The boy gripped at shards of clay with numb knuckles and his robes dripped onto the polished floorboards, saturated with freezing rain. Compared to the storm ravaging the mountainside the room was still, warm, and quiet, save for the crackling fire.
The lacquerer sat on his knees behind a low table, watching with eyes that sung of eternity.
The silence stretched for a time, the lacquerer sipped from a steaming cup – broken once but repaired with veins of gold.
“What brings you to my shop?” He finally said.
The boy bowed, “I have broken my Father’s vase, Sir. A strange lady told me you could repair what is broken with Kintsugi.”
The lacquerer gestured for him to bring the vase to the table, “How did this shatter?”
“I revealed my heart to the one I love. I had nothing to offer save this vase, my Father’s before… before he left us. I filled it with wild flowers to present to her but she desired another. As I left I tripped, it shattered, the flowers blew away in the storm.”
“A hard day,” the lacquerer eyed the boy intently, “You wish to repair the vase?”
“It’s all I have.”
“Pity… I can do it, but you must provide thine own gold.”
The boy sagged, “I toiled through that storm for nothing?”
“This strange lady, she wore a broad rimmed and pointed hat?”
The boy nodded.
“That old witch,” The lacquerer smirked, “What is broken can be repaired. Kintsugi is not about hiding our wounds, but honouring our history. Scar lines are story lines, a part of us. To honour them you must provide your own value. The witch did not send you to repair this vase,” he threw the shattered pieces into the furnace. The boy started but was halted by the lacquerer’s hand on his chest. “Let it go, young friend. She sent you to repair your shattered heart. It is cracked, but filled with its own glitter, just waiting to be of value.”
The lacquerer muttered a spell and the boy’s chest swelled with golden light. Unable to scream, molten metal spilled from the light and formed around the image of a beating heart in the lacquerer’s hand. The gold filled the gouges and wounds in the heart and solidified, forming a living, ornate sculpture. With a smile the lacquerer placed the heart within the boy’s chest and it sunk through his robes.
The boy collapsed back panting.
“The value was yours all along, friend. You have weathered the storms of life admirably. Now enjoy the day anew.”
The boy scrambled from the floor and bolted out onto the mountain side. The storm had passed and the bright sun shone on the damp terrain, droplets danced from green blades of grass in the wind and the blue sky reigned supreme.
His heart was clear. Turning back to the shop the boy gasped to find it had vanished, leaving nothing but broken shards of clay on the rocks.
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