Forever Yours

      11 Comments on Forever Yours

The annual Lantern Festival is a big event for this small, sleepy town. Though it was not meant for lovers only, they have owned it for decades. Couples pour in from all over the state — dressed in their best, fragrant in love and perfume.

Some couples make a wish or a promise and send it soaring, with the lantern, to the skies for validation. Some burn their regret and pain away, ready to start afresh.Some whisper; some stand silent, observing.

I always nodded disapprovingly at the tickets you bought for the festival. “Let me burn those dollars instead,” I said. You argued that you purchased them at a discount from a friend’s friend. “Something to celebrate us,” you said, planting a kiss on my cheek. “Every love should have a ritual.”

I pretended to believe your fairy talk and went along, wearing the only button-down shirt I had. You lit the lantern, then closed your eyes for a second and made a wish. For our love to become eternal, I assume.

I did not make a wish; I had you. I just stood looking at your hazel eyes, glowing ethereally, following the lantern’s path till it vanished. I squeezed your soft hand, always puny in mine, and drew you closer, inhaling your fruity shampoo.

I still go to the festival every year, following our ritual, like an automaton. I pay for a couple’s undiscounted tickets. They don’t sell singles. I light the lantern with my shaky fingers, and wish you can see me dressed in the same shirt, except now it sags.

Young loves stare at me and my walking-stick.

11 thoughts on “Forever Yours

  1. MM Schreier

    Is this Lantern Festival a thing? I so very much want it to be a real thing! It sounds so beautiful!

    The line “They don’t sell singles.” is so heartbreaking. I almost wish it could be the final thought here.

    Great take on the prompts – thanks for sharing!

    1. admin Post author

      We have this Lights fest in Ohio, but I added the love angle to it. Yes, I should have ended it there. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Michelle H

    This is so sweet. It’s a little sad too, but mostly it celebrates the joy this couple had and I love that. Just a thought – I’m not sure you need the last sentence here. For me, the point was that the narrator kept up the tradition and remembers his love fondly, and the bit about his age felt a bit different from the tone of the rest of the piece.

  3. admin Post author

    Thanks Michelle. Yes, I have been thinking of many different ways it could have ended the story but nothing struck me that time 🙁

  4. Amy Bee

    Great stuff! I wonder what would happen if you started the story with “young love staring at…” and worked backward? Just an idea. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Nate

    I love how you kept the characters genderless. I also thought the way you separated this couple from the others at the festival was clever and telling. I would have liked there to have been a moment when the lantern was released into the air. It seems like a nice scene to describe. Though your flashbacks were marked by tense changes, I would have liked a clause on the first one to ease me into it.

  6. Christine

    Lovely nostalgic little story. “I did not make a wish; I had you.” That, and the way the narrator returns every year, alone – that really caught at my heart.

  7. asha

    I love the transition through the ages, and that he kept going to the festival. The line about not selling single tickets was so powerful because it was so understated while still so laden with emotion, so (by comparison) the continuation of the story to describe his old age felt a little overwritten. I so appreciate the way you never used gendered pronouns, and the reader is left to bring their own experiences to the story.


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