Riley laughed and passed the platter of meat over to his twin sister. The braaivleis at Summer Festival was his favorite part of the festival, of all the festivals. Usually, the Gypsy group lived off rabbit and vegetables. Grits and stew were a way of life in the Gypsy tribes. But at braaivleis, everyone pitched in a little bit of coin, and they bought the biggest, fattest hog in town. This year’s was the best yet! They would be having pork for days, and it was cooked tender and juicy over the spit. He bit into the dark meat and the sweetness trickled down his throat. Some of the mustard-sauce dripped on to his trousers.

“You’re such a mess!” Harleyquinne, his twin sister, complained as she passed the platter to their mother. She tossed a kerchief at him and he stared at it on the ground where it lay. Why clean up now, when he planned to continue making a mess?

“It’s very good this year, isn’t it?” their father commented, and he bit into a piece of pork. Riley nodded enthusiastically and licked his fingertips. He gobbled up the rest of the meat in his hands and laid on his back, folding his hands under his head. Strands of white blonde hair dipped in cherry red fell in his eyes and he blew them away. Beautiful blue sky, no clouds, warm sunshine. Summer Festival was always perfect.

Some days were beautiful just like this. Other days were a nightmare. Days when the Royal Guard rode into the camp and began setting things on fire, grabbing the women, and striking the men. Days like these were the ones that made days like those tolerable. Under the perfect sky and with his belly full of pork and potatoes, Riley didn’t mind the unfairness of life. It didn’t matter that Harley was the next breadwinner of the family, because she could juggle fire and he couldn’t. It didn’t matter that the caravan would be moving to a different city in a few days time. Nothing matter but the moment.

Riley closed his eyes, felt the warmth of the sunshine, and just breathed.

.

Word: Braaivleis. || Time: 10 minutes. || Character: Riley Cathors.

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"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

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