Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Different Day

As he was getting out of the taxi, he saw the little boy who sat on the street selling oranges. He was shouting at the top of his voice,
"Five cents for one, fifteen cents for five, twenty-five cents for ten!"
He didn't pay attention to the boy, but as he was passing by him, he pulled on the man's sleeve and asked,
"Would you like to buy an orange, sir?"
"No. Let go of me, you little monster."
And he shook the little boy off.

The little boy, whose name was Jonas, had lost his father when he was two years old, and of course, couldn't remember him. His mother was always somewhere as she said, to "work" the whole day, and when she came home, she always fixed herself a glass of bourbon and sat on the couch the whole night, watching the beaten and battered black and white TV. She didn't make too much money at her work, so she told Jonas,
"If you don't want to die, boy, you's might as well work in the street selling oranges an making money."
He tried to look happy and smile when offering his oranges, but the weight of his sorrows was suffocating him and when he returned home to his mother with his penniless pockets, he dreaded the beatings that now were becoming a routine.

It was Christmas Eve and everyone was hurrying through the frost-ridden alleys, eager to sit down in the comfort of their home and their ever-burning fire.
The little boy knew that his mother wasn't home at this time and that she wouldn't be until very late in the night. She had probably forgotten that it was Christmas, and that morning, when Jonas was about to start his daily begging, she slurred at him,
"Thothay, don't thry ta come in unthil tamara. Ith will be loched."
He knew that unless he ate his oranges, he would die of cold and hunger. As he began to peel the fruit, his frozen fingers began to defrost.
Jonas looked up and he was surprised to find the man that he had seen earlier this morning looking down on him. The man was staring at one of the few oranges that were left.
And he reached out his hand that contained one whole dollar. The boy's eyes became as round as saucers. He was about to reach to the last three oranges, but the man stopped him, saying,
"I don't want no oranges. Here."
And he dropped the dollar in the boy's outstretched hand.
"Thank you," he stammered.

When Jonas arrived home, he woke up his mother who had fallen asleep with a glass of scotch in her hand.
"Look, Mama, a man gave me one whole dollar! Look, Mama!"
"I'm looking, I'm looking", she grumbled.
But on her face was a smile and a twinkle in her eyes.
"Come on, boy, let's go get some holly. You know, it's Christmas today."

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