Grofo, the brutish ape, rattled his heavy chain loudly. Not because he thought anybody might take the least bit of notice of him, for he knew by now that they wouldn’t. But because he was bored. He looked down, way, way down at all the teeny tiny looking apes and monkeys in the trees swinging and singing and scratching and playing. He looked way, way down at the people of the world as slowly, slowly their eyes started to open and he sighed a deep ape sigh that resounded flatly through the quiet air and returned back to his rounded ears like a boomerang.
He’d been watching the people more than the monkeys and other animals lately, for something very strange indeed seemed to be happening to them. They stumbled less and listened more. Their hatred subsided as their love grew. And they seemed to sense things more than before, not one or two like there had always been, but hundreds, no, thousands of them were waking up and, like the animals, had a sense of what was to happen before it did.
Grofo searched for his old home and found it, as he always did, the same big old trees with the same emerald ferns beneath. Of course now, after all this time, the apes were different. But he didn’t care. He still yearned to go home. He wiped a big brutish ape tear from his face with an agitated hand and stared at the ponderous chain around his leg. It had been there for 201 years that chain. Lifetimes ago, he thought, as he stared at it.
Grofo stared and stared and as he did his eyes became heavy and glazed and he went back 201 years, when all he knew was hatred and fear and loathing. He was a young ape then and big. Bigger than big. He was the biggest, most brutish looking, most feared ape there was. But you see, Grofo didn’t want to look brutish and Grofo didn’t want to be feared, he just wanted to be loved. Like when he was small, before he grew to be big and brutish.
When Grofo was small, he had seen the white man take his mother’s hands and feet for a trophy, and he had curled into her side then and waited there until she went cold. Grofo’s Uncle had taken him to his family and he had beaten Grofo and used his tiny body for things that he shouldn’t have. This happened for so long that soon Grofo forgot about love and joy and knew only hate and fear. When Grofo grew and grew into the brutish giant that he was, no-one could touch him and he was finally safe. But by then it was too late, for his heart was filled with hatred.
Grofo was so brutish and so full of rage and so feared that he didn’t have any friends and he was terribly lonely. He wanted to have his own family like the rest of the apes his age, but none of the female apes wanted to be with a hulking, brutish, angry ape and this just made Grofo more and more upset. So one night, unable to contain his rage any longer, Grofo stole into his only friend’s home and he grabbed his friend’s mate by the throat so she couldn’t cry out for help or even in terror and he brutalised her with all of the rage that he had locked inside.
And now Grofo sat, tied to the chain that God had locked tight around him, and cried colossal tears of remorse for what he had done. They ran from his eyes and spilled down his great chest and splashed onto the floor in great drips of regret. Here he had sat and here he had cried for 201 years, waiting for God to forgive him.
God came to him, as he sometimes did, to offer him love and forgiveness. And as always, Grofo hid his great face in shame from the eyes of God.
“Don’t look at me!” he cried, “I’m not worthy!”
“We are all worthy, all of us. Even you,” said God. “There is no judgement here, only the judgement you place upon yourself. When you right your wrongs and you forgive yourself, you are free to join them.”
Grofo moved a giant finger just a little bit, so he could peep at God through his hand.
“But, how can I right my wrongs when I am tied? I don’t understand,” he said, full of deep and anxious bewilderment.
“That is your task, Grofo the great ape. That is your task.”
God left him then, almost as if he had never come, and Grofo let out a gigantic, apish cry, filled with pain. He shook his great head and felt the agony of his life growling deep in his belly. He opened his huge jaws and roared with such rage that the heavens shook and the earth rocked. Then the tears came. And came. And came. They flowed in rivers, floods, torrents, and Grofo the brutish ape was drowning in them. He tipped his great head forward and let the floods fall to the earth. They fell on Africa, on the dry earth, which drank its fill, and into the cracked mouths of the children, who cried with joy. They fell on Australia, onto the crops, which were renewed with life, and filled the people with hope. They fell onto the vast oceans, filling them with passion and empathy. They fell onto the people who were waking up, cleansing them, and making them ready to receive all that they ever dreamed of. And finally, they fell onto a tiny ape, born again into a lifetime with an ancient fear and rage that she could never understand. As the tears fell onto her arms and legs, she tilted her tiny head up to the sky and drank them down. And as she did she thought she heard a deep, deep voice asking her for forgiveness. Grofo’s tears swelled into her heart and she felt a calm like she never felt before, not in this lifetime or any other for a long, long time, and she raised her tiny voice to the vast sky and cried, “I forgive you, for that was all that you knew.”
At that moment, Grofo heard a great, resonating crack and looked down to see his chains were lying broken on the floor and God standing right in front of him.
“You have righted your wrong. You have broken the chain. Soon all the chains that were constructed when the earth was filled with fear will be broken and no-one will owe anyone a debt anymore.” He said. “For now, you will go back as a Guardian and you will watch over that tiny ape and protect her until she no longer needs you and you no longer need to serve her.”
And with that, Grofo the gracious ape, spread an immense pair of wings, and was gone.