A Father’s Love



A Father’s Love

Vienna Boy’s Choir 1977

He abandoned the room and went downstairs to the study and to his bureau. He took out the minstrel and stared at it for a moment longer, a crooked little smile on his face. “I’d like to have known you better,” he muttered.

A quiet and more pragmatic voice in his head chided him, however. Did he really mean that? Or was that nothing more than an expression of guilt? Had Stefan Bauer lived, would Schiffer truly wish to know more about the boy who’d taken Heinrich away by giving his son all he had of himself? How would Schiffer have behaved, the voice continued, if Heinrich lived and talked about his lover to his parents? What then?

Schiffer sighed, his gaze dulling with unshed tears. “I’d like to think that I’d at least try to understand,” he whispered.

Cradling the glass minstrel in his hand, he walked off to the drawing room. He stood before the Christmas tree for a moment, searching for bare areas. And when he found an appropriate spot near the top, he pulled out a couple of ornaments and moved them elsewhere. He hung the minstrel on one of the branches, exactly at a spot that he could easily see from his favorite chair across the room.

On the branch beside it, Schiffer hung another ornament. It was a glass shepherd, with dark hair and features that he thought were familiar to him. He’d insisted on purchasing that from Abelard Bauer a few hours ago, for all of Bauer’s efforts at getting him to bring home something more regal.

“Surely you wish to have something appropriate for your tree, Herr Schiffer,” Bauer had said in some confusion when Schiffer pulled out the shepherd and declared it to be his favorite.

“It is appropriate, believe me. For its intended partner, it’s quite perfect.”

The shepherd, Schiffer had also told himself, was a clear enough expression of his love. He’d thought at first of purchasing a king on his way to Bauer’s shop, but he’d realized that it wasn’t a realistic representation. Heinrich, as his younger brother had pointed out, hadn’t been a saint. He’d never been perfect, despite his father’s arguments—misguided and unfairly partial arguments—to the contrary. He’d been human, perhaps too human, but that had made him all the more beautiful to Stefan Bauer.

It was with no small pride that Schiffer mulled over that final point. “He chose my son,” he said. “He chose Heinrich to be the center of his world. And they died together.”

It was a terribly romantic idea, Schiffer had always thought, and certainly one that was better suited in poets’ flowery verses, but he couldn’t deny the beauty of such an extreme, breathtaking sentiment as two lovers passing on together, inseparable even in death.

He stepped back and watched the glittering, delicate representations of two lost boys, his heart full, his mind still marveling at many ideas that had always been foreign to him, but were now so, so real.

from The Glass Minstrel

Hayden Thorne is a writer of young adult fic­tion, spe­cial­iz­ing in con­tem­po­rary fan­tasy, his­tor­i­cal fan­tasy, and his­tor­i­cal gen­res. Her books range from a super­hero fan­tasy series to reworked folk­tales to Vic­to­rian ghost fic­tion. Hayden’s themes are coming-of-age, with very lit­tle focus on romance (most of the time) and more on indi­vid­ual growth with some adven­ture thrown in. Her website can be found at http://www.haydenthorne.net

Advent Calendar Giveaway!

Comment to this post, and two winners will be chosen to receive two e-books each: The Glass Minstrel (historical gay YA fiction – Victorian) and Desmond and Garrick (Book One) (historical fantasy gay YA fiction – Regency, to be released on Dec. 15).

The BONUS BUMPER PRIZE QUESTION (don’t answer this – just save them up for Christmas Eve.)

10  If you were born on Christmas Day, what would your star sign be?

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24 Responses

  1. two lost boys..
    a wonderful sweet little story full of images..
    thank you!

  2. Oh that’s lovely.

    Baubles on the tree mean a lot to the Cochranes – there are always special ones that each person has to put on.

    • I haven’t had a Christmas tree in years. We did before, but the cats kept ripping into it, so we’ve resorted to fresh pine wreaths on the wall instead.

      Oh, and loud traditional Christmas music playing from my laptop.

  3. How sweet and sad and perfectly lovely. Thank you for sharing.

  4. OH – that was very lovely and very sweet. Interesting concept also! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Absolutely gorgeous and full of wonderfully poignant images…

  6. This had me in tears it so moved me. The imagery was wonderful.

    • As I’m torn between apologizing (for the tears) and thanking you (for the tears), I’ll do both. Thank you, and I’m sorry if it caught you off-guard in any way. 🙂

  7. I’m all misty!

  8. A very touching and charming excerpt. Thanks for sharing it!

  9. Thank you, Hayden. A very sweet, touching contribution to this daily calendar which is reminding me so evocatively of the subtleties of the Christmas spirit.

  10. I’m late reading it, but it’s wonderful. I knew when I first heard about it that I would read The Glass MInstral as soon as I could, and your excerpt made me want to more than ever. I love good YA stories, and I verily believe this is one of them. Thank you for posting it.

  11. That’s very moving, and it stands up perfectly as a short story on its own. All the same, I want to know the background now, so I’ll have to check out the book 🙂

    • Thanks, Alex. I’m kind of bummed now that I can’t give everyone who’s commented my prize. ^^;;;;; If you do read the book, I hope you enjoy it!

  12. So sweet. I thought I recognized the characters when I first began reading it. I hope the new YA book does really well.

    • Hi Twila! Thanks so much for the good vibes. Yeah, I hope that the book does well, too. Not everyone’s into YA fiction, so it’s been a bit of a challenge.

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