Eugene

Before the events of Tangled there was a young boy growing up in an orphanage. He had the biggest dreams and the kindest heart. This is the story of Eugene Fitzherbert.

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4. THREE

     As the last of the lanterns floated away into the night, I made my way home. It was dark and the path ahead would barely have been visible if it weren’t for the match I’d saved back in town. Picking up a branch, my wrist flicked the match and it once again burned with a soft yellow light. I wedged the match in at the top of the branch and watched it burn. The fire worked its way down the match and set the branch alight, and fortunately it burned bright so my eyes could make out the path before me.

     The walk home was pleasant. The only sounds came from the gentle rustling of the leaves and the crackling of the branch in my hand. When I arrived home I put out the fire and tossed the branch aside. Walking through the door it, was no surprise to find Miss Lotte still awake – she always waited for the last of us to come home before heading off to bed herself.

     “Did you and the boys release lanterns?” I posed the question as I lit the fire and boiled some water to make Miss Lotte and myself a cup of tea.

     Miss Lotte and I were prone to late night conversations. It was a time where we could just talk about anything and not be judged for it. With myself being the oldest of the orphans, I believe Miss Lotte just preferred the more mature company as opposed to say, Jack.

     “We did, yes,” Miss Lotte replied as she buttered some bread, “And little Jack learned the hard way what “hot” means.”

     “He just doesn’t listen, does he?” I poured the tea and brought the cups to the table. The candles burned bright, and I could see them reflected in the drinks as I slid one of the cups across the cracked wood to Miss Lotte. In return she passed over a slice of bread thick with butter.

     “I tried to warn him, but you know what Jack’s like,” she tried to laugh lightheartedly before looked down into her tea, “The boys missed you tonight. You didn’t read them your book.”

     Propping my head up against my fist I tried to chew my bread. Suddenly finding it difficult to swallow, I set it down and instead resorted to picking at the timber that was protruding in front of me. I felt as though I had let the boys down. It was just one of those nights where you needed to be around people, even though I wasn’t around those who loved me the most, “I know. I’ll read it to them in the morning.”

     “You’re really good with the boys, you know. They really look up to you,” Miss Lotte looked up to find my eyes focusing on the cracks in the wood rather than on the conversation at hand, “But something tells me that you want more.”

     “It’s just-” I sighed, “There just has to be something more out there. I love it here and I love all of you, but there has to be something more to life than just working and surviving.”

     That was the beauty of talking to Miss Lotte. She never got upset at anything you said, but instead took every opinion in its stride. She understood that everybody’s wants and needs differed, and she knew to take things exactly as you said them and not as someone else could interpret them. So it was no surprise to find her nodding in agreement at my comment.

     “If you truly want something more, it’s out there. You just have to be brave enough to go after it,” and with that statement and a smile, Miss Lotte removed herself from the table, leaving me to finish my tea with only my thoughts for company.

     Sipping at my tea my eyes made their way to the window. Way off in the distance it was possible to make out the faintest of sparkled. Not stars, but lanterns, I realized as they travelled across the sky. Oh how I longed to be out there with them, away from the crowds of society and the burden that bore upon us all called life. How I wished I could be as carefree as the golden lights that light up our sky once a year.

     Looking down at my tea and at the golden reflection of the candle that mimicked the lanterns, it was then that I realized something. We could never be free. Even the lanterns that drifted so effortlessly across the sky weren’t free. They had their own duties to carry out. They were in charge of bringing the lost princess home. It wasn’t about being free. It was about how we dealt with the situation. 

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