Saturday, January 21, 2017

El Dorado

It was just before the break of dawn, and the streets of the city were completely deserted. Yet, there was Lucien, shuffling around in a drab bathrobe that hung off his thin frame and slippers that scraped at the ground with each step. It had been weeks since his accident, and despite treatment at the hospital, he had yet to gain back the memories he lost. So he resorted to this: walking around the city in a daze, hoping that something - anything - would trigger his memories to come flooding back.

So far, it wasn’t working.

But that didn’t stop him. He had taken a rather circuitous route around the city to get to the graveyard since that’s where all the hospital personnel told him the accident occurred. It was as gloomy today as it was that fateful day, but still, nothing.

Making his way past St. Cecelia’s Church and up Penny Lane, he began to feel the sun’s warmth on his shoulders. Up ahead, he heard the early morning bustle of people and a street peddler calling out the wares he had for sale. As Lucien approached where he had stationed his cart, he felt a wave of nostalgia take over him.


It was on this exact street, in this exact city, on a morning just like this one. He had to have been only 8 years old. And his parents, who had a penchant for early morning walks, were practically dragging him down the street.

“Lucien, pick your feet up! You don’t want to scuff your new shoes!”

Lucien didn’t care. “I just want to go back to sleep,” he whined.

“No, your father must have his early morning walk, God, Lucien, what will it take for you to listen?!”

Lucien’s eyes scanned the ever growing crowd before resting on a man with a cart on the edge of the road, calling out the wares he had for sale. The golden trinkets on the man’s cart glinted in the sunlight and caught Lucien’s eye.

For the first time that morning, Lucien smiled. “I want one of those,” he said, pointing at the trinkets.

His mother snorted. “Oh please, Lucien, if you want something gold we’ll get you something much better than that.”

“No,” he whined. “I want that.”

“Stop it, Lucien,” she huffed, dragging him along again. “We don’t waste money on cheap junk like that. Besides, he’s a good-for-nothing peddler. Do we associate ourselves with people like that, Lucien?”

“No,” Lucien whispered quietly, his head bowed in surrender. As they walked further down the street, the peddler disappeared into the crowd.


“Sir? Sir, are you okay?”

“Huh? What?” Lucien blinked several times and looked up. The peddler was standing in front of him, peering at him worriedly.

“You zoned out for a second, sir. Just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

Lucien grunted, his mind still swimming with what he just remembered. The peddler, satisfied with that answer, started walking back to his cart.

“Wait!” Lucien cried. The peddler turned and paused, looking at him with mild surprise.

He hesitated, before asking, “Can I buy a trinket?”

The peddler smiled. “Sure thing.”

For the first time that morning, Lucien smiled.

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