A son of a nobleman by the name of Adam stood to the right of an altar outside of a church. He was only fifteen but was about to be married to a beautiful young girl named Avelyn. His palms sweated as he fidgeted in front of his churning, nauseated stomach. Thoughts of unrest flocked his mind like crows screeching their melancholy songs. Although Avelyn had beauty unmatched by Aphrodite, Adam feared he was marrying Medusa.
The two had never met before this occasion of matrimony. Each of their parents agreed on the arrangement at Avelyn’s birth. It had been mentioned to Adam many times before that he would marry the girl. However, he avoided her whenever possible. Never had he wanted to meet her or associate with her in any way. Yet, there he stood as she walked closer to him adorned in the purest white dress she owned, draped in opulent décor.
Avelyn’s father was a noble of the kingdom who stood at the front of a crowd of people attending the wedding. He had paid a large sum to see their twelve-year-old daughter married off to the son of another noble. It was ensured that a dowry was to be given to Adam after the ceremony consisting of a large amount of land and wealth. Nevertheless, Adam was indifferent to the dowry.
Memories of another pillaged his mind like savages, ravaging and tormenting. The memories steered into a plane visible to only Adam. Sparks of fire ignited within his aching chest, singing his ever beating heart. A name danced a pirouette in his left side brain – the name of a boy his age he once knew and ached to know yet again. The boy tried to push it aside into a closeted part of his thoughts that were too cluttered for him to be distracted by it but failed.
Alas, the young girl gowned in white stood adjacent to the altar, opposite of Adam whose heart was pounding harder and faster than any drum. His hands shook in a most subtle manner at either of his sides. Beads of sweat caressed his forehead like angel kisses. Thus began the panic that enthralled him in binding, unbreakable chains.
“Thank you all for attending this most joyous event,” the priest began. “Is there anyone present who wishes to give a reason for this man and woman to not be unified in holy matrimony?”
Adam looked with the caution of a watchman toward his audience, who remained in utter silence. Not a soul spoke in rectification of Adam’s detriment for they were ignorant to it despite his indignant visage. The silence was ear shattering and soft-spoken.
To his unbecoming, the nobleman’s son sniped a tall figure behind the crowd of nobles, countrymen, and peasants. His short, fair hair sprouted beyond the many as the tallest tree does in a forest of pine. Adam dared only to glance at and over him. The name that pirouetted inside his conflicted, adolescent mind made a decrescendo to his throat, creating a lump that could not be removed by even the blessings of an omnipotent power. Adam looked back at his bride to be.
“Indeed. And you, Lady Avelyn? Is there any reason you cannot marry this man?” The priest inquired this presuming a dissenting response.
Without question, the girl responded with a polite but firm, “No.” Her smile was as wide as a sheet of parchment is thin. Crimson covered her lips from where her mother rubbed rouge on them.
“And you, Lord Adam? Is there any reason you cannot marry this woman?” The same response was expected of him, but he could not bear to recite it. Muscles in his legs grew weak. Nothing short of faintness came over him. Still, he remained stout and sturdy.
Thoughts of discerning taste accelerated through his brain like a knight on horseback, wreaking havoc on his mind. A drought instilled itself in his throat. Where clauses were meant to form, words stopped short at the edge of his teeth. As subjects began, predicates disintegrated. Butterflies in his stomach mutated into hornets. Despite these shortcomings, the name within his throat made a bravura jump to his tongue.
With immense but brief hesitation, the only response to the priest’s question Adam could illicit was the name.
“Eden,” he uttered as quiet as a flower in bloom.
Confused the priest furrowed his wrinkled brow. He leaned forward towards the boy in grace and catechized, “What did you say?”
Remorse overflowed the goblet that was Adam’s mind. Its dark liquid spilled onto the floors of his skull. He meant not to speak the name but a response was solicited of him. It was not a fault of his own that the name freed itself from his lips like a horse from a stable. He looked upon Avelyn, whose indolent smile had transitioned to a slight frown of inquisition. Gossip was spoken amongst the attendees of the wedding. All but the boy whose name was spoke at the altar had commented about the unorthodox action.
Adam knew he had many choices regarding what he could do or say to recover from his predisposition. However, in a split second decision, he chose to speak the name again.
“Eden,” he said, this time louder so that it could be audible to all who were willing to hear it.
“What of it,” the priest asked.
“Not a what, but a who,” Adam spoke. He sighed deeply before gesturing to the fair-haired boy who stood tall amongst the others. “He is the reason I cannot betroth this woman.”
Almost instantaneously, earful chronicles of calumny and other gossip parceled amongst the many. The boy whose name was no longer exclusive to Adam gaped as he gazed upon the groom in disbelief. Avelyn looked upon Adam with the same expression. As the volume in front of the church increased from the verbal contemplation of those who dared comment about the information they acquired only moments ago, the priest loudly demanded silence. So, it was silence he received.
Fear irradiated throughout Adam’s being so much that it had encompassed his physical form in its entirety. Nothing short of anguish overcame him like an entitlement to anxiety. Torment ripped its way through his ribcage as panic ensued him. His skin crawled like venomous arachnids as he sweated profusely and his heart beat with such magnitude, he could feel an earthquake enunciate itself in his gut.
“How does he prevent you from marrying this woman,” the priest asked.
“Because,” Adam began. He shook. “I love him.”
Gasps emanated from the people who witnessed this. More gossip was spoken, this time, louder. Adam could bear this occasion no longer. The ordeal consumed him in a void of darkness he wished to escape. His feet moved quicker than he could run as he bolted away from the church. He chased the open window of the opportunity to escape beyond the reaches of the town he once knew, of the town he had spent his entire life in with the people who had attended his wedding.
His legs were tired by the time he reached a lake within a densely wooded forest beyond the outskirts of his old town. He sat near it and stared at the fish swimming inside of it, pondering upon the idea of them never needing to marry as he cried. Tears of despair washed over his face. Running away was the bravest and most cowardly decision he had ever made, he thought. It was impudent but necessary for he could no longer be there, and that he knew.
The crunching of leaves broke the peace Adam felt near the lake. He was not alone any longer. Fear came back to him as a gentle hand placed itself upon his shoulder. It caressed him lightly in a manner that gave him a sense of familiarity. An adolescent boy’s voice spoke to him.
“I love you, too,” it said.
Justin Pulver is a rising senior at Prince George High School, where he actively participates in the school theater productions and gains most of his support for writing. He is a meme enthusiast and thoroughly enjoys Halloween decorations. Writing is where he finds solace and the capability to voice his opinions and stories to the public eye for interpretation. It fuels his desire to make himself known.