Before the Party

No Time — Truespace

One day, on a day when a party of special magnificence had been planned for the evening, the princess went to call upon her prince to consult with him on some detail of the evening’s entertainments and was surprised to find him as yet unprepared: not wearing his party finery nor making any move to put it on but rather sitting before one of the room’s great windows and gazing at the sky.

My prince,” she said, “why are you not preparing for the party? Our guests will begin arriving not long from now!”

Do you know,” the prince said, looking toward her,“it is all we do. Make parties, fine food and drink, amusements for our guests. Or we sit and watch the clouds mount up the sky, the sun in the day and the stars in the night. Why?”

Oh, but that is not all,” she came to sit beside him, putting her hand on his. “I have my music, and you your studies. Are they nothing?”

He considers for a long moment before answering.

Your music is beautiful,” he says at last. “But my studies only gnaw at me now. I dream of distant places and strange sensations. I know not what. Only I feel—” he shudders, as though with chill. “I feel that there must be more. That there should be more.”

We make beauty, you and I in our own ways, as do our neighbors in theirs, and when we come together we celebrate the beauty that we make and that which is given to us. What more than this can there be?”

The prince grasps her hand in his as he looks back out to the changing sky. He does not know how to answer.

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