Monday, 21 March 2016

Happiness (A retelling of Maurice Maeterlinck's “The Blue Bird”) - Chapter 16 and 17

Chapter 16 – True Happiness

“So what was that place I found myself in?” Tristan asked as they once again took the path along the steep cliff.
“You were at the House of Luxuries,” Lucien told him.
“That was what I was told, but what are they really?”
“What did they tell you they were?”
“They say that they live like that. I guess they mean they live in luxury. What I want to know is why all that disappeared?”
“The Luxuries believe that happiness is found in material things such as food, drink and riches. What some do not realize, and some try to ignore, is that happiness do not come from having material things. Having material things only give temporary happiness which is fleeting, but also very deceptive because it never fills the emptiness that actually meant for true happiness. So the Luxuries drown and bury themselves in material things trying to fill a bottomless hole in their hearts, not realizing that those were the very things that were chasing away their true happiness.”
Tristan listened and thought over what happened to him there. He shuddered.
“Is something wrong?” Michelle asked.
“Lucien, one more question,” Tristan asked, “What would have happened if I did end up joining the party, ate their food or had their drink?”
“You would have forgotten.”
“Forgotten?”
“The food and drink the luxuries served had toxic qualities. It makes one crave for those things, but never fills them. After each taking it only make the emptiness worse, so you would only think about the next meal they serve you or the next drink or the next thing you could have. You would forget the important things in life: the love you share with your family, friends and loved ones.” Lucien looked up and stopped. “We have arrived.”
They all looked around it was a vast empty field under an open sky. The field was green with grass and speckled with wildflowers.
“So where are we now?” Tristan asked.
“We are at a place called Blessings.” Lucien explained.
“Are we supposed to see something here?” Michelle asked.
“Turn the diamond, Tristan, and take a look.”
Tristan turned the diamond, its facets sparkled revealing children playing in the field. Many children of various shapes, colours and sizes laughed and played in the field gathering flowers, playing tag or just lay in the grass staring up into the blue sky – a dressed in gowns of pastel colours.
“Hey! It’s Tristan and Michelle!” one of them shouted.
At the mention of the visitor’s names, they all ran up to them, some of them brought circlets of flowers and placed them on their heads.
“Welcome to Blessings!” the children greeted.
“It’s so nice to see you!” said a little black cherub boy in mint green.
“We always talk about you and how your family make us want to dance,” said a brown girl in pale orange and yellow.
“We love to hear your family talk!” said a little boy with golden hair and blue eyes dressed in sky blue.
“How do you know our names?” Michelle asked bewildered.
The children stopped and then burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Tristan asked.
“We always see you!” said a girl with almond eyes and black haired bob, she wore a pink dress.
“We see you every day!” said olive skinned girl with green eyes wearing a pale yellow dress.
“You just can’t see us because we are invisible,” explained another boy with earthen coloured skin, his hair tied back in a cue. He wore a pale brown gown.
“We are looking for the blue bird,” Tristan said. “Do you know where we could find one?”
The children giggled.
A little black girl in a lavender dress stepped forward and said, “We see one in your house every day. Right, everyone?”
The children nodded.
Tristan and Michelle looked at each other even more puzzled.
“You see one in our house?” Tristan asked.
“Are you talking about Tristan’s pigeon?” Michelle inquired.
“Nope!” the children chorused.
“There’s a real blue bird in your house,” said the little boy in the mint green.
“We saw it singing when your family shared a funny story,” said the girl in the pale yellow.
“It even flew around the house in joy when you discovered your father came home safe from a violent storm,” explained the girl in pink.
“Look! There’s someone you would like to meet!” The boy in tan suddenly grabbed Michelle’s hand.
“Yes! Do see her! She and others would love to see you!” The girl in lavender tugged Tristan’s arm.
“Come on! Come on!” the children twittered excitedly leading the older two further into the field.
“Now who do we have here?” said a sweet voice.
Tristan and Michelle looked and saw the mother Jolie smiling at them.


Chapter 17 – The Loves

“Mother?” both Tristan and Michelle asked in unison.
“But,” Tristan heard himself say, “You look like our mother, but you aren’t. The mother we know is much older than you.”
“You are right in saying that I am not your mother,” said Jolie’s look-alike. “I am Storgé.”
“Storgé?” Michelle asked.
“It means ‘love of parents and children’. I am one of the loves you find in your lives.” Storgé explained.
“Madam, can I give you a hug?” Michelle asked, “You look so much like my mother I just realized how much I missed her.”
Storgé held out her arms and Michelle fell into them. The moment they embraced Storgé’s face grew younger and prettier. Tristan gaped at what he saw.
“What’s the matter, Tristan?” Michelle asked, noticing the look on her brother’s face.
“She just – changed! She grew younger and…and prettier (not that she wasn’t before, but became more so).”
Storgé giggled. “So you see how love worked. When you show affection it brings out beauty in the one you give that affection to. In my case, your love for your mother makes her younger just as your expression of affection made me younger.”
“Do you have any left for me?” asked a deep voice.
“Father!” Michelle exclaimed.
“Hello, Michelle!” smiled Pierre.
“Are you like Storgé?” Tristan asked.
“You are right in asking so. I am Philia, ‘affectionate regard and friendship between equals’,” explained the Pierre look-alike.
“Don’t forget me!” A young girl suddenly appeared from behind Philia. She looked about the same age as Michelle and was stunningly beautiful. Her hair were wild coils of blazing copper, her eyes were bright blue-green like lake waters.
“I’m Eros! I represent intimate love. I also represent appreciation for beauty itself or beauty in the person one sees.” The girl gave a flirty wink at Tristan.
He blushed and looked away.
Eros giggled at his shy reaction.
“And we must never forget Agapé,” said Eros, prancing over to Lucien.
“But, that’s Lucien,” Michelle pointed out.
“You call him Lucien, but he is Agapé himself.” Philia explained, “He represents the ultimate love including brotherly love, charity, the love God has for man and the love man has for God.”
Michelle stared at Lucien puzzled. Lucien only smiled.
“What are you, Lucien?” she asked in wonder.
“Someone who is always there for you, my dear one,” he said with a knowing wink.
After they rested and enjoyed the company of the Blessings and Loves, the companions left the field.
“They said they saw the blue bird in our house, but I don’t remember seeing any.” Tristan reflected.

“I was thinking the same thing.” Michelle pondered, “Could it be that the bird was invisible as the Blessings were?”

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