CHRISTMAS UNDER THE BRIDGE,,2011-12-03 at 03:19 pm Blog RSS
Christmas Under the Bridge
Beneath a bridge, sheltered from the sleeting rain, three children huddled in the shadows,
Their stomach rumbled as they licked the moisture from their cold lips. There had been a piece of crusted bread from a fast food dumpster,,but that was yesterday, and far away.
Jenny the oldest of the three, wise for all of her eleven years, pulled her younger brother closer feeling him shiver..
“Where did mommy go Jenny? “ he ask.
“She went to heaven,, Danny..” Jenny whispered.
“Will she bring food when she comes back?” the five year old asked with a sneeze.
“She’s dead you dit!” His older brother said and wiped his running nose on his sleeve.
“Josh!” Jenny screamed at the ten year old for making his brother burst into tears..”
“Well she is! And She ain’t coming back, that nasty man said so!” Josh said remembering the man at the police station that had tried to take them away. He had said they would each have a nice place to stay,,he meant apart and they all knew it.
“He lied,, mama didn’t die,,..she’s coming back..”Danny sobbed.
Jenny felt her tears, threatening to over flow, as she remembered her mother’s body laying on the kitchen floor,,the knife in her chest and the back door open..
“why had mom wanted to feed the stranger,, why?”
Jenny pulled Danny’s jacket a bit tighter and zipped it up.
“You both stay here,,in the shadows don’t move, I’ll be back soon.. We need to have Christmas dinner…” Jenny said and disappeared into the night.
“Stop crying Danny,, what would mom say?” Josh said wiping the small boys tears..
“you said she was dead!” Danny said jerking away.
“ok I could be wrong,, hey,, its Christmas tomorrow,,, we need a tree.”
Danny turned at the mention of this familiar thought. Then frowned.
“Jenny said don’t move,, she will be mad.”
“Jenny’s not the boss, and we can make it our surprise. Come on we won’t go far.” Josh said glad that the child had stopped crying .
The two children hurried into the darkness. Josh had no clue where he was going to find a tree, but at least Danny was not shivering he was excited about something.
Jenny wiped the tears from her blurry eyes,, she missed her mom, and felt so alone and scared. She was tired and hungry too. She saw the lights from the fast food place they were still open she hurried in and to the bathroom. Came out and ask for a water cup.
They gave her one and she filled it with soda when they were busy with another customer.. She borrowed some of the small creamers too.. Danny was small he needed some kind of milk. Then hurried outside to the back of the building..
In the darkness she waited and saw a shadow.
Someone else was looking for food too!
Jenny reached in the bin and took out a crumpled bag..
“loose something little girl ?” the stranger asked.
“did you?” She asked remembering not to talk to strangers..
She peered into the bag,, napkins, straw paper,,oh some French fries.. She could tell they were still a bit fresh.. She tossed the papers and continued to hunt.
“Go away!” The ragged man said seeing she had a treasure and he had found nothing.
Jenny backed from the man, then felt her stomach growl and moved to the other side of the darkness just as someone came into the area..
“Hey old man , get out of the trash!” the man yelled and tossed his plastic bag in her direction.
Jenny was thankful for the old man as the man from the store chased him and forgot to close the bin.
She opened the bag and found several more good french-fries and even a bit of a burger,,she shuddered..
“I’m just being foolish.. We need to eat.” Jenny said and scooped up what little she found. To her surprise the man retuned with another bag he nearly tossed on top of her, she could smell the food as he returned to the store and the lights went out.. They were closing..
Inside she couldn’t believe what she found,,several hamburgers and even a cheese burger could that be a muffin? She sighed in disappointment it was a napkin.. But wait,, more fries, wow .. And nothing has been touched.. Perhaps this was what was left over from the close of the store no one bought them.. She was glad.
From the shadows she saw someone move..
The old man eyed her bag of goods, then turned away..
“Hey, want to share?” she asked as he turned.
“me, with me? “ he asked and stood a bit straighter.
