Happy Birthday to my older son Nathan. We called him Nathan, as the biblical meaning, the gift from God. Today, Nathan turned 19. Our family celebrates Nathan for many things and one of them is reading and writing. Nathan loves story-telling.
Recently, Nathan started an adventure story on Facebook for all his friends’ birthdays. In this story, he weaves his friends (as characters) into the stories, based on the theme he chooses to fit that friend’s personality.
When his brother and I took him to lunch today to celebrate, Nathan mentioned in disappointment that none of his friends even wrote a paragraph about his birthday on Facebook. I laughed. I told him, it did not matter, and he must understand, his friends are not writers like he is. Writing may not be their thing, and his friends love him anyway.
I wanted to highlight a few things about Nathan.
- He was born with a strawberry patch on his stomach which his father and I fought over because we thought one or the other accidentally hurt Nathan’s skin. (I thought he did it. He thought I did it). The mark appeared suddenly then disappeared as he grew older.
- Nathan had a split tonsillitis and the paediatrician said Nathan would have difficulty speaking – that never happened.
- Before he turned three, he wanted to go to school so badly I took Nathan to a friend’s school. On that first day, Nathan ran out of the car into the school without saying goodbye or a cuddle. I found myself crying in the car while watching my son run to his first class.
- Nathan fell off our verandah (about three metres high) at five-years-old, and nearly cracked his skull. When he came to, on the way to the hospital, my then three-year-old apologised to me for falling. He survived the fall; got all clear and doctors thought it was amazing.
- When he was seven, Nathan gave a speech about The Importance Of Family in front of 500 people in a United Nation’s gathering; not knowing, a few months later his father and I would separate.
- At the same age, he corrected text books and his teachers said, it would be too hard to teach him as he got older.
- We migrated from PNG to Australia in July 2004. Nathan exceeded all expectations, and represented the school in Mathematics and other problems-solving tournaments. He continued to excel in learning.
- He is currently studying Bio-Med in University of Queensland.
A piece of writing from Nathan’s Facebook posts on his friend Jack’s birthday. (Fiction)
Jack fell out of bed, with all the grace of a bear emerging from hibernation. From memory, he’d set his alarm to 7, even though it was clearly closer to midday. Glancing around, he found his phone had its back cover removed and the battery thrown across the room. Smirking at his own genius aversion to early starts, he gathered the various contents and reassembled his mobile as he approached the kitchen. As Jack fearlessly prepared bacon for his morning sustenance, he realised too late how unwise it was to cook bacon before putting on more than underwear. He recoiled after being struck by a cruel splatter burn, and his phone came dislodged from his waistband. Upon retrieving it, he noticed he’d received a rather mysterious email.
The sender was a mysterious prince called Toban, from a foreign land. A royal in his homeland of Nigeria, Toban’s way of life was in grave danger. The prince requested urgent help, and pleaded to any whom it may concern to transfer the prince some money. These funds were to assist Toban to help Jack travel to his kingdom to combat ‘the thing’ that threatened his livelihood. Jack looked puzzled; he understood a great deal about being cautious, especially with respects to strangers on the internet. he heard about scammers. However, although the email was cryptic, and explained literally nothing, Jack thought, Toban seemed to be in genuine need. Jack righteously decided that $2000 was a small amount to pay to help a kindly stranger.
Naturally, literally everyone Jack mentioned this to were 100% convinced our hero had been repeatedly dropped as a child, but he remained strong. Days became weeks, and weeks became months. Even in the face of friends questioning how many vaccinations he had at the same time, or inquiring about his childhood consumption of lead paint chips (colloquially referred to as “Wall Candy”), Jack braved them all. These people did not know Toban like he did, the brief, one-sided, 53 word exchange had brought them together. Despite this, Jack’s hope was dwindling. He was close to broken before he finally received a positive sign, in the form of a one way ticket to Nigeria from Prince Toban. He boarded the flight.
“Mr Buffington, over here Mr Buffington!!” a stout black man called across the airport when Jack cleared customs.
Ignoring completely how this man knew what he looked like, because I checked and that would need about 150 more words, Jack and Prince Toban made their way home as Toban explained his current dilemma. Firstly, he vehemently refuted the label of “internet scammer”.
“Every dubious website and questionable email that passes the average person by is completely real”, Toban said.
Annually, he told Jack, the powers that be gathered two members of every faction of publicly labelled ‘Internet Scammer’ and forces them to fight to the death in a fierce battle royale, in order to keep them docile and to entertain the public.
Jack realised, Toban was the strongest of all the Nigerian princes, but his people had become weak and feeble. Due to shifting ideals, no one was sending them the money they needed to survive.
To Be Continued..(If I could get Nathan’s permission)