A Tomorrow Fable

Mr. Caveman never seemed to get done what he planned. He planned to bring home a bison, a turkey or at the very least some berries, but each day he would come home empty handed and full of booze. It warmed his belly and he liked it. His wife and kids didn’t.

Mr. Caveman would try to explain to Mrs. Caveman and his two children, but he couldn’t find the word or words to explain. He wanted to put his family at ease, but he didn’t know how to do that.

If only there was a way to promise that it won’t always be this way, he thought. That I won’t always be drunk. I won’t always come home empty handed. If only I could tell them that maybe at some point I won’t be this way. But then they wouldn’t understand because here I am standing in front of them, drunk with no food and a belly full of warmth. They can’t understand what I can’t explain.

Oh well. I am tired. I will sleep.

The caveman slept.

The next day Mr. Caveman rose from his stone bed trying not to disturb his children. He was going to hunt down breakfast for his family, so when they woke up, they would have something to eat. Mr. Caveman grabbed his spear and walked to the edge of the cave.

It was raining.

Mr. Caveman decided that he didn’t like the rain, so he went back to bed.

When he woke the second time, his wife and two small children looked at him with gaunt cheeks and watery eyes.

If only I could explain to them how it’s raining but it won’t always rain, he thought again. At some point the rain will cease and so will their hunger. But it is over their heads. I wish they could understand. It would ease their minds. And take the pressure off me today. I understand but I don’t have the word to say it. But I’m tired at the moment still. So I will sleep now, but I won’t always be sleepy. But now I sleep. Today is sleep.

Mr. Caveman woke up five hours later. Mrs. Caveman was annoyed with Mr. Caveman today. Mr. Caveman didn’t worry because he knew she wouldn’t always be annoyed. So Mr. Caveman went back to sleep. On the promise that it wouldn’t last.

When Mr. Caveman woke up once again, he had an epiphany. The sun was down. But he didn’t worry because the sun would rise again. It would. He knew it would because it always did after a while. The sun was disappointing now but later it would be good again. It would be bright and warm and fun.

He ran over and the word slipped out of his mouth.

“I’m sorry there will be no food today, but TOMORROW there will be.”

Mr. Caveman had never heard or said the word before but when he said it, something clicked. Like a child’s first step. He realized that his body knew what to do. Mr. Caveman knew what the word was and he knew everyone else did.

The word eased his wife’s troubled mind. She remained hungry, but Mrs. Caveman held on to the hope that tomorrow’s Mrs. Caveman would be full. She would be happy. She would have food for her babies. She knew everything would be alright tomorrow. So she went to sleep believing… hoping that tomorrow would be different. So did Mr. Caveman as he always did.

When Mrs. Caveman woke up into tomorrow, she was hopeful. She rose from bed and walked out of their cave. It was a bright day. The sun was shining, the kids were playing with sticks running around laughing and smiling. Mrs. Caveman smiled at tomorrow. Tomorrow was a beautiful thing.

Mr. Caveman appeared out of the woods in the distance. Mrs. Caveman beamed a smile in her husbands direction, expecting to see something of sustenance.

But there was nothing. Just his spear.

What happened to the tomorrow that was promised yesterday? Mrs. Caveman thought and glared at her husband.

“Where is breakfast?” she asked.

“Nothing today sweetie but tomorrow, I will have a feast for you.” he replied and kissed his wife on the forehead.

“Tomorrow was promised yesterday.”

“But it’s today.” replied Mr. Caveman. “I can’t give you what was promised tomorrow, today. Now can I?” he explained.

“Then what’s the point?” Mrs. Caveman screamed halting her children from playing in the process. “Why promise something that is always a day away?”

“Your answer is within the question my dear.” said Mr. Caveman and walked into the cave past his fuming wife.

Mrs. Caveman ruminated about her empty belly and hungry children. She didn’t know what to do? What could she do? She could go out and hunt herself. She could pick berries. She could leave Mr. Caveman for Mr. Forestman. Maybe he could provide for her and her children?

Mrs. Caveman became overwhelmed with her troubles and decided that she would give Mr. Caveman until tomorrow to turn things around, so today Mrs. Caveman could worry no more.