New Year

Introducing a new fantasy character…Dadd

lost_road_inn_by_asahisuperdry-d5i798b

Dadd was in a corner of the inn with half a glass of ale in one hand and the world on his shoulders. He stared into the bubbles as they floated about in his drink and popped, each of them like the ticking of time that always seemed to run against him. Not enough time for the harvest, not enough time for his wife, not enough time for his kids, not enough time for the things he loved; no matter what it was he had to do, there was not enough time.

 

Dadd fought back the tear that formed in his eye as he gripped the ale tightly and drank deeply to drown the sorrow that welled up from deep within. He shook his head to clear the last of the emotions that threatened to disturb his stoic appearance and smiled up at a man who stepped towards Dadd’s corner table. He was dressed in a long dark coat that covered and concealed the rest of his appearance. His face was also dark and his eyes clouded like the sky during a storm. His voice rang out clear like a bell.

“May I join you?” the man asked.

Dadd straightened and gripped his ale with both hands, “Of course, you’re welcome to join me,” he answered.

The man sat across from Dadd and leaned on the table with both hands staring hard at him which made Dadd turn away and look down into his ale once more for comfort.

“I’m New Year,” the man announced.

Dadd’s eyes widened and his mouth fell open. He looked up and stared blankly for a long minute at the man who claimed to be “New Year.”

“What do you mean?” Dadd finally asked. “Your parents named you ‘New Year?'”

“No, I mean that I am in fact the New Year,” the mystery man answered. “I know it is complex and confusing. New Year is an idea right? Just an arbitrary mark on a  man-made calendar to delineate one segment of time from another right?”

Dadd nodded.

“Well in this case, New Year is real and sitting right here with you.”

“But why?”

“Why? Why not? I get it. You’re confused. It’s to be expected,” New Year admitted as he leaned back  and folded his hands behind his head which made him appear even more nebulous than before as his hair fell around his face and head, distorting their shape. “Here’s the deal. I understand. Life can be difficult. There is death and destruction, malice and hate, pestilence and fear. The world can be a frightening place but you’ve made it this far. There are a lot of good things to enjoy as well. The world has love and friendship, laughter and joy, tasty food and intoxicating drinks. There is much to celebrate and much to look forward to.”

“Um, ok,” Dadd stammered, “But why are you here? Telling me?”

“Because you’re sitting here moping about it! I saw you staring into your ale like it was your long lost lover and I thought maybe you needed some reminding. The world can be ugly but your life is what you make it. You decide whether to focus on the negatives or the positives. Will you see only the ugly? Or will you find things to celebrate and be happy about? Here’s the thing, there will always be something wrong. Sometimes it’s worse than others but there is always something that could be better. Fire will destroy entire forests but it also clears the way for new growth and new life. The important thing is not to let those things stop you from celebrating.”

Dadd inhaled deeply and the slowly exhaled as if trying to take in all the advice from New Year.

New Year noticed his struggle and offered up the solution, “Here mate, Cheers!” New Year leaned forward once more and from somewhere unseen, produced a mug like Dadd’s filled with foamy ale and held it forward for a toast. Dadd blinked hard twice before he believed what he saw then held his up as well.

New Year toasted, “May your mug ever be filled with ale and your heart with love, cheers.” Dadd clinked his mug against New Year’s and then tilted it back to drink. The draft tasted better than ever and Dadd could not resist but to lean all the way back, eyes closed and drain the mug of its refreshing contents.

When he swallowed the last bit and opened his eyes once more, New Year vanished. Dadd shook his head hard and blinked several times, but the man was no longer before him.

With a shrug Dadd left some coin on the table and left with his head filled with wonder and his heart filled with encouragement.

Happy New Year! Cheers!

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