Her lips were bright from the cold. Her eyes sparkled with innocent joy. “Let’s make another snowman,” she announced. The father laughed and said, “But we just made three of them!” The little girl looked determined. “Daddy, I want to make just one more.” He made a big ball of snow for her. She made a tiny ball and told him to wait. Then he saw two pointy carrot ears and little black eyes. “There’s our catty,” she explained. The father felt stupid. Of course. They’d made their whole family.
The rain drowned out her tears, adding shine to her cheeks. Her drenched clothes screamed for warmth. Others passed by with their brightly colored umbrellas. Some alone and some in pairs. Some smiling and some giggling. The sight of them and the noises they created, left darts in her heart. “Even the sky is crying with me, but life hasn’t stopped,” she thought.
I see your face in my heart.
I hear your bark near my ear.
I feel your nose on my hand.
I smell your familiar smell.
I remember every second.
I will not forget you.
I will not stop loving.
You and all of you.
“But I think you’re beautiful,” he said with sincerity. She didn’t believe him. After spending twenty years hiding her hideous face from most human beings, she could not take his words. “Really? This face? With its generous patches of weird skin?” She spat out the question with no emotion in her eyes. He looked at her face and saw something else. He saw fear. He saw pain. He saw invisible scars. “Stop looking at my face,” she ordered. Then she let somebody hold her for the first time.
The most popular reason for staying stuck in a rut (read: full time job) is probably the fixed sum pay check that hits the bank every month. The promise of that decent amount of monthly moolah didn’t entice me for too long. Some may call me stupid. Others who know nothing think I am a rich man’s daughter/wife. But I know how hard I work to keep this freelance career going. Other than learning the multitude of things that I’ve learnt about being successful as a freelance writer, I’ve come across an unexpected lesson. A bad client with no regard for payment timelines, laziness on my part, and a few dry months, taught me the value of material possessions in my life. When I earned a steady pay check, the mall was my favorite destination after work and on weekends too. I spent money without thinking twice. Sales or no sales. Need or no need. I had money, so I spent it. But now, with the uncertainty about how much money will come each month, I’m cautious. Whenever I stray from my grocery list, I ask myself if the item I’m looking at is something that I really need. Most of the time, it isn’t. Then there was that time when I saw the big SALE posters outside every store and jumped in to buy shoes. I walked out empty handed but not feeling bad at all because I had realized that my closet at home contained five pairs of shoes and sandals already. How many more does a human being need, I said to myself. That day, I came home and admired my little collection and felt rich. And of course, I always smile remembering the humble homeless people I know, who spend their lives with a pair of rubber sandals. All that said, I am not a complete monk and treat myself to the occasional pair of earrings or lip gloss. But yes – occasional is the key word here. More importantly, the earrings and lip gloss that I’d buy earlier just because I had money to spend every month, are so much more valuable to me. Spending money is no longer a part of my routine. It is something that I do for needs and pure pleasure.
The darkness of the chocolate melted in her mouth. “This really does boost one’s mood,” she thought to herself. Thoughts of progress and happiness filled her mind. She felt her lips curving into a smile. Three squares later, her teeth needed toothpaste and a rinse. “Just one more,” she decided. As she seemed to float on impossibly cheerful bursts of emotion, she noticed that the chocolate bar was gone. Misery returned in the form of too many unwanted calories. “I hate myself,” she concluded.