A Path to the HeartWell I played a bit of Stardew Valley and it inspired a little fic ^.^ The illustration is a screenshot from the game, not drawn by me but maybe I'll draw some actual art for this in the future :3
IntroIt all started a year ago, when I moved to my grandfather's home, Pelican town, which is located in Stardew Valley.
Back then I was 17 and pretty depressed because of my part-time job at Joja Corporation, which was promising to become my primary work place very soon. I had already learned everything about the realities in my city and knew I was doomed to work at Joja pretty much for the rest of my days... *sigh*
The sole thought of spending my whole life like this was making me so depressed that I finally opened my grandfather's envelope, which I promised to only open should a day like this ever come in my life. The stuff inside included a message with directions, some money and a little key to the house in a far away little town. Suddenly I felt very determined and dropped out of my former life pretty much on the very same day...
1st of Spring, Year 1The trip took around 16 hours but the bus was comfy and I managed to occupy a couple of extra seats and fetch some sleep before arriving to Stardew Valley around 6:00 am next day.
It was the first Monday of Spring and the very thought of not having to ruin yet another day of my life working at Joja Corporation was already making me super happy!
The state of my new home, though... well, after trying to move away some stones, branches and other crap, I got quite tired before it was even 10:00 in the morning! The countryside wasn't promising me an easy life, though the tiredness was pleasant... it wasn't the headache I used to get in the office of Joja at the end of most days, but was more like the sweet tiredness after working out some muscle in the gym.
My body was loving it already but I figured I needed to take breaks, so I decided to walk around the town. I walked by the local ranch, it was very big and had some very cute cows that I watched for a while, already looking forward to getting a couple of my own one day... maybe?
Then I entered Pelican town itself, which is actually a village with like 6 or 7 houses, so I've no idea why they call it a town...
I literally walked a few steps by the road when I suddenly heard a guy's voice: "Heyyy, careful!" Right before he bumped really hard into me and we did a few rolls on the grass. We both got so terrified of it that we ended up hugging and clinging to each other before we realized what we were doing!!
"I- I'm so sorry, er..." The guy's cheeks were flaming red and his wide open eyes told me he clearly didn't plan to direct his skateboard right my way, rather it was me who was the new, foreign element on his usual skating route...
What beautiful eyes he had though! I enjoyed his makeup and his blond hair was also stylishly done with gel, all spiky and pretty attractive for a teen who was pretty much my age. He looked like a hot rock idol, or at least a young wannabe-star... It was so tempting to say: "Hey don't worry, you can lay on top of me all you want!" Of course I only giggled like an idiot instead... as always.
5th of Spring, Year 1Other guys have always been my source of passion and depression at the same time but after living here for a few days I realized that Pelican town could as well be a dream come true for someone like me.
After Sam I met Sebastian who was another very charming guy with a pretty hairstyle, though he didn't bless me with a lot of talk and all I got was the impression that I was bothering him... But I still liked him a lot because he looked different, like a black hole slowly moving through Pelican town and attracting everyone's attention with irresistible force...
Then the muscled Alex who suddenly excused himself for working out bare-chested in front of me... I mean what, seriously? Either he took me for a girl, which was very possible with my looks, or...
I could feel some unspoken... not even tolerance but almost complete open-mindedness in the air. It really relaxed me. Certainly Pelican town wasn't the type of a town where you could be once found tied to a hardwood fence with the word "fag" written on your bare chest with a copic marker, or something worse because most bullies can't afford copic markers... *sigh*
In any case, the sweet atmosphere in this town alone made me cry happy tears every night before going to bed...
18th of Spring, Year 1Once, when trying to fish in the local river, which is connected to the ocean by the way, I pulled out something that looked like another piece of trash paper, just a page from a glossy magazine... Luckily, right before tossing it away I got attracted by a somewhat unusual picture in the middle of it.
It was some dark-haired boy, pretty cute by the way but what was so unusual was his entire pose. I mean I grew up in a pretty big city and know that contortionism is a thing, but even from what I could expect to see done by the human body, this one pose still looked perfectly impossible! How can a person even stretch this far??
But I didn't feel repulsion like that last time when one of my former colleagues jumped out of the window at Joja Corporation. The picture of this flexible teen boy looked nothing like an accident but more like a work of art done using the human body, though it was one extreme work of art tbh...
For a moment I started trying to imagine what it must be like to be him and be able to do this... People who know him in person must have really mixed feelings about his talent, yet he managed to take it this far regardless of what they say, and that alone was very admirable...
19th of Spring, Year 1Of course I didn't trash that piece but took it with me, next morning I tried to find and order a copy of the mag the page was from, because honestly this piece of paper was so damaged it almost looked like a prehistoric artifact! I probably could bring it to our local museum's keeper, Gunther, to see if he'd give me one of his silly explanations: "A modern photograph depicting an unusual range of motion of the human spine. Could be used to puzzle one's mind on rainy days."
