For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a parcel wrapped in gift paper and tied with a string. There are a few Christmas decorations scattered near it.
HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:
- You can write a post on your blog and create a pingback to link to the original post.
- Write an original story, poem or a caption.
- There is no limit to words or format but keep it family-friendly.
- If you post a response before next Sunday, Sadje will be able to add it to her roundup post.
- Sadje will do a round-up next Sunday before the next Prompt is posted.
- It is always helpful if you can give your post/story/poem a title.
- Paste a link of your post in the comments section so that Sadje doesn’t miss anyone in the roundup post.
Please tag your responses with
#Whatdoyousee or #WDYS
“Thank you, come again!” said Jenna, beaming behind her mask as she handed a bag of baked goodies to her last customer that Christmas Eve.
“Will do!” cried the mother-of-two before escorting her toddlers out of the shop’s warmth and into the snowy street.
Jenna waved at them from behind the glass door until they’d finally disappeared from sight. She turned around, surveying the almost empty shelves and display cases of her little patisserie. Business had fared exceptionally well this month, especially after the recurring lockdowns throughout the year; she really couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
The sound of shutters falling outside derailed Jenna’s train of thought. She looked at her watch—it was 11:15 PM. She usually closed at 9, but thanks to the holiday season, she’d decided to extend her operating hours. It was the season of sweets and sharing after all!
Jenna quickly took off her apron and stashed it in a small cabinet beneath the cash register. She did a round of the patisserie, checking all equipment before moving to turn off the lights. Ah, there’s no forgetting this! she thought to herself, grasping the square box she’d kept aside on the counter a little earlier. Coat, bag, box: check. She was good to go now.
Heading out into the night, Jenna’s eyes lingered over tinsel-adorned buildings and lampposts stringed in multicoloured lights. She’d have loved to stay longer and admire how they magnificently lit up the city centre, but someone was waiting for her. And she didn’t want to make him wait any longer.
“Hello!” said Jenna when she spotted him sitting in his usual corner. The streets here were relatively deserted, so her voice echoed slightly. “Sorry for being late, Mr Klett. You had a good day?”
The ragged old man grunted in reply, cradling his ukulele. He didn’t talk that much.
“That’s great. I was packed today as well, but look—I managed to make you something special!” Jenna kneeled on the cold ground, handing him the square box. “Careful, it’s a little hot.”
Mr Klett peered at her from under his dirty woollen cap. He gave a small nod and took it with his gloved hand. He flipped open its cover and found inside fresh gingerbread, cut into different shapes and sizes, icing giving each piece some character. Taking off his mask, he popped one gingerbread stocking into his mouth, looking up at the young woman watching him expectantly.
“Do you like it?” she asked.
Mr Klett said nothing. He simply closed the box and got up, heading over to a heavily-decorated Christmas tree sitting outside the barber shop. Jenna calmly observed his actions; she’d known the aged busker for the six months she’d lived here, so his meagre words and sudden movements didn’t surprise her as much.
The man returned a few moments later. He was holding a rectangular box wrapped in brown paper. “Here,” he mumbled, holding it out to her.
“For me?” Jenna asked uncertainly.
Mr Klett stepped forward and beckoned to her with the box again. She accepted it with a soft “thank you” and took a good look at it under the streetlamp. She gasped at the beautiful flowers painted on the brown paper in white. I didn’t know Mr Klett could paint so well! Then she pulled at the string around the box, carefully unfolding the paper, to reveal the contents inside.
It was a sheet of construction paper, and on it were painted more pretty patterns and designs. But what really stole Jenna’s heart was the handwritten message in the middle:
“This is beautiful, Mr Klett…thank you so much,” she said, choking a little.
“Call me Paul, please,” he said, hints of a smile forming beneath his scraggy beard.
“OK then,” laughed Jenna, “merry Christmas, Paul.”
“You too. Love the gingerbread, by the way. Thanks for that.”
“I’m glad! I guess your beard loves it just as much,” she giggled, removing a crumb from the tangle of brown and white on his chin.
Their joyous laughter echoed in the chilly night, just as Christmas Eve silently gave way to Christmas.