It was dark as she woke up. Was it night or early in the morning? She couldn’t tell. The clock was ticking. In a way it was comforting but at times it made her furious too. Not that she showed the anger inside. She knew she had to wait. Wait till they had time for her, told her it was time to get out of bed and start the day. Why was it up to them?
She knew the time had changed but that didn’t matter. She was no baby still she had to go to bed early and came out late. Not because she needed much sleep, her rest but because they, those who took care of her had a life too. They needed their privacy, relaxing time or however they called it. She wasn’t a priority to them or anyone just a job that had to be done. Day after day all she did was wait till it was her turn. How many times in her life had people told her her time would come? Lies, it all been lies. She turned onto her left side and pushed the pillows aside. All those stupid cushions. How could anyone sleep on them? They hurt her neck, back and head. Why wasn’t she allowed to sleep without? It was her bed, her night rest and her body.
The clock was ticking and the thoughts kept running. Today it was Christmas. The reason to celebrate the bringer of light, love and laughter but instead the made up fat Coca man who brought gifts was applauded. Not the person who bought all those gifts, the one who should have all the credit but some fat old imposter who steals milk and cookies while he travels by light. Or did he use a time machine? Why? Why did people fall for that and so many other lies? Ten lies a person tells in an hour, each hour, and no lie detector detects them. Can you imagine that?
A time machine would make a great gift. Which time and place could she pick to get that better life?
The sound of a soft click. She knew what it was and meant. Not her turn yet, more waiting. Christmas wasn’t a reason to get out of bed early. Not to them. She had to wait till it was her turn. How come it always took so long? They had time to shower, get dressed. They had their tea or coffee and breakfast and all the time to play with their phones, bracelets and that chip implanted in their hand. She had seen the bumps and wondered why they felt so excited about it. They walked around like a chipped animal although, all these pets were still dumped on the street. No way a chip could be read if the dog didn’t like you, not want you near. She had watched how easily the dog catcher had shot many best friends. Human’s best friend he had called mad dogs. Those dogs hadn’t been mad. The poor animals were afraid, afraid, molested and hungry.
She turned on her back pulled the blanket over her head to protect herself against the cold and the sound of the clock. Tick tock, tick-tock. Why didn’t she leave? They say Christmas is the best time of the year. It didn’t feel like it and wouldn’t happen if she stayed in bed and obeyed. She suddenly remembered the old tale Cinderella. That girl had left and because of that act, her life became better. No God or Santa was needed.
She could do it. She could get dressed and walk out just like that 100-year-old man in the film who climbed out of the window. She smiled. For the first time in a very long time, she did. She moved her toes and fingers underneath the sheets. Her legs felt restless it was time to make a move. Today was the day. No one would pay attention to her, they hardly knew she existed. She turned on her left side again and thought about what to wear. It was important to stay warm. Did she need money or did everyone use a chip?
“There’s food in the kitchen, eat before you leave and take a filled bag on your way out,” a voice inside said.
She heard a sound in the hallway and waited. They wouldn’t open her door in the next hours. She had to get out of bed to act. The cold made her shiver as she sat on the bed’s edge wrapped in her blanket. Outside of her window was a cold, white world slowly awakening. Was it possible to climb out of the window? She put on her socks and trousers and found her way to the toilet where she sat in the dark. It didn’t bother her there was no light. Clothes, she needed more clothes. Layers of clothes to stay warm just like Heidi.
She opened the closet pulled out what she thought might fit and put it on. Without any doubt, her mom would say she looked badly dressed like a homeless but she didn’t care. Important was to wear what kept her warm and together it looked colourful. Her tiny hand searched the shelf at the back of the closet and felt something soft. What was that? She pulled it out and remembered the gift of long ago. The scarlet knitted hat and scarf she’d never worn because they were useless inside the four walls she was locked in. Did she still have a jacket?
She carefully made her bed. Pillows pushed underneath the blanket. For sure that would keep them busy if they entered her room at all.
“No chip, no bracelet, no phone. It will be hard to track and trace me. They might shoot me like a crazy dog,” she whispered on the way to the door.
Her door was open, the hallway empty and the Christmas tree looked like a dark monster instead of the bringer of hope and light.
She had a quick stop in the kitchen. So much food everywhere. She filled her pockets and bag with the goodies and pushed two bottles with lids on the top. In the corner, she stood drinking her cup of tea. Was that chocolate?
She waited for the right moment. It was silent inside as she left by the backdoor. The sun came out and felt warm on her friendly face as she walked through the lane. She had no idea where to go but today would be a perfect day.
The shops were decorated, a large tree adorned the square. It smelled nice and she wasn’t in a hurry which was good. It was the first time since long no clock was ticking and time didn’t matter. While she sat underneath the tree she watched people passing by. Those who noticed her greeted friendly some even wished her merry days but no one asked her why she sat there all alone. How come not a single person asked if she shouldn’t be at home?
She ate from the food she took, sipped her tea and enjoyed life. At nightfall, she opened the second bottle and was surprised by the smell. Chocolate milk, not too hot but still warm. She had time to drink it all. She was alone, no one missed her and she knew she wouldn’t go back to the elderly home. Finally, Christmas became the best time of the year. She smiled as she laid her head on the empty bag. She had never been afraid to die only been afraid her life would never start. She stared at the snowflakes who fell off the sky each one of them looked like a twinkling little star.
Within an hour the snow covered it all and it would be before the new year, might be even January 6th or later, the Municipality Cleaning Service would find her smiling underneath the tree.
#kittywu #story #christmas