When the world was six years old, school start came closer. Caleb and Abid were getting prepared for it by Mother who showed them the shapes and sounds of letters. The “O” seemed fairly easy, but then Mother said that the circle also meant “nothing”. The world of the grown-ups was confusing!

That summer, Mother’s sister married a man who was a real teacher and had a real Ford. A Sunday in August he came, picked the boys’ family up and took them to his house with the car. When they arrived, the twins stayed outside to explore the foreign area, but with no other kids or toys around they were soon bored.

It was then that Caleb noticed the Ford. The door was unlocked, so he climbed inside. This was something different from his little toy cars! With loud engine-sounds and attempts to turn the steering wheel and change gears, he was in boy-heaven. The pedals were definitely out of his reach, but he touched all other devices. Suddenly, he heard a click. He had pushed the cigarette lighter which had turned hot and was ready to be used. Proud of his success, he wanted to show Abel.

With his passenger next to him, Caleb demonstrated how a car sounded and how an experienced driver behaved. After a while, he nonchalantly pushed the cigarette lighter knob. When it popped out, he held it in front of his brother’s eyes, expecting signs of admiration. But no reaction came, so to convince Abid that he really had made the lighter hot, Caleb impatiently put it on his brother’s cheek. Now, there were several reactions: a loud scream, a flood of tears, and an intense, red circle glowing on Abid’s left cheek.

Crying violently, Abid ran into the living-room where he caught everybody’s attention. Mother stood up, and in front of the teacher-in-law, she loudly and correctly spelled out the letter that was engraved on her son’s cheek, “O, Abid!!!”

Hiding in a corner, Caleb wondered why Mother didn’t say that a circle also meant “nothing.”

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Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate (@thompson-emate)
1 month ago

A hilarious one. A nice one. No colour was mentioned in the story.

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 month ago

Hello Christer – I’m very intrigued by this story, especially since you mentioned it in your comment about Inspirare. I know these boys must be you and your twin brother, which brings up a lot of questions. Did this really happen? Who was the brander and who the brandee? Did the scar last? I didn’t quite get the Biblical reference, except to Cain (Caleb?) and Abel (Abid?) Did I get it right? You certainly took us into the world of young mischievous, curious boys!

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate (@thompson-emate)
29 days ago

Christer, reading the story again I find it even more hilarious. Yes, I have seen the word, “red”, been used. I’m sorry for not taking note at first. Well, I didn’t realise the story was related to the Bible’s book of Genesis.Thank you for making me see that. I can see a variation in the name of Caleb’s brother.

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Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
1 month ago

I really like the last line here Christer. A circle or “O” in this instance most certainly meant something in the searing red circle left on the brother’s face. “O” that would hurt!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
30 days ago

Hello, Christer. Your talent is very amusing. I salute you for turning a bad childhood experience into a very nice and great story. And you have shown well the infancy of a child who knows nothing in the world but to play. It was fun to think of the child’s definitions in the circle, in the letter O, and a zero / “0”. Well done. 

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
28 days ago

Hello, Christer. You’re welcome. Well! I’m not happy about that bad experience of yours, Christer. It was a traumatic experience that changed your personality and self-confidence as you got older. There I found a little fun and a smile, in the child’s definition of your story about O, circle, and zero. That he totally didn’t think that O, circle, and zero also meant pain and hurt that will leave a mark. And you also impressed me because despite the bad and traumatic experiences that have taken place in your life you have been able to write it down and make it beautiful and wonderfully written. If I am becoming insensitive to the meaning of children in Zero, O, and circle. Then I want to extend my sincere apology.

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Julie Harris
Julie Harris (@julie-harris)
29 days ago

Christer, am I the only one who doesn’t think this story is funny, but instead thinks it is very sad? It must have been equally traumatic for you and your brother. Poor little guys. You had no way of knowing what that cursed car lighter would do and of course you didn’t mean your brother any harm. And yet you both had to live with the results the rest of your lives – as you said, at your 50th birthday the scar was still there. Perhaps this is one of the childhood events that has made you the sensitive, caring, spiritual person you are. I’m impressed that you were able to write about it. My baby brother climbed into a car in our driveway, which was on a hill, and somehow released the brake. I think he was about three or four at the time. Mom and Dad didn’t even know what had happened until he came walking up the hill. He was so lucky. Little boys and cars just don’t mix.

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