At the border of chaos and order lies the soul of man. That is how Vincent had always conceived the world to be, the truth remaining like a shining star during a northern winter night. Yet he had for long wondered who were supposed to be the men to charge into this border, this warzone of powers. From his birth and his childhood in a small English town, he had chosen his destiny. The man to lead this expedition, this venture to the truth and heart of all mankind, would be him.
He owned deep brown eyes, eyes that could stare at your soul for hours on end without a hint of tiredness, yet without the looks of a predator. They owned a hue of life, a powerful aura of mystery and spiritual realisation.
His features were narrow, yet strong at the foundations. He walked like a gentleman, yet his particular characteristics revealed themselves with the rapid movements of his eyes, or the quiet muttering of his lips as he walked around the town. He often opened his arms and shifted rapidly, as if he had experienced a spiritual catharsis which forced him to let go of his mortal coil, yet he did not come across as a lunatic, at least not for the people his age.
Young peasant ladies enjoyed his company, his stories and his poetry. He would meet them alone, maybe by a shivering stream, or a blooming forest, but no matter where they met, he revealed the truths he had found at the border. His poetry flooded the eyes of the listeners, his stories capitulated the women who listened, and his slightest of gestures were enough to turn the ladies’ cheeks red.
Yet Vincent, favoured by the ladies of his town and the women farther from his home, remained an isolated man. He had laid not a single finger on another, except when he gently kissed the hand of his dancing partner. He had never settled down, never owned a group of friends who could rely on him. No. He was like a gentle mist during the morning hours, owning a shape and leading to places unknown, yet elusive and always changing its form, while still keeping the nature of mist.
There were times when the townsfolk chattered about the disappearance of the young man, for sometimes he remained away for weeks or months. Young women would sob, believing him dead, the old men would declare him to have left to find a wife, and the lonely widow would whisper a prayer to hear a piece of his poetry one last time.
Nonetheless, Vincent always returned as if nothing had happened. His visage was visible from miles away, for his cloak danced in the wind and his hat declared his presence like a triumphant fanfare declaring the arrival of a king.
Whenever he did return, he would visit all the people who were distraught by his disappearance. He always had new stories, new sketches of the places he had seen, new poetry he read to the young ladies with flowers in their hair and to the widow who sat by the crackling fireplace. But he never remained long, for the border called him yet again and thus he left like a pilgrim towards the Holy Land.
As the years went on, the townsfolk learned to understand the reality of Vincent, and though their tears calmed down, they always took him back with open arms. The gentlemen of the town would gather and ask him to tell them everything, the ladies would not grant him rest until he had shared with them his newest works.
But there was a day when Vincent left. It was a cool winter day when he carried with him his suitcase. His cloak caressed the snow and his fingers tightened around his walking staff as if his life depended on it. He left only the marks of his boots and the shadow of his cloak, but after that bitter winter day, Vincent did not return.
The Town’s folk did not lose hope after six months had passed, not even after two years had gone without a word. The young ladies had married, the widow had passed away, and the old men were glued to their armchairs. No one knew why Vincent had left, why he had not returned. He was presumed dead and a funeral was held during the brightest summer. His burial sight was set in the forest, by the stream he had spent so much time at.
His words were marked down, written into pages that were safeguarded by the town’s elderly cleric. His paintings were discovered in his abandoned home and given to the women who had witnessed him painting them. His mark remained, even when his words had now left them. The town felt quieter, yet it kept its shape.
No one knows where Vincent went, did he die or did he marry? But the old veteran, who had begun painting after Vincent had taught him many years ago, believed to know the answer.
As Vincent had declared, at the border of chaos and order lies the soul of man. The town was a dark and cold place when Vincent had born, yet through his work, the people’s hearts were illuminated. The houses stood taller, the wind was more gentle, the people smiled more and the soul of the town remained strong.
But so it was, that order established itself in the town and there no longer existed a border. Now, the town was indeed in the safe hands of order and Vincent, an artist, had no fight to fight, no border to cross. Thus, he must have left in search of another place where he could use the blessing granted to him by Providence to establish order, where only chaos and sadness lingered.
But the old veteran never spoke this to people, instead, he painted and wrote as Vincent did. Though it grieved him to see the ladies in their grief, he had comfort in his heart, for he understood the power he had had the pleasure of witnessing for so many years.
And so it was, for Vincent travels still the world. Without a real attachment to a singular place or time, he travels and sings the poetry of his life to all who behold it. And wherever he wanders to, to whomever he decides to read to, order and light appear and take their shape as it has been for all time.
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