Deciding to be Happy

Sentinel Island - Haven

When you have been in solitary confinement for any significant duration of time, your five senses eventually get bored with the lack of novelty surrounding you. It is a grinding and taxing experience, to have ones present facilities tire of doing there job with enthusiasm. At first the tiniest of changes become fascinating, such as watching the seemingly random changes that smoldering embers in the fire undergo, the way light will creep along the wall through the tiniest of cracks in the door, or the way one's breath along the ground causes dust to find a new place to settle. Even pursuing newness through focusing on the mundane and the often overlooked details eventually and inevitably becomes commonplace too.

Fortunately, Gonyaul was of the imaginative sorts with a lifetime of quality meditation practice. He looked inward to find things to stimulate his mind and refused to let despair ruin his day. Out of necessity, he had in illusion visited countless places, learned new skills, and lived life on his own terms several times over before company arrived. The fantasies he painted in the beginning were curious echoes of reality and his perception of it. As time passed though, they became more whimsical and unrealistic. At one point he wondered if this was a good thing, or perhaps the first stage of himself going unhinged.

Regardless, the footsteps approaching brought him back to the present moment. The new sounds, which captivated his attention, rekindled the forges of excitement. That excitement was bittersweet, because it was part hopeful and equally worrisome. The question of what was going to happen next was running through his mind and it was unclear if it was a positive or negative inquiry. It would all come down to how he framed it, most likely; however, he already had experience of a worse situation than his present one. Therefore, he was not naïve to assume the end result was guarantied to be in his favor.

Gonyaul refrained from moving from his curled up position on the floor until the door actually opened. It would have been a waste of energy if the door hadn't opened. He had been doing a rather good job of setting small tasks and conserving his strength throughout his time in captivity. Accomplishing these tiny and humble goals had been useful to continue reaping the benefits of feelings successful; making progress in life despite all the obstacles.

When he saw his visitors, Gonyaul calmly rose to a seated position right where he was. He was dressed in the meager attire they provided him. Despite a few smudge marks from the floor and looking like he had less body fat (then his arrival) due to low rations of food and water, he had a pleasant looking disposition. His hair had been braided beautifully, as if for a special occasion, having projected that eventually someone of important would be coming to evaluate him; and it was honoring in his culture to try and present oneself well for others. In addition, his mannerisms were unmistakably peaceful, controlled and slow. In part this was to set his guests at ease, as well as because he was exhausted. The resulting behavior gave him a sage like aura, though that wasn't the intention at all.

The most peculiar thing about him taking audience with them was he genuinely looked content and happy. He had learned from his elders that it was in one's best interest to decide to be happy, or at least act happy, despite how you felt or how bad circumstances might be. This was due to several key strategic reasons. Firstly, no one likes to be around unhappy people and he would very much like these strangers to find his company enriching and valuable to continue. Secondly, happy people tend to act better and his present circumstance was precarious enough that behaving out of sorts could be problematic for him. Thirdly, happy people make the world a better place, while the unhappy make it worse, and he viewed it as his purpose in life to better the people, places, and things he came into contact with. Fourthly, it was just good promotion for the Vaux ways. No one would be interested in the beliefs and customs of the Vaux if those living them were miserable all the time; however, to achieve happiness in the storm of misery on the other hand would catch the attention of others most definitely.

Finally, he had been taught the primary drive of all living things was the search for meaning. This could be achieved through three means. One, to do things which brought forth purpose, progress and achievement. Two, to experience things in relationship. Three, one's attitude in the face of struggle. The latter was the most tested pathway in his present predicament. They would find his attitude to be one of gratitude and a resilient joy.

Gonyaul took deep notice of the details of both of the women. His bored senses finally having something new to experience and collect, were overzealous in capturing everything. He then enjoyed the process of trying to figure out the meaning behind these details, what clues they provided, and what new questions they would invoke. To the women it would come across as admiration and hint at how clever he really was behind those sweet innocent looking doe-eyes.

When the older woman beckoned him to move closer, Gonyaul obliged. He limberly crawled the few feet from his present position to where she instructed and took his seat again. He sat up tall and courageous, with good posture; as would a well-trained dancer with a strong core and impeccable breath control.

"After all this time, you have come to this shores. A son of our enemy. A son of our sins." she started in what was clearly the language of the Vaux, but spoken in such a tone, enunciation and intonation that he had never heard before.

Gonyaul was genuinely surprised by her use of his tongue. If he was a puppy dog, his tail would have been involuntarily wagging behind him. Alas, they would have to settle instead for the twinkle in his eyes. He could tell it was an older form of the Vauxian language, it hinted a little bit like how some of the oldest Vaux he knew would phrase their sounds.

"What are we to do with you now?" she asked but he knew she did not want answer from him. In that moment he knew immediately his future was in her hands.

Gonyaul realized it was a rhetorical question. His mind was flooded with questions for her. He was a son of their enemy? A son of their sins? Those questions opened up a vault of more questions on top of the obvious ones about why they were doing this to him and who were they. What were they referring to? How could a young lad isolated and sheltered in a remote part of the Kru'll jungle be either of those things to people he had never met? He took a deep breath and calmly let it out while waiting patiently. They were in charge and he knew very well, from his upbringing, that it is respectful to the authority to wait till they requested your response.

They were sizing him up and he was likewise doing the same to them. Strangely enough he had not abdicated power to them, even though they did indeed seem to hold all the cards of power at the present moment. He politely sat still, as a sovereign individual that was beyond their ownership. He showed no sign of cowardice or recoil, in fact if one were to try and discern his gaze they might describe it as the following: Gonyaul was trying to determine if he wanted them to be his friends.

< Prev : I Am With You Next > : Sometimes - Always