I used to love playing with Lego. As a child, there was nothing that fascinated me more. Every day after school, I would dump my bag at the door first thing and head straight for my room, straight to where my Lego sets awaited me. And every day I would pause at the door, take a deep breath, squeeze my eyes shut, and try to picture how it would look when I went in. No matter how hard I tried to visualise it, each time I opened the door I would get a wonderful shock. My imagination, no matter how great, was never quite enough to capture reality. And reality was constantly giving me new surprises.
I was ever in admiration of the miniature plastic blocks. Not only was each individual piece moulded with careful precision, and each its’ own bright, attractive colour; but there was something compelling about the way it all fitted together perfectly. It was like they interacted with each other, building one upon another to form a civilisation of their own. All they needed was the hand of imagination to provide a little guidance as a foundation.
Every day I built something new, and every day upon my return the room had undergone transformation, as I gradually unpieced old creations to build up new ones. Nothing remained constant, and yet I found myself constantly discovering new things. There was always some kind of new development in place, but the thing was, you never fully realised it until you looked at it from another angle. Everything looked so different from up there on your feet, all like a little world of its’ own. Down on the floor it seemed no different from your everyday surroundings; each stack was a life-sized tower like the skyscrapers we used to see on the way to school. Each little street was like the one just outside the house had been, lined with Lego houses bordered by Lego fences. When you’re down there, the Lego is your world. It all seemed so real to me.
I was alone on that score, though; that I knew. Nobody else paid any attention to the goings-on down below; they never really lowered themselves enough to see just how real it truly was. It was no different from our world, really; the way I admired my buildings was no different from the way Father and Mother admired the new glass tower they’d constructed at the city centre. But if you never saw it from ground level, through the Lego men’s own eyes, you could never really appreciate what it was from up high. To everyone else mounted on their feet, it looked just like anything you’d see on the ground, strewn amongst books and clothes and other insignificant items. After all, it was only a child’s plaything, to them.
Thinking about my old Lego sets in memories of a particular time. Well, there were lots of times it happened, really, each leaving me as distraught as the next, but one moment was distinguishable from another by the weapon of mass destruction used.
My little brother was different from me. He was what you’d call, a normal child. Little things were of little matter, in his books. On top of that, he simply could not sit still if his life depended on it. He was an action kid; he liked to move almost as much as I liked to admire Lego. My Lego sets could have lasted me my whole lifetime; but when he wasn’t breaking them, my brother got bored of his toys. He was constantly looking for new methods of entertainment. So he always had something new to keep him occupied.
One time it was a remote-controlled helicopter, brand new from the local Toy World. I remember it well. It was sleek, shiny and a bright alarm red that spelt dangerous.
I remember the moment well, too. My little brother’s laughter bounced off the walls strangely as the helicopter came zooming into the Lego realm that was my room, leaving my ears ringing with the hollow echoes of it. He was all eyes for the chopper; as usual, he didn’t mind my Lego. From my position down on the floor, I looked up warily at this unidentified flying object hovering above my city. You could almost feel the force of the helicopter emanating, each rotation of its’ propellers a walloping THUD upon the eardrums…not unlike being hit by a flying piece of debris. The noise grew louder as the helicopter approached, the THUDs pulsating in a quick, relentless beat, rolling like a great sawmill over the world. THUD THUD THUD THUD. The debris was coming from everywhere, more and more, faster and faster it hit me, as all I had known became ruins. THUD THUD—
BOOMCrash! I felt something powerful resonate through the air, something like the burial of an entire nation. At the same time things fell; the sound pierced the air like broken glass, cracking the contentedness of the tiny citizens below. The world stopped, and at the same time, everything commenced.
I felt the earth tremble. I watched through the window as just two streets away, flames engulfed our suburb. Those perfectly lined Lego houses bordered by perfectly lined Lego fences collapsing in an instant. But the thing I remember most clearly, the sound of my mother screaming.
That’s when it hit me. That’s when I knew. That this time, God had zoomed out from my miniature Lego world, dragging me with him into his living horror. And suddenly, I was not so all alone in my destruction. Yet somehow it was not empathy in my loved ones that I looked for at that time; it was the ignorant bliss of the men up in the skies, playing with their controls just as my brother had played with his. Playing their games without a second thought for the consequences on others.
I thought of how it had been before the planes came. Nobody else had had any minute inkling of what it meant, of what it felt like to have the only solid thing, the world around you, crushed before your very eyes.
And those men up there? They still don’t know. But one day, just like those days, just like that day, they will wake up to see their world at an end. Then they will see, just like the Lego men saw, just like I saw, just like we saw, that there is something out there bigger and deadlier than they are. There is always something. That is the way of karma; it catches up to everyone eventually.