There were tense times
the sixties, when the political
and economic superpowers struggled over Cuba, known as the Cuban
and some years later, when JFK was shot. And later on, still
rough times Ireland went through, where a thin and shy eight year
old girl, named
Cathy, lived with her poor catholic family.
Cathy stood in front of her old brown wardrobe. The door was open
and she stared at a pile of twenty precious chocolate bars, biting her
decorations were up everywhere and Cathy liked the smell of the traditional
bakery. She concentrated on the chocolates, all neatly wrapped in paper with a candle and a greeting card.
Every Christmas the church sent out these small gifts to elderly, lonesome
people. Volunteers would take their time and patience in order to make
old eyes and wrinkled faces smile.
She shot a glance at the chocolate pile and her
dark eyes became more shiny than they already were. How she hated
Christmas at that very moment.
Then she sighed, closed the wardrobe door and stepped into the
room. Her mother was sitting on the couch, knitting as always.
All the time, she seems to disapprove of something. Now
she followed the movements on the TV-screen.
The old black and white TV was a surprise gift from a friend of
family, who worked for an electronic company.
The TV roared a jingle. A commercial about Swiss chocolate came up.
Beautiful thin women with dark grey lips, which were supposed to be red,
and with perfect teeth were happily licking thin chocolate sticks with
a creamy yogurt filling, like there was nothing more important in the whole
wide world. The underlaying music changed into a dynamic rhythm,
when two young and successful looking guys in a sports cabriolet showed
up. The girly women waved with their chocolate sticks, which they fed seconds
later to these athletic men. Then all four drove off. The music ended in a romantic minor accord.
That’s unfair, Cathy thought and remembered immediately her
mother’s voice, telling her that everything in the world was
and that there was nothing to complain about. She should pray and
for what she had. Greed, envy and rebellion were evil. How
Cathy loved to have those Swiss chocolate sticks. Instead she had
to do dishes from lunch. She hesitated at the kitchen door, then
her mom for permission to play with her friends.
Not after she had delivered some of those small chocolate gifts
to the elders on the list that was also provided by the church,
Cathy learned, of course.
After having done her chores, she had a silent
supper with her parents in the evening. With some
went to her room and locked the door. For a while she sat on her
bed. Then the images came to her as she had revisited them in her
mind over and over.
She played with her companions on the beach. They had dug a hole
in the sand, placed a tiny box and covered it up. She felt the
sun on her skin and the light breeze on her face and in her dark
hair. The waves washing on the beach, leaving patterns and
pebbles as shiny as marbles in the sand. Palm trees were
nodding to the wind with a whistling sound.
They swam until they were cool and breathless. After some
more fun games the most
important part would come. She called it the melting ceremony.
When the sun would reach high into the sky and their feet were
almost burned by the sand, they gathered in a
circle. They would choose one among them to get the small package
out of the sand and one to collect a fresh palm leaf. But it was
Cathy, who would open the small parcel, take Chocolate-Santa and
unwrap his red aluminum foil. Cathy
would inhale the soft smell and cautiously hand Santa over to
the next companion. When everybody had inhaled the promising
would place the aluminum foil and Santa on the palm leaf. The
would continue with singing and humming of all Christmas songs they
knew until Chocolate-Santa was melted. They would joyfully share the
precious thick liquid,
licking foil and leaf, and then dancing and talking until dusk.
When Cathy crawled under her bed sheets she felt warm and comfortable,
on her lips still the sweet aromatic taste of Chocolate-Santa.
In the middle of the night, she woke up hungry. She turned in her bed from one side
to the other. Finally, she
murmured: “Nothing on earth is fair!” Then she fell asleep.
The next day Cathy ignored her mother’s typical comments, but
she fulfilled all her chores automatically. She could bear to
deliver seven more chocolates to the elderly, letting them do all their
talking, all their cheek-touching without getting upset.
Two days before Christmas she stood in front of her wardrobe looking
at three chocolate bars she had still to deliver.
With calmness she squeezed two of them in her bag to
get them to their recipients right after school. A day after
that sleepless night she had
told her friends about the melting ceremony. Cheerfully they
made plans, adapting and transforming details to the frosty
circumstances in real life.
day before Christmas, tomorrow, they all will meet nearby the old cabin
in the woods. They'll hide
the chocolate in a snow pile while they're gathering fire wood.
Cathy’s friends will bring some candles and maybe a
slice of cake. Finally, her dream shall come
true, at least a close variation. On the other hand, she
felt sorry for this old woman, who will miss her Christmas gift.
Life is not fair!
Next morning, on the very day before Christmas, she peeked into the
wardrobe at the last chocolate bar and took off for school.
After lunch she washed the dishes and her mother took a nap on the
couch. Quietly she slipped into her room, dressed for her secret
and opened the wardrobe. The chocolate was gone. She smashed
the door shut and bit her lips, tears in her eyes. In
disbelief she looked again, then started to search
the entire room. She checked her schoolbag twice. Disappointed, she sat
on her bed. Who had taken the chocolate? What will she tell
her friends? She walked into the living room and glanced at
the clock. Time was running fast. She stared at her snoring
mother. After some time of inner arguments Cathy woke her.
“Mom, mom! What happened to the last chocolate bar in my wardrobe?”
she found herself shouting. “Someone must have taken it. However, I am responsible
and supposed to bring it to the elder ones. It’s
the last day before Christmas!”
Her mother, still sleepy, looked at her daughter.
“Since when do you care? Since when are you so eager to deliver these
packages?” she asked calmly. “Do you think I don’t know?” she added in her
Cathy blushed and looked away.
“So I wanted to make sure, that this last little chocolate has
reached its true destination,” she continued. Then
mom got up, went to the kitchen and came back with something small in
“Cathy, you're my kid", she said gently. "Off to your playmates now, hurry."