vineri, 24 decembrie 2010
The Window of the Soul
The boy walks quietly down the street, trying to take everything in with his eyes. He pays attention to details, he sees things that otherwise go unnoticed. He feels a little sad that the only snow in sight is that on top of the mountain, but he's still hoping for a change. Christmas is depressing without snow. He walks slowly, hands in his pocket - like any self-respecting kid-, looking around with more attitude than any grown-ups out there. He's completely carefree. He's small and he knows it. The morning is absolutely lovely. He looks at the store windows and he's sick and tired of vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and the latest ads for every imaginable phone. He crosses the street with a relaxed air, as if protected by the green light. He plays with the keys in his pocket just to keep his fingers busy. He walks by another window, this one full of clothes for grown-ups. The boy can't believe how expensive they are. He passes indifferently by every window, barely glancing inside. He loves the Christmas lights on the streets. He imagines a lot of lights everywhere, just like in the stories he's read. God, where is the snow, that soft, white powder falling from tree branches? There's still a chance it might snow. He'll tell the other children to ask Santa Clause for some snow.
Dreaming about snow and Santa's reindeers, the boy walks by a new window. It's dark and plain, with only a few lights flickering behind the glass. The boy stops and looks inside. There is a Christmas tree in the center, modestly decorated but beautiful nonetheless. Under the tree there are several presents, all nicely wrapped. Next to them, the boy sees a little doll. She just sits there looking shy, with a smile on her face. She is the perfect size, neither too small nor too big. Delighted, the boy notices her dimples and sensationally blue eyes. The boy has never seen such beautiful eyes, not even in the mirror. The doll is wearing a light blue dress, more suitable for a summer picnic than the Christmas celebrations. It even has short sleeves. Look, you can see her crinoline... How old can this doll be? Who knows? She has black velvet slippers and socks with little elephants on them. How strange, a crinoline dress and socks with little elephants... Her eyes are so warm and kind... And her hair is the slightest shade of red, falling on her shoulders in even locks. My God, look at that smile! The child is soaking her in adoringly, frantically looking for the price tag. He wants her. How much could she cost? Does mom have enough money to buy him the doll? What should he do? He can't just leave her there. He wants to kiss her delicate cheeks. He presses his nose against the glass, breathing slowly until what's inside the window is completely blurred. He knows he could wipe the window clean with a single stroke of his hand. All he can think about is the doll. He doesn't care about the tree or the presents anymore. He only wants her. With his coat sleeve, he wipes a circle in the center of the glass. There is not a single soul left on the street. All of a sudden, it all goes dark. How could this be? It's still early. The boy keeps on wiping with a circular motion. He likes what he sees. Oddly, the doll seems to be laughing now. Look at that wide smile! And those magnetic eyes! If he could only take her to kindergarten with him, no doubt she'd be the Ice Princess, or the Spring Fairy! As he's wiping, he gets closer and closer to the doll. He wants to see her, and he continues to wipe without caring that he's wearing out his coat. He feels his pulse increasing, but he's getting even closer now. With his nose still pressed against the window, the boy continues to wipe. All of a sudden he feels something warm against his skin. He can't pull away. The warmth is so comforting, so soft... It can't be! And yet, her nose is touching his. The doll laughs with her head slightly tilted to the side. The boy is mesmerized. He can hold her now. She's his doll, his alone! He can touch her, caress her cheeks and her hair, and softly kiss her lids, as if not to disturb the deep blue of her eyesight. He takes her from the window and she keeps on laughing. He's careful not to wrinkle her dress. It's so cold outside! Is she cold at all? He's holding her and doesn't know what to do next. Should he run away? Should he keep her for himself and not tell anyone? He wants to give her his hat, but he doesn't want to mess up her hair. Its flaming color perfectly complements her blue eyes.
The boy heads back home. His house is always warm and comforting. He's going to hide the doll so that no one sees her. He arrives at the door. He hides the doll under his heavy winter coat and places her head gently on his soul. He knows that's where the soul is, right below the clavicle and slightly above the heart. He steps inside the house and greets his mother. She gives him a suspicious look. "Why did you turn your collar up like that?" "I felt a little chilly and I didn't want to catch a cold." "OK baby, go to your room now and get in bed. If you were a good boy, maybe Santa will bring you a present." "I was so good, momma! Look, I wrote Santa a letter. I even cleaned my boots, see? God, I hope he brings me something, anything. Even an orange would be enough." The boy runs to his room and sits on the bed. It's getting late and he doesn't know what to do with the doll. He has to hurry, before his mom or Santa comes up to his room. The doll continues to smile and there is a mysterious look in her eyes. The boy gets under the covers and takes the doll in his arms. It's so quiet, and warm, and dark in there. It feels good, without question. He wants to talk, but he feels sleepy. The boy knows a few stories, maybe he'll tell her one. He starts to talk in a low voice, trying not to disturb anyone. It is the most beautiful story he knows, and this is the most beautifully he's ever told it. He tells the story as the doll rests her head on his soul. All of a sudden, he hears noises in the room. What could it be? Should he peek from under the covers? What if the doll wakes up? The boy is confused, he doesn't know what to do. Yet, he steals a quick glance and sees Santa. Wow! This is the first time he's ever seen Santa. He's walking around the boy's room, looking for the clean boots. How exciting! He's getting a present for Christmas like all the other children. Santa stands over the boy's boots for a minute, then disappears. The boy is dying with curiosity! He can't wait to see what he got. He gets out of bed slowly, places the doll's head gently on the pillow, and walks over to the boots. He looks inside and... nothing! There are no presents, not even an orange or a candy bar, nothing! He searches frantically, turns the boots inside out. He still can't find anything. His eyes are gleaming in the dark. It can't be! He saw Santa, he knows it was him. Everything happened just like his parents had told him it would. From the corner of his eyes, two crystalline tears fall down the boy's cheeks and into the night. How could this be? I was a good boy, I listened to my mom. Why didn't I get a present? He can't cry aloud. He can't make any noise, or else he would wake up the doll. He cries quietly, with small breaths. He wipes his eyes with the back of his hand. He is small, so small...A soft kiss on his cheek wipes away a tear. The boy turns his head. "Hush, baby, stop crying. Santa gave me a soul. This is your present".