Friday, April 15

A thoughtful silence, perhaps.

He was one of those sorts of people whose conversations left food for thought during his absences, debated highly, and then rarely revisited when he returned because nobody wanted to hear that he had no remembrance of such a conversation--and could you tell him your name again? What was the argument?

Nobody was quite sure whether he was merely a quiet person or whether he was uncomfortable in a crowd or was keenly observing everything to write to his father; he seemed to shun company, though if the stars in some far galaxy were aligned, he could tell a tale that everybody stayed to hear. One of the young visitors to the court likened his temperament to a forest animal that would reveal itself if one were quiet and still enough, and most everybody had agreed wryly before the young one could receive a disapproving frown from an elder relative.

What was it about his silence that unsettled everyone? Was he moody? No, there was no anger to his silence--maybe it was that he often laughed to himself for reasons that were never decided. His fellow students proclaimed him lively enough in scholarly debates and matters of philosophy but could say nothing as to why he lapsed into an echo when the kingdom or the existence of faeries was not at stake.

Never did anyone say he was really disagreeable; the king and his poet would riddle with the young prince late into otherwise dreary afternoons, the warden of the infirmary delighted in his knowledge of herbs and of healing, the younger noblemen settled debates on his opinion of a good horse or sword-stroke, and on the hope of a story sleepy children would sit quietly through a tiresome adult dinner.

The problem was that he was just too quiet.

No comments: