Sarafina lay shivering on the cold concrete floor. Loud noises sounded all around her, as she pulled the tattered cloth that covered her closer to her tiny body. Her big brown eyes were shut, she preferred them closed.
She didn’t need open eyes when her ears could so easily tell of all that was going on around her, and with her eyes closed she could dream. She covered her short cropped hair with her tattered cloth and dreamed.
Rebecca stared up at the lights in awe and smiled. She flicked her long blonde hair in anticipation. The best thing about Christmas had to be the big beautiful lights.
She clapped her hands as the lights were turned on, and with a myriad of other spectators, her big blue eyes held pure wonderment at the beauty of the city of London swathed in bright twinkling multicolored lights that simply shone.
At night, Rebecca climbed into bed after being tucked in by her mother. A warm mug of chocolate milk and a biscuit, along with the memories of those magical lights put a smile on her face.
‘Don’t forget my quilt!’ Rebecca cried to her mother. Her mother rolled her eyes as she placed the quilt over Rebecca body.
‘That old tattered thing,’ her mother sighed. ‘May be time for a new one.’
Rebecca simply smiled as she smoothed her long blonde hair over her face, held her quilt close, and closed her eyes to dream.
Sarafina dreamed of a place that was clothed in happiness.
A big green tree, like the ones she had happened to see in the tattered children’s books that had been donated by so many. Her dream tree stood by a window and glittered, adorned with baubles of all shapes and sizes. Under the tree were a myriad of multi coloured gifts. She stared wide eyed, having never seen anything like it, the mountain of carefully wrapped boxes of all shapes and sizes stared back at her.
Sarafina saw a young girl bent low flicking her long blonde hair as she inspected the heap. The young girl held various boxes up to her face as she inspected them carefully, turning them around. Grunting, she threw each one back into the pile. Having found one that fit her expectations, the blonde haired girl clapped her hands merrily.
‘Here’s one that has my name on it!’ She smiled gleefully. She held the package in her hand and read the greeting card.
‘Rebecca, this is from me to someone very special. Love from Grandma. x’
Sarafina hid behind the shadows of the door so that the serene young girl she watched would not see her. She stared down at herself. Her clothes were blackened with dirt and decay, and she looked a mess. If this young blonde haired girl saw her, there would be much trouble no doubt. She would alert her family to the presence of an ugly looking dirty intruder. She did her best to hide behind the shadows.
Sarafina saw the young girl run over to her mother and tugged on her skirt.
‘Sweetheart, do mind? I'm trying to braise the turkey’. Her mother chastened.
The blonde haired girl peered from behind her mothers skirt and was astounded by the sight of the big pink bird that was being stuffed with garlic, onions and ginger.
‘Yuck!’ the young girl exclaimed. ‘What an ugly looking thing. Are we meant to eat that Mama?’.
Sarafina closed her eyes and breathed in deeply.
The young girls mother smiled and continued to prepare an astounding meal of braised carrots, honey glazed parsnips, rice, baked salmon, fried chicken, steamed veg, Greek salad and so much more as Sarafina eyed the immense display.
Her mouth watered as she breathed in deeply. What she wouldn't do for a mouthful of one piece of a raw carrot.
The blonde haired girl skipped and clapped as she sang a song, happily watching her mother prepare all the food.
‘What a wonderful Christmas this will be,’ she sang.
Tears slid down Sarafina’s face as she yearned for just a memory of such abundance.
Rebecca tossed and turned. Her pillow was damp with perspiration as her brows furrowed together.
She was dreaming a dream of things she had never seen before.
She ran with sheer determination to reach the light that she saw ahead. She knew that the light was her safety.
Along the way she ducked and hid as buildings fell around her. The earth below her feet trembled and left her unsteady, yet she had nothing to hold on to as she fell to her feet amongst the chaos. She saw a man lying at her feet in front of her, she was no fool to know that he was clearly dead.
She continued to run, her long blonde hair flowed behind her. She was in stark comparison to her surroundings. She was aware that the white of her gown illuminated her very being. She ran even faster to find some shelter.
She spotted a cove, and ran deep into it. She lay on the floor and cowered, whimpering. She heard a sound and saw a girl sniffling, covered by an old tattered cloth. The girl's eyes were closed, sleeping, deeply in another world.
A tear rolled down her face as she watched the girl. The girls short cropped hair peaked out from beneath an old worn out cloth. As if aware of silent eyes upon her, the girl opened her eyes. Seeing the stranger next to her, and though she was cold and afraid, the girl was welcoming. She extended her old tattered cloth to invite the blonde haired stranger to share the covering.
Thankful Rebecca rushed forward and lay beside the girl who covered her in her cloth of comfort as they cowered at the heavy footsteps approaching, which grew louder by the minute. They both knew they were surrounded by danger, but did not know what to expect. One encased in dirt, the other illuminated by white clung to each other as they cried.
‘In here!’ A loud voice cried out. Footsteps approaching, another voice sounded, ‘Two bodies in here!’
Both girls were thankful when they were lifted and carried away, assured that they were in safe hands.
‘Merry Christmas!!’ Came forth the shouts.
Rebecca’s house was full of warmth and laughter. Auntie’s and Uncles, Cousins and friends all gathered together, singing carols, opening gifts, eating food and playing games.
She was quiet, unusual for her. The dream that she had the night before had left a lasting impression. Rebecca held up her gifts, and eyed the packaging, brightly wrapped, with bows and ribbons. That which she was so eager to open the day before no longer held the same attraction.
She opened one, the one that she had sifted out the night before and knew was from her Grandma. She read the greeting card again.
‘Rebecca, this is from me to someone very special. Love from Grandma. x’
Rebecca was moved to see a replica of the ‘tattered quilt’ her mother so hated. She held up the large, warm hand knitted quilted gift from her Grandma as she unfolded it and covered her body with it, indulging in its warmth.
'Your Grandma spent so much time knitting that quilt' Rebecca's Mother said. 'She was so young when she started it, it was even before you were born, and I was just little girl! But I can see her now, concentrating so hard. She always would say 'this is for someone very special!'
Rebecca smiled, a solemn smile as her big blue eyes stared at her gift. She knew what she had to do.
Sarafina sat smiling. She had been fortunate that she had been found in the cove. Her tattered dirty cloth had been replaced with hot warm towels as she was lifted up to safety.
She sat in the home of her Mother who had spent so long searching for her. Christian Aid had sent donations to Haiti after the earthquake had hit, and Sarafina was fortunate that she had survived the devastating experience, being able to enjoy the added extras. It had been a tearful and heart wrenching reuniting. She would always remember the girl that was sent to her. Blonde hair flowing, encased in light, the girl that held her close and offered comfort.
‘My angel in disguise.’ Sarafina had said.
'’Merry Christmas.’ Her Mother smiled at her handing her multiple gifts. ‘This was from a young girl that wanted to send a donation.’
Sarafina’s small fingers carefully unwrapped a brightly coloured gift to find a hand knitted quilt. She wrapped it around her and was ecstatic. She closed her eyes and indulged in the warmth and comfort it brought. She danced, and twirled and sang. She opened the card that came with it.
She knew exactly who it was from, for she had seen this girl in her dreams. Her Angel in disguise.
‘Merry Christmas for those less fortunate’ the card read.
‘Thank you for the covering you gave to me. This was intended for someone very special! Love the blonde haired girl. x'.