It was still raining. It had been two days I saw Sky Blue and Land dry, don’t get me wrong, I love rainy season, and obviously winter too, these are the only two seasons where I can be home and be cozy by myself. I walked slowly to kitchen and poured a handsome amount of mushroom soup; it was my speciality which I had perfected all these years, the secret is to boil the mushrooms before deep-frying them, this way they stay crisp and still retain their taste. I grabbed the bowl and sat near the fireplace, stretching my legs as long as I could. When you have outside at 37F and are rolled up in quilt as of caterpillar’s head has pooped out of his cocoon, and you are near a fireplace with the only source of light in the room being that fireplace, having a steaming hot soup in front of you, what more could you want? Well, not me! I want everything at once, so before making this set-up, I turned on Beethovan and grabbed the novel I was doing last night. Now, I was set to just sit back and relax. I stared back into the fire, I always found flames mesmerizing. I had started to miss home, it had been more than two years I left the city to move here, all natural country side. Here I will left to myself, no friends or family, the only person I knew and knew me back was that supermarket counter girl. She would always ask, “Hey Cecil! How is that book coming?”. And I will always reply with a smile saying, “Ah! You know…. somewhere! Even I have no idea when will I complete it”, breaking that conversation with a short laugh.
It wasn’t more than ten minutes when bell rang. I didn’t want to get out of my comfort fortress, and who could it be? I never interacted much with my neighbors, a smile was most I could do. I reached the door constantly rubbing my arms in futile attempts to keep that warmth. I wasn’t ready to open the door, it was so comfortable inside and so cold outside. I embraced myself for it and flung open the door.
“Good evening sir “, even his voice was shivering. In front of me was a kid, around 10 year old, he had a tee inside with soiled jeans and an oversized overcoat and all of it was soaked, water dripping from them. He had a healthy build, with heavily tanned face.
I bend over, and said, “Hi, good evening, how can I help you?”
“Sir, I have no where to go and it’s freezing outside, can you let me in? ”
I felt bad for him, he was still shivering so much and he had his hands around his chest.”Yes, of course you can. Get in fast, remove those clothes, I’ll get you dry ones, and here’s a towel to dry yourself up”, I said throwing a towel at him, “I’ll be back in a minute, make yourself comfortable.”
After he was done with everything, I helped him to a fireplace. “You must be hungry? Care for a mushroom soup? I make them good”
“Yes sir, thank you so much ”
” Don’t call me ‘sir’, my friends call me Cecil, you can too. And what’s your name? ”
“Okay David, a large bowl of soup coming for you “, winked at him and left.
After I gave him the bowl, I sat opposite him and just looked at him. He was being shy all the time, I guess that’s natural, but as soon as he had his first gulp he just went silent, dead silent. I thought, huh, boy didn’t compliment my soup, was it not good? But what bothered me more than his silence is that I couldn’t exactly fit him into any situation which could explain his current situation. His tanned face yet proper manners and etiquettes with good clothes, dirty but they were once good clothes. Shoes! Cecil how could forget the most powerful things! Some people say that eyes tell all truth about that person, I say that it’s shoes, your footwear can tell everything about you, your past, you present, your decision making, everything. To my surprise they were even more confusing, he had a pair of Nike shoes covered with mud but right one was burned from top right corner. Interesting!
He lifted his head up and slowly murmured with little hint of tears in his eyes, “That’s how mum used to make”