Story Contest 2019 #2 - Highly Commended Stories »

Highly Commended Story - The Missing Happiness

“The Missing Happiness” by Kayley Yip, International Christian School, Hong Kong, China, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.

"Born in Hong Kong, China, Kayley recently turned 12 years old. An obdedient student by day, an avid dreamer by night, Kayley is imaginative yet realistic. She is curious about everything but remains focused at all times. She believes nothing can be unattainable with enough effort, intellect, and thought. Kayley typically applies a sense of perfectionism to all her work. She makes the most of her independent style of thinking, hoping to achieve every goal she applies herself to.”

The Missing Happiness

Macey always had whatever she wanted. No cost was too much for her parents to pay. If she wanted a new phone, her parents would buy her the latest model. If she wanted a pony, her parents would buy her the most majestic horse in the world. Every day was spent in her grand home from the marble floors to glass chandeliers, accompanied by her doting parents and huge staff. Anybody who laid eyes on her would succumb to the charm of her darling personality and fawn over her adorable looks. From her wide doe eyes to the button nose, porcelain skin, and cinnamon curls. She thought she could never be more content until one fateful day. Macey was simply lying on her large bed when she felt as if there was one thing missing from her life, something millions of dollars couldn’t buy: Happiness. What was absent from her life was that jolt of joy, a surge of glee, and pride that flooded her soul. Macey bolted upright and hurried downstairs, never more eager for her quest for Happiness.

She first arrived at the emerald gardens where the sweet fragrance of roses and tulips greeted her and the grass tickled her feet. The gardener- a scary and intimidating man- lurked, slowly getting rid of weeds. His overgrown black hair shadowing his face and huge built blocking her view. Macey decided to try and asked him. “Do you know where I can find Happiness?” The gardener was taken by surprise, never expecting a little girl to ask this. After a while, he growled a response in a deep, raspy voice. “I feel happy when I am with my family and friends. To me, nothing is more important than them; just seeing their faces brings me joy.” Macey was thankful for the gardener’s reply, but she felt as if there was something missing from it. She thanked the gardener and continued her quest for Happiness.

In the living room, Macey admired the famous paintings adorning the walls, she gazed wistfully at all the happy people in them. Too deep in her thoughts, Macey crashed into her bustling butler. He immediately adjusted his mustache and fixed his hair to perfection. After much consideration, Macey asked him curiously. “Do you know where to find Happiness?” The butler wasted no time to answer in his thick French accent, “I feel happy when work is done. To me, I am engulfed with cheer when everything’s in order and flawless.” Macey was grateful for the butler’s response, but she still felt unsatisfied. She thanked the butler and ran along to find Happiness.

Macey wandered into the kitchen where people rushed from here to there checking on the various food, shouts and yells filled the air. A delicious smell of the food overcame her senses and Macey inhaled deeply. She soon found the head chef hunched over a pot of boiling stew, mumbling incoherent words under his breath. Macey interrupted his chain of thought and questioned him. “Do you know where to find Happiness?” The chef looked up at Macey and replied enthusiastically, “I am happy when people enjoy my food. I want to share my creations with the entire world. To me, nothing lifts my spirits more.” Macey appreciated the chef’s answer, but it still was not enough. She thanked the chef and continued on her quest for Happiness.

Macey explored the whole house, every nook, and cranny, asking all the workers where to find Happiness. She received all sorts of answers, from sweet ones to logical ones. Finally, Macey crept slowly to her room and found her mother waiting for her inside. After all of her failed attempts at discovering Happiness, Macey was on the verge of giving up. She asked her mother tiredly, “Do you know where to find Happiness?” Her voice barely above a whisper, Macey’s mother took the time to register her daughter’s words in her brain. When she answered, she said wisely and gracefully, “everybody has their own version of Happiness and their own ways of finding it. Some people might feel happy when they are with their loved ones, and some people might feel happy when they have completed all their work. So, Macey, the real person you should ask is yourself, what makes you happy?” Macey felt a stab of hope at the thought of uncovering the secret for finding Happiness. Energy bubbled in Macey as she pondered for a moment.

“I feel happy when others are happy.” Her voice small and raw, rimmed with vulnerability.

At last, satisfaction settled into Macey’s soul when she uttered those words. Delight tiptoed in her heart and relief resonated through her entire being. Macey’s mother beamed with pride at the answer. With a quick goodbye, she took off.

Macey flopped on her bed, exhausted from her quest for Happiness. She decided that tomorrow she would help others on their journey for Happiness. With that thought in mind, Macey fell asleep, happily.

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