Night had fallen. Everything was set and the people were gathered; tonight was the beginning of the annual festival celebrating the harvest the people of this town would receive over the summer. They weren’t particularly worried about the harvest, nor were they worried about the heat in the humid night air. They just wanted to a have a good time like they did every year. Everybody was here and they did as their ancestors before them did – they put aside their worries and relaxed for this one week in the middle of the summer.
The spacious town square was the best place for this. It ensured that crowding wouldn’t get particularly bad (not that many people here cared about crowding) and it symbolised the history of this town. After all, everything has a history, and this eventually made its way into the celebrations. Wooden makeshift tables dotted the area dotted with all kinds of food and drink from throughout the year leading up to this event. Even for the rest of the year, there was little to worry about in a town so secluded, if it could be called a town. The mountains hid this place fairly well.
The air sparked, flickered and lit up with the torches and the people, as if aware. On any other day, it would have been motionless. A man brought his son to a drinks table. A girl sat down to join her friends with grapes held in her hand to idly eat. An entire family moved as a single unit as family is, moving slowly through the square.
Not everybody takes part in celebrations as such; not everybody reacts positively to gatherings of large groups of people. Some people had taken to wandering the outskirts of the town at the boundary between the mountains and the wilderness beyond, finding their own way tonight as some of them had done in life. Some would occasionally meet up and talk at their own pace in groups of two or three, a limit for some. Others stayed at home pretending to be unaware, perhaps skipping celebrations entirely to focus on their work beyond this week. The further from the town’s heart one walked, the more motionless the air seemed to get.
One such boy begun in the town square. He looked round, wandered and sat down with water and observed what was going on around him. He knew what he saw; he saw people being carefree, talking, laughing. This was their idea of a good time but it definitely wasn’t his idea of a good time. He exited through a street going through one of the houses forming the square pattern watching over the centre of the town. Leaving the noise behind him, he weaved between the loose gaps between buildings, houses, walls. The voices and celebrations behind him were in the distance now but even here the torches on the walls burned (as they all do at nighttime.) These were what guided him now. Out here in the silent maze of the outer ring of town and into the mountains beyond, shadows wandered and wandered without aim, unsure. Of themselves? Of tonight? Only they knew.
This boy himself didn’t know. Not many people know where they’re going when they’re young, but everybody has to make their way somehow. He saw someone walk past him through a crossroads formed by buildings. He didn’t know who they were but they looked at him too during that brief instant. He went to see who were but they’d vanished.
He felt lost at this point. He’d been okay with wandering like this for years, but he felt a certain kind of lost. Left out. He trudged back to the festival for one more try, to fit in. Once again, all he could do was look. He looked to his left briefly. He thought he saw a girl standing next to him. He looked again but she was gone.
In the end, tonight meant nothing to him. If he couldn’t enjoy what it was meant for, what was the point? There was only one place for him right now. A place everyone of all dispositions could stay; home. The rest of his family was out at the festival right now. They trusted him out here, but he wondered if they wished he was with them. He tried to go to sleep.
He couldn’t. He still felt as if he was missing out on something. The night still fell in darker shades of blue as stars flickered into tonight’s existence. Something felt different. He was missing out on something…what was it?