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  • Writer's pictureDillon Hamilton

Joyful’s Presence

Updated: Dec 7, 2018

A Vignette

Short Story by Dillon Hamilton

Strings and laughter had brought him from the road to the open door. Curiosity and wonder at the warm light of the gilded ballroom warmed the floor beneath his battered bare feet, bringing a rich comfort the impoverished road could never provide for a starved boy. He counted the string instruments a gift for his deprived ears, the warmth of the floor a gift for his abused feet, and the laughs a gift for his empty heart.

Fynn knew of weddings, feasts, and celebrations from the word of fellow weary travels, usually bent over campfires cooking root soup. Chagrin and their usual tinker's curses spawned from their jealousy for unshared wealth seasoned the soup, but Fynn realized the root of their bitterness lay not in their wish for a share. They wanted it all. They had not committed a transgression in their hope for blessing, but in their hopes to be the sole recipient of blessing.

Fynn stepped forward, letting the chandelier light shine on his ashen shins and rotting clothes. He yearned to cross the threshold and only feel the brass handle of the door. Skilled artistry excited his thoughts and imaginations. His memory of it decorated the palaces of his mind.

His bravery, lost on the road, swelled from the depths from which it had hid as he grazed the rail of the wooden door with his callused fingertips and flirted with the idea of grasping the handle. Before he could commit the action of his temptation a hairy and meaty hand swallowed the handle and barred Fynn from all his blessings. He was left in a chill and need. His stomach gurgled a response to the waft of freshly cooked food that had escaped with the closing of the door.

Just a sniff, Fynn thought of the food.

He trudged back to the open door of the manor and scanned the rolling hills for glints of friendly fires he could join for warmth and broth or clean water to fill his empty stomach. He leaned against a stone pillar next to the door and slid to its base, scraping the spots of rough lichen against the skin of his lower back. He had slept on worse surfaces and paid the abrasions no heed.

He tilted his head backward and stared at the tall facade of the manor. He dreamed a distant connection to its making. Maybe his grandfather was the mason who laid the stone? His uncle the carpenter of the doors? No, his great-grandfather the architect! He dreamed it was so. A man of authority, respect, and decisiveness, he imagined and with a drive to see his dream of this construct in this landscape. It paired perfectly with its setting and he who created it was a man who knew which wine he should have at every meal.

And from within, at that moment, something seemingly much less structured and planned, but more beautiful was being built--a celebration.

Fynn smirked at the joyful shrills, guttural laughs, and coughing cackles emanating from the wedding feast.

To have food, to have drink, to smile with a woman, Fynn thought. Realizing their joy shed light on the joy he had always carried on the dreary road, but never felt safe to expose with his miserable mates, caused Fynn to want after the Joyful's presence all the more and leave the road to the Miserable.

He stood and stepped to the edge of the threshold once more ready to cross. He paused and thought it would be a great courtesy to his mates to ask them to join the presence of the Joyful. What a wonderful gift it would be to them to receive joy! But, he remembered their bent was never to share in a joy, but to own place and pleasure or enjoy the misery that came with the state of their desires, which only hardened to those with any amount of joy. It saddened him to think he could not take them along, but they didn't want the joy of a wedding feast anyway. He mourned silently a few moments more before the ballroom door swung open. Another boy, half Fynn's age and finely dressed, stood in the middle of the column of light and winced when the door slammed into the wall adjacent. The celebration carried on in its own merriment, unaware of the noise made by one of the younger attendees. He beckoned Fynn to join the joy and Fynn left misery on the road.

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