The warm sun beated down on Frodo’s shoulders as he leaned deeper into the stone bench with a sigh. Closing his eyes as the base of his neck thudded into the cool stone, he drew his knees up to his chest tightly with a curse. I’ve no friends, he thought. I am alone. “Frodo!” he heard from across the field. Thudding his head into the bench again, he said quietly, “What?” Sam scrabbled up the cobblestones and slid onto the bench beside him breathlessly.

“Mr. Frodo! You’ve got to see this! We hung a swing by the river!” Frodo opened his blue eyes and drew his brows crossly. “Three things, Sam. One, you are married and should not be away from home on juvenile excursions. Two, I can hardly indulge in such childish games pleasurably. And three, I am perfectly complacent,” he said, leaning back into the bench. Sam looked away. It had been a simple dig, but had stung. “But -” Sam began, but Frodo stopped him with a testy glare. “Please. Leave me be. Pray tell what you’ll do next.” Sam looked away to hide his tears, nodding. “I’ll do just that, Mr. Frodo. Just that.”

He stood and walked away dejectedly as Frodo opened one arctic blue eye to watch him go. Snorting as he closed his eyes again, he leaned his head back on the edge of the bench. “Rash impulses. Ha!” he laughed softly, trailing off when no one joined him. As he dared a backward glance, he noticed the few occupants of the small fountain square had left after his scene with Sam. They’re afraid of me, he thought to himself as he stood up and scratched the base of his neck. I’ll prove it. Dashing through the long grass clumsily, he noticed a little hobbit girl. Her strawberry curls bouncing about as she ran in pursuit of a pink butterfly, Frodo smiled. “Lass!” he called sprightly, craning his neck to see her in the fading evening sun.

She looked toward him and smiled, waving. He bounded after her as she giggled and ran away, her tiny legs carrying her as fast as they could. He caught up and laughed, saying, “Hello. What’s your name?” she smiled brightly and answered, “Petra,” her face red with effort as she spoke back, “What’s yours?” he drew himself to full height and said proudly, “Frodo!” her smile faded, as she scratched her forearm nervously. “I’m not supposed to talk to you. Can I go home?” Frodo looked away, the gentle breeze blowing the dark curls off his temples. “Yes, lass. Thank you.” She nodded and bounded away, humming as she went. Wrong, Frodo thought as he trudged home.

Frodo sighed as he opened the door to Bag End. Suddenly he felt an impulse to yell out, “Bilbo!” but stopped himself before the grief came back on. Just a few years ago he’d received a letter saying that Bilbo had passed away peacefully in Valinor. Shaking his head he slammed the door behind him and plodded into the living room with a sigh. “BOO!” he heard, and nearly jumped out of his skin as he whipped around, a small dagger from his belt in his hand. “Aw, Frodo, it was just a bit of fun!” said the newly revealed Pippin, who was holding a mug of ale in his outstretched hand. “Yeah, fun,” Merry echoed, clanking his mug into Pippin’s as the ale that overflowed splashed onto the floor.

Frodo looked at them, his lip curled in disgust. “Yeah, fun,” he said dryly as he lit the wall torches and disappeared into the kitchen to fix a late supper. “Well, it’s getting late,” he chirped as he looked out the window over his kitchen sink. “Ah, the night is young!” Merry called from the other room, taking another swig of ale. Some people just don’t take a hint, Frodo thought. Drunken idiots. They spent the rest of the night talking and laughing, although Frodo was mostly silent during these drunken conversations. “Well, I best go to bed,” he said brightly as he snatched the mugs from Merry and Pippin and slammed them onto the counter. “Run along!” Pippin looked at Frodo, dumbfounded. “Oh, all right. Come now, Merry!” they stood up and wobbled out the door, Frodo listening to their cackles as they pranced down the dirt path.

“Idiots. Imbeciles,” Frodo muttered as he tugged his nightclothes over his head and flopped into the bed. The cool linen covers engulfed him like water as he lay awake in agony for a few hours, thrashing about restlessly. “Good gods!” he yelled aloud in anguish, punching the mattress to emphasize his point. After another hour the shores of sleep finally approached, and he dozed off.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email