“I have to find a few things,, first but we well eat in a bit if you want to come with me..” Jenny said seeing his hunger as he licked his lips.. She hurried to the next food place and got a second water cup, filled with soda and ran out the door as the man said something about they were closing ,,
In the darkness Josh and Danny moved through the empty field . And past the trash cans in the alley.. Danny stopped.
Wait look!” Danny said pulling something from the can. His fingers felt numb but he was glad as Josh lifted the tight lid.
Wow , think she will like that Danny..” Josh said eyeing the treasure.. Then slid his hand in the bag a bit further..and stuffed something in his pocket before Danny could see.
Think we will find a tree?” Danny asked.
“Not in this can,, in the field maybe.. Not a real tree but sort of ..” Josh stated.
“You go look” Danny said.. “I have to pee.”
“be quick about it will you ,, then help me find one.” Josh said, then giggled at what his sister would say if she knew Danny had peed in the alley.
“Need help” Josh asked after a second thought.
“I’m not a baby, I can do it my self!” Danny said and hurried back to the can moving things around until he pulled something red from inside and stuffed it in his jacket.. He really did have to pee so he did so and hurried into the field.
“Hey heres a bushy tree” Josh said and Danny shook his head
Cant pick that up..
“look,, heres, something,, its …
“Too Big, but we can take part of it.. A kind of tree” Josh said and ran back to the can and got a tincan lid
He sawed at the branch of the bush until it was nearly through with the tin can lid and then put the lid in his pocket..
“Might need a knife sometime” he said
Josh dragged the limb of the bush and took Danny’s cold hand in his..
“Think she will be surprised?”
Wait!” Danny cried and pulled back..
“For what , we have to get back she will be back soon!”
Danny took off across the field and stopped at the can of trash tearing open two more bags,, then he stopped reaching for a piece of foil crumpled in a ball and several bits of string, and a big button laying on the ground.. He liked buttons didn’t know why he just did.
“Ok let’s go.. “ Danny said taking his brothers hand and a hunk of the branch. Trying to help pull it.
Back at the bridge Danny hid his treasures in the darkness and then helped Josh still struggling with the branch they shoved it into the corner of the bridge where it kind of stood up at an angle..
“looks :kind of like a tree,, needs something..” Danny said and disappeared into the shadows.
Here” he handed Josh the tinfoil. “make a star like mom did for the tree, a star of Jesus.”
Josh hugged his little brother,,
“great idea..” he said and shaped the tiny piece of foil and stuck it on the tree. As he turned he smiled as Danny added the button on a string and several nuts and bolts to the tree hanging on strings..
“Do you still have it Josh?” Danny asked looking at his brother.
“Yeah, in my jacket, ill hide it behind the tree..” Josh took something from under his jacket and wiped it off then stuffed it behind the tree just as Jenny came under the bridge.
Josh grabbed Danny and pulled him behind him as he watched the stranger following his sister…
“It’s ok, his name is Sam. He’s just hungry like us,, we have enough to share,, mom always said if you have some thing you have enough to share..” Jenny said as she saw Josh about to complain.
The stranger looked around at what he saw. Two small ragged boys and a young girl, shivering a bit of a branch from some moth eaten bush decked with nuts bolts and a bit of tinsle and a weird green button hanging from a piece of string..
“Mmm.What’s that?” the man asked .
“That’s our Tree Mr., and a star for Jesus!” Josh said defensively.
Jenny stared at the tree..
“Its…beautiful.” she said .
“Won’t your mom be expecting you young,‘ngs home?” He asked realizing there were only children under this bridge..
“Nope,, they want to break us up! We run away.” Josh said as Jenny nodded.
“oh I See..” he said and sat down on a rock.
Jenny pulled her bag out of her coat and Sam produced the three cups of soda from his tattered shirt.
The two boys moved closer smelling the food.
“Have to do this proper,, “ Jenny announced and spread her head scarf on a rock like it was a table cloth. Then placed the food on it in portions for each of them..
Jenny smacked Sam’s hand as he reached for a fry.
“We say thank you to Jesus on his birthday!” Jenny said waving her finger at him..
