Tag Archive | christmas

Catching snowflakes

It was a cold December night, and snow was slowly falling down on earth. Under a dimly shining streetlight a little girl stood, with her arms stretched out before her, trying to catch snowflakes in her palms.

Holly was a beloved, but poor child. Her parents had slowly started the journey to heaven, and Holly did nothing but wander around the streets at night. She had always been a dreamer, seeing the invisible and dreaming about the impossible. Reality, on the other hand, was a place she never belonged in. She looked in fact like a little angel, with her curly blond hair and her bright smile. Every time when Holly returned home at night, finding her parents sick in their beds, she sneaked into their room and crawled under their cover, snuggling in the cozy warmth. Then, every morning she would wake up early and leave the house to sell cookies on the market. Her parents had been sick for a long time, and with no other relatives and no money to take care of them, Holly managed on her own, baking cookies and selling them. Image the burden she had to bear – only 8 years old and struggling with independence.

That evening when I saw her catching snowflakes on the streets, was special. It was Christmas Eve, and Holly was eager for her parents to open their presents and see the Christmas tree she had brought from the forest nearby. She had decorated the tree with things she had found on the street or bought at the market. The star she had put on top of the tree shined as brightly as her smile when she thought about Christmas Eve in anticipation.

Holly started to walk home, greeting every person she met, and sometimes she stayed for a little chat. the old lady next door, Ariana Williams, asked her what she did alone out on the streets on Christmas Eve.
“I was catching snowflakes,” Holly answered and smiled. Ariana smiled and secretly wished she could live as easily as this magical child did.
“I see,” she replied and smiled, “have a wonderful Christmas now, and say hi to your parents from me.” Holly nodded and walked away.

Her house was tiny and old, but Holly loved it. As soon as she opened the wooden door the familiar scent of home welcomed her and she smiled happily. She took her wet shoes off and tip-toed into the living room, where everything was prepared.
The Christmas tree was standing in the corner, right next to the bookshelf and the window. Their cat, Gina, was quietly sleeping under the Christmas tree, amongst the four presents she had been able to purchase. Despite the gloriously looking Christmas tree, the living room looked shabby with its stained, grey walls and only the wooden table with no chairs in it. There was also a sofa in the corner, but it had, just like the walls, started to get mouldy due to the leaking water pipes on the ceiling. Holly took a quick look on the cat’s food in the kitchen, and then sneaked into her parents’ bedroom.

“Wake up, mommy, it’s Christmas Eve,” she whispered and climbed up the bed.
“Daddy, you too, wake up,” she said. A weak groan came from her father, but then both he and her mother sat upright and smiled at her. They looked both very pale, but as soon as they saw her daughter smiling happily at them, their faces regained some colour.
“It’s Christmas Eve, Holly. The time of the year when you can hear the angels sing at night,” her mother said and gave her daughter a hug.
“You need to come and see the living room!” Holly beamed and released herself form her mother’s hug. Her parents smiled and followed her slowly into the living room. As soon as they saw the Christmas tree and the presents, their faces lit up.
“Oh Holly!” her father said and smiled.
“This is beautiful,” her mother agreed. Holly blushed in modesty. What a wonderful child she was, taking care of her family and making everyone she met lucky to be there.

When the presents where unwrapped and Holly and her parents had eaten some of the cookies she had left from the last sale, they all sat on the floor, wrapped in a blanket and looking out of the window. Holly enjoyed being so close to her parents, but she didn’t understand how hard it was for them to be out of bed.

“I need to do something,” Holly suddenly said and left the living room. She didn’t see the exhausted looks on her parents’ faces, and neither did she hear the whispered response of her mother. Quickly, she took on her boots and her jacket and left the house.
Holly ran down the street with a bag full of her last cookies, slipping and falling more than a couple of times. The streets were empty, and the snow was still falling. You could see through the windows into the light up houses, where happy children unwrapped their presents and hugged their parents. You heard the choir singing Christmas carols through the church’s door, and dogs barking in the distance. There were no sounds of cars, and Holly enjoyed the silence. When she turned around the corner, she could see the group of people she had been looking for.

Two women and three men, dressed in dirty, old clothes were warming their hands by a fireplace. When they spotted Holly, one of the women waved.
“Holly! Merry Christmas!” she yelled and welcomed Holly with a hug when she arrived.
“Merry Christmas!” Holly said and took a couple of smaller bags out of her bags. Each of the homeless received a package and thanked her honestly. They were overwhelmed with joy – they had not received anything for Christmas for a long time, and who would not be happy if a cute little girl showed up with cookies for the poor, when she herself wasn’t in a good situation?
“Thank you for the cookies, Holly!” one of the men said when Holly went back home. She had done what she did every year at Christmas time – thought about someone else and made someone happy. That was what Christmas was about for her, to make life better for someone else. But when Holly entered her house again and walked into the living room, she found her parents laying on the floor, dead. Dead was such a strong word for her then, and she did not understand its true meaning, but she did know that she would never hear her parents speak again. She fell down on her knees, tears silently flowing down her cheeks and falling to the floor. Her life was like catching snowflakes – as she reached out her hands to someone, he or she was already gone. Holly covered their bodies with the blanket, and cried herself to sleep that night.

It was a cold December night, and snow was slowly falling down on earth. Under a dimly shining streetlight a little girl stood, with her arms stretched out before her, trying to catch snowflakes in her palms.
“Mommy, I heard you and daddy sing last night.” she whispered and glanced at the drop of water in her hand, that once had been a snowflake.

Photograph & Short story by Lisa Marina.