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Tears, Pain and the Cold

The wind blew strong and hard on that cold winter’s day. Snowflakes were falling. Not enough to be considered a blizzard, but just about enough to be considered bad weather. The chilly wind cut through everyone’s coats and warm clothes like a knife through melted butter. It hurt! The wind reached the hearts of every soul and it hurt. Everyone rushed about to his or her place indoors away from the wind that hurt. Everyone but one.

He stood there alone on the street. He was alone in the sense that he was the only one standing. He was standing there so still, that he would have looked like a statue had tears not been dripping from his eyes. Each eye let a tear escape through it and each one dragged across his face slowly in the wind. The wind grew stronger and colder, yet he stood there, tears dripping one by one like a broken faucet.

Everyone who passed looked at him for a moment and then went on their way. There was something wrong about him standing right there, right then. His figure was almost a sign of pain in the cold world around him. He just stood there, though. In spite of the cold wind, the cold tears and the cold hearts that passed by him.

He just stared out into the distance. There was nothing there in front of him but a busy road, with cars passing by every second and tall skyscrapers in the distance. He was in the middle of the city. There were tens of thousands of people around him, yet he was more alone than he could be in the middle of the Sahara desert at noon.

His coat was long and beige. It seemed only a week old. His hat was older, twenty years older, yet it didn’t have a single mark to show that age. But his shoes were old. Very old! And they looked old. They were torn and ragged. In his hands, he held a package. A package that was as old as his shoes. It had been torn in many places, but each place had been cello-taped with great care. He held it like he might hold his life. A fragile life, alone and not moving. A life that needed something, but never did or never would get it.

The sun disappeared behind dark clouds. The wind got yet stronger and colder. The snowflakes turned into a near-blizzard. The snow rushed across his face dragging some tears along with the wind. The wind cut through his soul and tried to destroy it then. But he stood still with no signs of pain and no feelings on his face. Except for the tears that still trickled down his hard cheeks, one by one.

His face had grown hard. He was old. The tears did their best to soften his face, but his face was still as hard as stone. He remained as still as stone. No one knew who he was or why he was there. But he was there. Everyone knew that he was there and everyone acted as if he wasn’t there. Each cold heart that passed by dealt more pain and harshness than could be delivered by the coldest wind or the sharpest knife.

He stood there all morning. He stood there through noon and in the afternoon. He stood motionless. No one bothered to notice or see if he was alive. He just stood there, through to the evening. All the time, the tears kept trickling down, one by one. The sun never shone through the clouds. The blizzard never came, yet the snow went on falling. The wind didn’t get stronger. It just blew on and on, relentlessly.

As evening arrived, those who came in the morning started pouring out. They saw the man standing there again. They ignored him again. The cold hearts became only colder. And the tears remained as wet as they were. They all saw the tears. They saw each tear drag along his face and they saw each one cut into his soul and they felt each tear cut into their own.

The last few people returning back from whence they came looked up at the man and looked at his face. The looked at his eyes, which were still staring into the distance. The last person, stopped, looked at his face carefully and threw a cent on the ground for the man. And he too, walked on into the distance leaving the man alone as he had been all day.

The snow stopped. However, the wind still blew strong. It blew in gusts. Each time recharging to blow a stronger gust. The wind blew one strong gust. The package flew out of the man’s arms. The tears stopped! The man moved. He looked at his hands. He turned and looked at the flying package. He looked all around him.

The package had been taken away by the wind. The man had nothing now except for his clothes, his coat, hat and torn shoes. He stood still once more. One tear dripped through the face once more. He dropped down to his knees and buried his face in the ground with his hands around it. He shivered. He moved. He was alone!