But jokes aside, I started trying to find some text I could use as search terms on the internet to find this magazine. The title was "Yoga: A Path to the Heart". Pretty cheesy, I've already learned about the so called spiritual people who will tell you wonderful "truths" about yourself but in the end they only need your money. I thought it was a yet another example of this, about finding "the path to one's own heart" and stuff. Either way, these words were too generic, I needed some better search terms, so I began actually reading...
"Are you in love with someone and trying to find a path to their heart? Why not use the art of flexibility to capture their attention! Just an hour and a half of the following exercises repeated daily won't only make your body healthier but will teach you some party tricks that your chosen one will never be able forget! What they will see will be impossible to unsee and they will keep thinking about you and your flexible body again and again, blushing harder and harder until one day the urge to hug and kiss you will be almost irresistible!!"
Say what? I gulped and thought of Sam, my local crush from day one and my favorite person to admire. I certainly wouldn't mind getting closer to him but I totally couldn't guess if he was the type to enjoy something like yoga or contortionism...
I knew he practiced a lot with his electric guitar, so at least he liked to "bend it" every once in a while... But jokes aside, I wasn't sure at all, but I was pretty sure that if people would start talking about me as a "performer"... well, that might actually make Sam interested in me, huh? I always felt he was avoiding me because I wasn't cool enough, so being able to do something that can capture the attention of a whole crowd, it might as well be the most direct way to Sam's heart! But I went on reading...
"To get you started, grab a pen and go to the nearest wall, lean your back against it and try to spread your legs as far apart as possible, then get the pen under your crotch and draw a mark on the wall behind you. This is how low you can get... in a good way of course! Update it weekly to watch your progress and motivate yourself. Don't worry about the wallpaper, it costs only 100g to change! When you reach the floor, invest into a new wallpaper and a couple of chairs and do the splits between them until you reach the floor once more!"
Every fragment of this text made me gulp, wondering if I can really do all this or it's just some weird genre of fiction meant to tickle your mind... just like most of spiritual literature. "When you reach the Astral, turn to the left, then ask further directions from your Inner Self and proceed to the Supreme Source. The way between the fifth and sixth Chakra is long, so don't forget to refuel your Karma." At least this article didn't mention any video tapes or books I have to buy to "get there".
"But your most important goal is to get the backbend. Nobody can resist erotic fantasies about someone who can fold in half backwards! Give your beloved a couple of days to digest what they saw and then a couple of winks next time you see them, and their heart is yours! The first phase of getting the backbend requires something stable like a kitchen table or a door knob. Simply bend backwards and hold on it, this will give you the support and a lot of control over your stretch. It's also easy to measure your progress, first try to bend backwards until you can look at your own heels from behind. At first you might not be able to see your feet but still mark the further point you can see on the floor! After all floorings are also only 100g to change, but make sure to mark the contours of your feet as well. Week by week, you will be able to look further and further, until the marks on the floor reach far between the foot contours. But don't cheat and keep your legs straight! One day you'll be able to look right in front of you, with your head just between your own thighs, which is your final goal to look forward to! Simply demonstrate this trick at the party and you'll be able to enjoy the blush on the cheeks of your beloved and their silly smile every time your eyes meet from that point on! And the next time your eyes meet will be probably in bed!"
I once again gulped, it all sounded like the contortion version of rocket science, but uckily I was smart enough to figure it out. I quickly went to find a pen and started looking around to see which wall and floor fragment I should use for my motivational marks.
19th of Spring, Year 2A full year passed before I was ready. I didn't skip a single day of exercises and tried to stay as healthy and motivated as I could to keep going. I got my own cow and had a bottle of milk almost every day because it's good for the bones! :3
Also I became very good friends with Sam but still needed that special something to break through... Sam liked me a lot but it was hard to tell if he had more romantic feelings... Besides he was pretty easygoing with several other people... Once, his little brother Vincent told me he saw Sam lifting Penny to help her climb into a tree at night. I needed to hurry...
I doubled my efforts during the last Winter and would normally spend up to four hours a day on improving my backbend and split. My splits were pretty good but my spine was still a step away (or how do you say it) from being able to bend in half...
I was really desperate to complete my training before the Flower Dance festival, I already talked with mayor Lewis to add a special bonus to the festival... my little special "boneless" bonus :3
Of course I didn't tell the mayor what it was, my whole operation was super secret and I didn't share it with anybody except my cat Dudley... I preferred to have a secret joker up my sleeve to maximize the effect! Wait, that sounded like I was cheating... my exercises were everything but cheating!!
21st of Spring, Year 2On the last weekend before the festival it was raining for two days in a row... what luck! As if the spirits themselves wanted me to be able to stay at home and stretch all day long! I almost tripled my efforts, stretching for a full hour every three hours. And on Sunday's afternoon I finally reached my goal!!
After enjoying the little Bendy Boy Achievement popup, I spent the rest of the evening practicing and polishing my new ability.
