Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The night seemed mild. It wasn’t the usual. And I walked down the dingy aisle. She saw me. I walked.

Somewhere in the distance was a van. The headlights flashed straight into my eyes. And as I walked I spotted an old weary man. I figured he was the driver. He got off the van and greeted me, ‘hello’, he said. I don’t know why but I paid no heed to the greeting and walked right ahead and sat in the bench overlooking the lake. To my surprise the old man came and sat right beside me. ‘Hello’, he said. Astounded by the intrusive act I gave a stern look. ‘The night has never been better’, he said in a crude accent. ‘I’ve lived here for as long as I can remember’, he said, ‘the night has never been better’.

‘I love this place’, I said, ‘and even more, I like my privacy’. ‘I need some money’, he said. ‘It’s Christmas Eve and I have nothing to present my daughter, give me some money please’, he said. I looked at him, ‘you have a daughter? I asked. ‘Back there’, he said, ‘she sells bread’, ‘and what about you’, I asked.

He stood up and walked down the damp road. While I sat back and enjoyed the exquisitely lit lake. Just then a little girl came by and offered me some hot bread. ‘I didn’t ask for any’, I said. ‘These didn’t sell today, I can’t waste these, you can have them’. ‘Feed the dogs, I said. ‘They’ve gone to church’, she said, ‘you can have it, I’ve heated it and stuffed it for you’. ‘Are you the old man’s daughter?’, I inquired. ‘What old man?’, she asked. ‘The old man who just walked down the road’…’He spoke to you?’ she said. ‘Yes he did, he kept asking me for money, said he wanted to buy you a gift’, ‘oh, he always wants to buy me one’, she said, ‘did you give him any’, she asked, ‘no I didn’t’.

She came and sat besides me. ‘You should show some concern for a young women on a secluded lane you know’, she said. ‘Your eyes look pale, you running a fever?’ she asked. I looked at her and smiled.

The driver walked up the damp road and sat besides me. ‘Are you going to be up all night? It’s getting cold, and I don’t think you prepared for a brief snowfall’.’ Get back to your room visitor; this night is dark and dodgy’.

And then it snowed.

‘You are not prepared for a brief snowfall sir, it will soon get quite harsh…get to your accommodation sir, the ruthless night is awakening’. ‘You got her a gift?’, I asked. ‘I’m a murderer sir, I’ve murdered her father, and the dogs have gone down to the church for the funeral; the night is getting violent sir, get to your accommodation’.

‘Would you like a hot stuffed bread sir, it will keep you warm’ … ‘you running a fever’… ‘get to your accommodation’.

The sun shone at dawn and the lake glistened in exuberance and the enthralled birds fluttered under the orange sky.

The girl found her way to the seat with hot bread in her hand. ‘You look tired sir, but I’m glad you survived the night, here’s hot bread for you, it isn’t one of those leftovers, I baked it specially for you’.

I looked at her with gratitude…

‘Feed the dogs’, I said, ‘they had a hard time dragging me down to the church’.

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