Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Christmas Tree"

Journal Entry: December 25, 1891

This has been the weirdest holiday of my life. The strangest Christmas that I think anyone could ever have.

It started when I was walking through the park last evening. Several of the trees had been decorated, as they are every year, to coincide with the joyful festivities.

No one else was around. I slowly approached a lone tree with bright, colorful bulbs, starlight glinting off the tinsel. It was a beautiful sight to take in, these trees, so I had closely examined each one, taking it all in. There’s a reason Christmas is my favorite holiday—it’s just so beautiful.

But as I got closer, the air turned cold. I think snow began to fall. Which was odd, here in southern Texas, as we rarely get snow, and when we do, it’s very little. Then I heard a child’s voice singing.

It sounded like that famous song, the Twelve Days of Christmas, but some of the words were wrong. Nonetheless, my heart was warmed, as second only to Christmas, the sound of a child singing a happy tune is the most beautiful thing to my senses.

The boy, about seven I think, stepped out from behind the tree.

"Hello," he said. "Would you like to sing with me?"

I found it strange that he wasn’t wearing a coat in this temperature, and I noticed that he looked rather pale. I figured he was caught in it unexpectedly, as was I.

"Are you all right?" I asked. "You don’t look well."

"Oh, yes, sir. I’m all right indeed. But are you?"

I shivered, then brushed it off as being from the cool air. I knew better.

"Certainly. You’re sure you’re all right?"

The boy laughed. "Yes, mister. You’re all alone, aren’t you?"

I looked to the gravel beneath my feet.

"Yes. Yes, I am. "

He smiled. "Then sing with me, and together we can be cold. Be cold with me."

I smiled. "All right, child. Let us sing together."

Along the rest of the path we sang loudly, walking side by side. My spirits, in despair of late, were raised to the heavens.

Eventually, when we got far enough into the park and the snow was adequately deep, I stooped and hastily crafted a snowball. I threw it at him, and he exhibited nary a flinch.

Looking at me, he laughed, then threw a snowball back at me. Soon we were making snow angels and building snowmen. We played like that for nearly an hour.

Finally he stopped and asked me, "Will you join me in the cold now?"
I hesitated. "I’m sorry, son. I greatly love the cold, yet never having the opportunity to leave this land, but I have work to do. I must close my shop for the holidays."

I walked back out of the park. Looking back once along the way, I saw that the boy had gone.

"Poor child," I thought. "All he wants is a friend."

I arrived at the shop and saw that there were no customers, only a couple of my workers and a delivery boy.

I cleared my throat. "Listen, all you sluggards! (A term of endearment between me and my employees, I assure you.) You can all get out of here and return to your wretched lives in celebration of this holiday. I only am so generous, as this season of joy and giving touches even my cold heart. Now leave so I can lock up the place!"

They all turned toward the door, then stopped a moment and turned back. The shop became noticeably chillier. "We are cold. We are all cold. And soon you will be, too."

Everything returned to normal and they left.

After locking up the shop, I decided to go back into the park, to the tree, in order that I might meet that boy again. If anyone is innocent and pure in this life, or close to it, a small boy is. He reminded me of my own days of youth, before the world became so unlivable.

"Boy! Are you still here?" I called.

After a few moments of silence, I could hear him singing again.

"It is not your time," he said. "It is too late for this evening. Come back tomorrow night."

And so I have. I brought my journal in order to record this before I go, so that everyone will know what has happened to me.

He will be here for me soon. I can faintly hear him humming with the breeze. The ever colder breeze.

Soon now, I shall join this lonely boy and we will be cold together.

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