“She sounds like mom!” Josh said to Danny and he nodded in agreement.
Sam bowed his head as Jenny said words of thanks and Danny added amen at the end.
The food was little but good, they hadn’t eaten in a while.. Jenny handed her last fry to Sam and he shook his head,, he was too full..
“Where is your mom?” He asked .
Silence followed, Neither Jenny or Josh wanted to say and start Danny crying again.
“Ma ma is dead,,, the bad man killed her ,, stabbed her dead took our money and ran,,,” Danny said and was suddenly silent.
Jenny stared at Danny, how did he know, he was upstairs..?
“I wanted to see if Santa was at the door?” Danny said ,,” I snuck down stairs and hid under the table…He hurt mama.. Bad..she didn’t move.”
Josh put his arm around his little brother and pulled him closer,, he knew his mom was dead,,
Sam the stranger said nothing reaching inside of his shirt he pulled out a harmonica and played a small tune.
The children laughed and asked for jingle bells , Sam smiled.. And put the harmonica to his lips once more, playing the same tune over again..
Danny giggled.. And laid his head in Jenny’s lap.
He was soon asleep.
Eventually all three of the children nodded off and were huddled together asleep in the shadows. In the morning Sam was gone, so was the rest of the french-fries Jenny had saved. But she said nothing.
Josh pulled something from behind the tree and handed it to Jenny.
“It’s a doll” Jenny said and hugged the tiny treasure..
“She’s missing an arm but I hope you like her , me and Danny found her for you.” Josh said.
“just a minute… “ Jenny said and reached into her jacket pocket…
“Here..” she handed Josh a small rubber ball. That looked like it might even bounce a few more times. She hugged Danny and handed him a Dinosaur she had found in the dirt while hiding in the dumpster.
“Cool” Danny said and made his toy growl..
Danny reached into his pocket and handed Josh the small dented metal red truck he had found ..
“Thought I forgot huh..” Danny said and was surprised as Josh pulled a small trinket from his back pocket.
“Star war’s man!
“Ya hes missing a boot but I figure he can do without one.” Josh laughed.
“I saw mama last night” Danny said suddenly.
“She looked like an angel.. All glowing and stuff.. She didn’t have the knife inher either…” Danny said to their stares.
“You dreamed it Danny.”
“No, she was by the tree, she said Aunty Ellen was coming, stay here.” Danny insisted.
Aunt Ellen is in Africa,,, she left weeks ago..” Jenny said remembering the postcard that she had gotten.
“Jenny! Cop! “ Josh said pulling the girl’s arm and trying to grab Danny’s hand.
All three saw the lights and tried to run and hide , only to find the police had cut them off in all directions..
They followed the officers .
“Now were going to jail.” Danny cried.
“Look “ Josh said pointing ,, “Sam told on us,,, and we gave him food”
Jenny stared at the man they had shared food with , standing with a cop by the patrol car. Then she saw something else. A woman in a brown hat and warm gloves getting out of the back of the car.
“Jenny, Danny ,, Josh!!!” She shouted and ran toward them.
Aunt Ellen!” the children jerked free of the officers and ran to their aunt as she looked around at the trash and litter under the bridge.. Seeing the empty food bag and then the sad looking tree with the green button and foil star. She broke into tears..
“Merry Christmas Children..” Sam whispered and started to leave..
The lady Ellen put her hand on his arm.
“How good are you with yard work and shoveling snow?”
“Right fine mame at shoveling,, and I do enjoy outdoors but no flowers or green this time of year..”
“I need a gardener and handy man since I will have children to look after I wont be traveling much and it needs doing ,, cant pay much but have a small cottage in the back ,, more of a shed you might like to keep tidy and stay in if you want..” Aunt Ellen said..”Need to get these children home and fed are you coming?” She asked and shoved him in the patrol car without an answer…Danny looked at the officer.
“Mr. I can draw the man who killed my mamma he was bad..” and hopped into the car.
Sam smiled… wow my first Christmas under a bridge was a miracle in the making..”
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