Little Things

      My brother and I loved running errands for the man who lives in the old, shabby house at the end of the street. He used to set up a bookstall at the Sunday Market, back when he had a family and his house wasn’t old and shabby. I don’t know what happened to his family, or his house, but he stopped setting up that bookstall my brother and I were so fond of. He hardly got out of the house anymore and me and my brother would ring his doorbell coming back from the school, and would ask him if he’d wanted anything. He always did! Two onions, a bottle of cooking oil, a loaf of bread, toothpaste, a bar of soap-little things like that. We would bring him all those things and he would give us the money and four honey-coated candies. He was a nice man.

  Every year, when the sun starts losing some of its will to burn away, and the trees feel like losing most of the foliage on their outstretched limbs, the folks in our street get embraced in a festive spirit. They end up celebrating small things like good harvest, fair weather, disappearance of mosquitoes and often as simple a thing as a clear blue sky! Autumn can do that to some people. It makes them all excited, or perhaps it instills the fear of impending doom that gets them behaving as if there isn’t going to be any other chance to be happy. Anyway, the folks in our street gather in the Town Hall and play music and stuff their stomachs with sweet, home-baked cakes and cookies. It is generally a good day and a pretty genuine way to make merry. The man who lives in that old, shabby house, however, doesn’t seem to think so. He believes that happiness is always short-lived and it doesn’t do one any good to run after things that aren’t even going to last. He has never been seen at the Town Hall celebrating life!

  Today I heard a very strange thing at the pastry shop. There was a middle aged woman talking about the man my brother and I loved running errands for, with another young woman. The older woman said that the man had been taken to the hospital the day before because he had tried to ingest a poison of some sort. He would have died if it hadn’t been for a boy, with dark hair and a scary scar on the right cheek. The boy had come to visit him and got worried when he didn’t open the door. He summoned the next door neighbor and together they had bust open the front door and found him lying unconscious on the kitchen floor. This has to be the strangest thing I have heard in a while. I am rushing to tell every thing to my brother but there is something gnawing at me. My brother has really dark hair and that scar on his right cheek is pretty nightmarish!

       My brother tells me that we shouldn’t see that man who gives away honey-coated candy, anymore. He didn’t like the way my brother had “interfered” and doesn’t want us to visit him from now on. This makes me sad and I tell that to my brother. He says that it is useless being sad for people who detest happiness. People, who don’t pursue something as extraordinary as happiness only because of it being momentary, cannot appreciate the temporary nature of life itself. I suppose my brother is right. I hope he is!

Not many people survive the bone-crushing, flesh-biting cold that engulfs our town every year. They do end up alive in spring but they usually aren’t the persons they were at the start of dreadful,cold season. They either get inflicted with chronic cough or have to get their toes amputated after horrific episodes of frost bite. The worst of all, according to my brother, is cabin fever. If you stay stuck inside the four walls for good five months, it is a miracle if you can retain the ability to think rationally! I cannot help but worry for the man who used to set up a bookstall at the Sunday Market. He lives all alone and is prone to get hit by cabin fever. Somehow, he never gets it. I think that this year, he wouldn’t be so lucky. This year, he does not want to be safe…

      Isn’t it strange how some of us eagerly wait for the winter, only for one of those quiet, melancholy nights when we can huddle around the fireplace and let fire consume our worries? My father tells me that it is no use looking forward to little things like that and one should always have bigger and better things to look forward to. I don’t agree with him!

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