The Bridge Troll – dedicated to my friend

I wrote this for someone I care deeply about.  It was off the cuff writing but in it I weaved messages for this person who has come to mean a great deal to me.  I didn’t want to lose the story so I decided to bring it to my blog, edit it and give it a home here.  I hope you enjoy it.
The Bridge Troll
     For years BT (Bridge Troll) had done what he was told to do and guard the bridge.  It was a job of great importance in his culture and he felt proud to be the one to do it in this area.  BT was very clear on the rules, no one could cross his bridge without meeting the strict conditions.
     He was very good at his job but over time he realised it was not just the bridge he was protecting his own heart and mind were just as barricaded.  He felt that the bridge and his role was all he was in the world but he was noticing that the years of loneliness were hurting him.
     He talked to those he charged to pass but they used his trade and he often never saw them again.  The temporary nature of fleeting relationships was beginning to hurt him – he felt empty and more alone each time he almost connected with someone passing through.
     BT was never cruel, even in his growing disappointment and loneliness, just straight up on the rules because he took his job very seriously.  It defined him.  Then one day a frog came along to the entrance to the bridge. BT knew that the frog lived in the water flowing under the bridge because he was very wet.  It confused BT that he would want to use the bridge but rules were rules.
     BT stated the rules to cross the bridge but the frog just looked at him.  He wasn’t like the humans that just accepted the rules and paid their way.  The frog stood silently for so long that BT grew concerned and tried to dry him off in the hope that would help him recover. He had no idea what he was doing but he was scared for the frog and he wanted to help
     The frog finally spoke “whose rules are you living by? Your own or those that merely use you?”.  Now BT had never thought of this, he was so entwined in his role that he had never questioned any aspect of it.   Now that he did he wondered if these rules were fair and was it right that he lived alone so far from his troll community?
     He let the frog pass without adherence to the rules and watched him cross the bridge. Whereupon he then jumped back into the water and swam under the bridge.  He had never let any traveler pass without applying the rules and it felt so odd but now that the frog had gifted him with the ability to consider himself, separate to his societal role he sat thinking.
     A bit later on a badger came along and sat at the bridge edge.  BT did his spiel but it felt wrong so he stopped mid recital and asked the Badger what he needed.  The badger didn’t need to use the bridge but he needed a hand to repair his dam, he was getting older and he found that he couldn’t do it alone anymore.  Badger shared this with BT and they both thought about it. BT had the strength to fix the damn but he would have to leave the bridge – something he had never done in all the years he had been here.
     In the end he asked the badger for a fair trade – he would fix his damn if the badger would guard his bridge.  He couldn’t vacate his obligations, they were ingrained within him but he could delegate them.  He could share the load and do something else for a short time, using alternative skills to those of his bridge responsibilities.  This compromise went well and the badger was so pleased with all the work BT did on his home.
     BT just thought it would be the same as always – he would never see the frog or the badger again.  There would be no real change despite all he had learned in talking with them both.  But despite being so fixed in his view of his value and the world he had a surprise coming.  The frog and the badger liked him and they often returned to sit with him and chat or just sit quietly watching the water pass by.
     BT learnt that he had value beyond the rules that had defined his role in life for so very long. He didn’t have to be just a troll guarding a bridge. he could be a troll with friends that appreciated him and him them.  He never ever had to be alone again.
The end
While editing this, I realised that there are lessons within it for me too.  I hope you enjoy it if you chose to read it.  Thank you for your time.
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