Little Deeds · Short story · word marathon

The Blanket


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The Blanket

It was awfully cold out in the street. Two minutes, and the man in tattered clothes with only a single blanket to ward off the chill was already frozen to his bones. His begrimed beard was itching, but his fingers had no strength left on them to scratch the beard. He moaned, as cold wind slashed across his cheeks, carved with time and hunger.

He pulled the blanket closer still, wishing somehow a miracle would make the blanket more woolly, or the winter less chilly. He could hear the howl of the wind, and feel its impact on his weathered, beaten body.

‘Oh, life, what I’d give to have a room filled with fire woods, a blanket thicker than this…’ He thought to himself, but the thought was interrupted before completion by a loud grumble. His stomach… ‘And a packet of soup.’ He added to his thought as he looked up at the angry swirl of white around him.

It was so pure, unsullied, and it danced — the white danced, to the music the roaring wind produced, a salsa artiste, fair and unbeatable. And it was so cold, so cold and haughty that it looked down on the man belonged to the street. He shivered and then smiled…

Beauty was often that, mesmerizing and cold. Spellbinding but stoic. He knew beauty, he had witnessed the truculency of beauty. He had admired at one point, and detested at the other, as is the ordinance of life.

He was no philosopher, but his life was so lavished with philosophical moments and that, that’s the irony.

He loved the beauty, and the beauty lashed back at him. He admired the beauty, and the beauty assaulted him. Finally he had lost the game to the beauty, his house, his wealth… And his life, and that was the thing he regretted the most.

Something clinked next to him, pulling him out of the random flashes of the past he so carefully wrapped up inside a box. The  coin glinted in light. One good soul, one night meal… He sighed, and laughed at his own life. The next time meal had become his priority these days, next to warm nights.

He collected the coins and walked to the vendor selling soup. He paid, bought, pocketed the change and touched his cheek to the tepid soup. His stomach growled louder as he inhaled the aroma. It was heavenly, the scent of this unpretentious soup.

He took the first gulp, the next, and the next and stopped when he heard a loud groan. Turning, he saw a little girl shivering, along with a little puppy. She saw him, her eyes reflecting her need.

She needed him. And it was such a longtime anyone had needed. HIM.

He turned to the vendor, passed the coins — the coins for HIS next meal –for she needed food more than she needed him. This little girl, with doe like eyes and dirty clothes, with life shining from her eyes, along with hunger needed the soup.

He passed the soup to her, and the brown eyes glittered — this was beauty, as well, but this beauty was warm. Soulful. And it wouldn’t hurt like his pretentious, cold wife.

She took some sips, fed the remaining to the puppy.

And then she curled in the pavement, content and filled and he watched, as she fell asleep almost immediately.

He waited, and then decided it was time for his sleep.

He saw it then… The little girl was shivering. But he was, too.

He turned away. He couldn’t afford to lose the blanket. His good-deed of the day was more than enough for today. He walked away and curled in his corner, with the blanket shrouding him. Veiling him from the threat of the arctic air.

Not everyone will be blessed with fur blankets during the winters, but think about that person who wouldn’t even have a shelter to hide from the frosty fingers of snow… O’ we are, mostly, lucky…

But sleep didn’t come. He could see the little brown eyes… He could see her feeding the puppy, even though he knew she was not yet filled in the stomach. Her hunger was in her eyes,  but so was the kindness.

He could see his wife, threatening him with their unborn child, punishing him with the same when he didn’t give in. He could see the life of his little one — a girl, or it would have been a boy — bleeding away. His tears were silent, but the memory hurt like a knife, screwed deep inside the heart.

He stood up, walked to her. She was shivering more wildly now, and was moaning in her sleep, as wind kicked her tender, little body with vicious bolt of icy snow.

He tucked the blanket around her, safe and warm, patted her little head and smiled with tears as he saw her snuggling inside the comfort of his tattered blanket.

The next morning, a man died of cold, never knowing the impact of his good deed. A girl woke up in the warmth of the blanket, with the puppy.

~~~

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

© Ada

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