla and Charybdis
Scylla and Charybdis are the mythical sea monsters found in Homer’s, Odyssey; they plague Odysseus’s travels, killing six of his men. They’re believed to be Homer’s personification of natural hazards—rocky shoals and whirlpools—navigated by early sailors venturing into uncharted waters. Scylla and Charybdis’ evil duality spawned a more modern saying: Between a rock and hard place (rocks and whirlpool). For my purposes, Scylla and Charybdis represent the difficult spot a child living on the Sugar Hill estate finds himself in, in My One True Love.
Here’s a short excerpt:
My One True Love, copyright 2019 Deborah Small, all rights reserved…
Little Ray’s mouth fell open as his eyes widened. His surprise almost nudged a smile from Joe, but he managed to keep his expression earnest, grave. A proud father who understood the enormity of what his child suffered. And he was proud of Little Ray. Tempering that pride was appreciation for the spot in which Little Ray found himself.
Between Scylla and Charybdis.
Joe doubted Little Ray had read about Homer’s mythological sea monsters, but that didn’t mean he was stupid. Not by any stretch of the imagination. In contrast, he was a very, very bright boy.
Bright enough to understand that the Dachshund-shaped lighter was not damning in and of itself. Bright enough to understand that without his sharing what he knew with someone inclined to take him seriously, someone who had a personal stake in knowing what he knew, that what he knew was not worth knowing—and it was too awesome of a burden for one little boy to carry himself. Bright enough to know that if he had stayed low and still, Joe would never had seen him. But he hadn’t stayed low, or still. He’d stood, and used the shard of glass he’d been holding when Joe found him to reflect the sun—directly into Joe’s eyes.
He needed me to catch him. Needed me to question him.
A bright boy.
We all find ourselves stuck some place uncomfortable at some point in our lives, forced to choose between two evils. It’s never easy. Never fun. And only time informs us if we made the right decision.
I don’t know what decision Joe will make based on what he’s learned from Little Ray. But I know Joe well enough to know Little Ray made the right decision in reaching out to him for help, in unburdening his child’s mind on an adult worthy of accepting the knowledge. We should all be so lucky.
It’ll be a little more time yet before I know exactly how Joe’s going to handle Little Ray’s revelations. I only know justice will be served.
One way or the other.
It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.
~Sister Elizabeth Kenny
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