24th of Spring, Year 2On the day of the festival I got up at 6:00 am as usual, packed a bag of clothes that I specially ordered for this very day, and ran straight to the bathhouse.
Just as planned, I was the only one there at this hour. There was something special about this day, my body never felt so good and so limber, I almost lost the track of time while warming up and stretching, when I realized the festival is about to begin!
I quickly dried my skin... My body was so hot and so soft... If Sam could just hold me right now, he probably wouldn't even need a special show, he could just eat me like a piece of his favorite warm, yummy pizza...
On the other hand, if he just followed a momentary passion like that, he might as well regret it later and even stop talking to me. So yeah, it was definitely wiser to let him develop the feeling by himself and give him at least a couple of days to think about everything...
I put on my special outfit for the festival: skin-tight beige leggings and a loose, medieval-style shirt with baggy sleeves. I rolled the shirt up, exposing my whole midsection, and tied a knot on my chest. A perfect opportunity to finally show off my beautiful deep innie... Maybe Sam has a belly fetish? Who knows, who knows...
Also, over the whole year living here I let my hair grow and now it was below the shoulders, usually I'd wear a ponytail but today I was going to split it in two equal halves to wear a couple of cute pigtails.
I looked into the bathhouse's mirror at this whole new set, then smiled to myself, bent over backwards, grabbed my own knees from behind and pulled my head right between my own thighs, then looked into the mirror once more. The magazine was right, you can't just simply unsee something like this...
I made a couple of steps on the spot to turn sideways, then pulled as hard as I could to get my head further between my thighs to look at the mirror again. It was like a dream to see myself folded in half backwards like this but I didn't need a pinch to make sure it's real, because honestly the stretch felt pretty intense on its own!
I wasn't being narcissic, though, just making sure that everything looks the best way possible before the main show. My whole future with Sam depended on how much I can turn his head with my looks and contortions today! I took the bag with my regular set of clothes, and headed straight to the Cindersap Forest where the festival had already begun.
"Attention everyone! Matthew is about to show us something special today!" Mayor Lewis announced. Everybody circled around me. Abigail, the shopkeeper's daughter, took out her flute, ready to play her favorite tune that would fit so perfectly to my act.
My heart was pounding like crazy but there was no way to step back! I breathed in and out slowly, nodded to Abigail and began with the first posture, followed by around ten more, all carefully choreographed and rehearsed in my bedroom...
"Wow! That was impressive, Matthew!" Mayor Lewis finally found the words to speak. Honestly I've never heard him use the word "wow" so I figured it meant something. "The last time I saw a contortionist," he continued, "was back when I was a little boy and a travelling circus came to town. I even forgot how much I enjoyed it back then! Thank you for bringing back the good memories."
He spoke in a louder voice to the crowd: "Everyone in Pelican town is special in some way. Among us grown-ups we have a scientist, a blacksmith, a carpenter, a bartender, a doctor, a writer and many others. But what makes me specially happy is our younger generation, they have all these very artistic hobbies and professions, some of them we didn't even have back in my days... a flutist, a rising rock star and even a fee... er, free-lance programmer, I hope I'm saying it right. It's a pleasure to know that Matthew is not an exception and it was good to learn about his secret talent, which he would hopefully show us more often from now on!"
After this major speech, the mayor let everybody surround me.
"This is so sensational!" The local sculptor, Leah, was staring at me like I was an exhibit from Gunther's museum. "I want to make a sculpture of one of these amazing poses! Or maybe even two or three... I hope you won't mind being my model, Matthew?"
"That was beautiful, Matthew!" Abigail went and huggled me tightly. "When you asked me to play this melody, I had no idea it was going to accompany something like this! Count on me whenever you feel like performing in the future, okay?"
"Man, this is almost too good for a small village like ours," even the aforementioned freelance programmer, Sebastian, approached me, which was rare. "You could move to the big city with this... On the other hand, you sort of ran away from the city, right? Either way, it looked good."
But my eyes were glued to Sam the whole time, he was standing there with his eyes wide open, without even saying a word, just blushing and blinking. His whole expression looked like he saw a real rock star right in front of him but felt like a little boy, too nervous to even take an autograph... And then I winked and smiled at him, which made his eyes even wider and his cheeks even redder!
After the festival it was already 10:00 pm and I was exhausted like a puppy, so I went straight to bed.
25th of Spring, Year 2Next morning I checked my mailbox to find a letter: "Matthew, can you come in front of my house after dark? Sam."
I swear that was the longest day in my life! The sun just won't go down as fast as usual... but it was also the happiest night in the end!
9th of Summer, Year 2Me and Sam married two weeks afterwards. So that pretty much concludes the story... Today I have a lot of magazines about flexibility piled on my nightstand for daily study, but that very special page from the beginning of my story is now hanging on the wall in a beautiful frame to remind of something that got me both a hobby and a hubby! ;3
Thank you so much for reading~ <3