Every Christmas and every New Year’s Eve, Mr. K was waiting for kids to sing for him the Christmas carols. This was his only happiness through the year: to hear the boys singing for him! Through the eyes of the children he can see his face! It reminds him when he was a young kid and he sang the Christmas carols, and after he was counting the money and ran to a nearest shop to buy himself a toy! Mr. K was very poor since he was a child, and toys were something he never had. He always looked at other children as they played with their toys, and he was dreaming that he once could do the same. Now Mr. K is an old man. He finally earned a lot of money in his life, but this was his only achievement. He never got married, he spent his whole life by himself. He had some ephemeral relationships with women, but none of them was the special one. Maybe that was meant to be, maybe that was what God wanted, who knows? Mr. K has donated all of his belongings to children’s institutions. He kept for himself only a detached house and some money just for the daily expenses. And from this money, he kept some for the kids in Christmas. Kids knew that Mr. K would give them a lot of money, and every year his house was surrounded by their voices and songs. The same applies for this year; Mr. K was looking forward for this day. He woke up too early waiting for kids to sing the Christmas carols for him, to stuff his house, to ‘stuff’ his heart. He could listen the kids singing from afar. In a few minutes they would be outside his house! Kids’ voices were loud now! In a minute he would hear the bell ring! He was so happy, that he went beside the door waiting for them! But sadly, the kids’ voices now sounded further away! No kid rang his bell! They passed his house and went to another near his. Mr. K was mystified, but he thought that maybe these kids didn’t know him, furthermore his house was looking abandoned. After a minute, he heard others kids’ voices. He opened the curtain a bit, and saw familiar kids. Now he was happy! Within them was a new boy, a boy that Mr. K had never seen before. He heard the other kids call him “K”! This boy had the same name with him! Without knowing why, he liked this boy a lot! Sadly, none of these kids rang his bell! They passed his house and went to another! Actually, no kid rang his bell the whole day! He was listening to kids’ voices, but no one stopped at his house! Mr. K sat slowly in his chair. He was very depressed! He could not understand why this thing happened! “Anyway, I will wait for a few days more. Maybe at the end of the year kids will remember me, and I’ll give them the money for Christmas also” he thought, even if he didn’t believe it at all.

The days passed slowly. Today is the last day of the year. Mr. K has woken up early, he is waiting for kids to sing for him New Year’s Eve carols. He heard again kids singing, he saw them again passing his house by. No kid stopped, no kid sang for him! It’s night, Mr. K is sitting alone in his house. In a few minutes he will welcome New Year alone! Alone, without a kid having sung the carols for him! Neither now, nor in Christmas! He’s so sad, and wants to cry. He decides not to wait until midnight, snatches his coat and goes out. He feels the cold air, it looks different now, maybe because he had been staying inside his home for the last 10 days. But everything looks different, everything looks pale. Even the colors were only black and white! As he was walking he saw a man walking fast towards him. He was wearing a costume with hat and gloves. Mr. K said to him “Merry Christmas Sir!” but he didn’t get a response! The man passed him without even looking at him! The same thing happened with the second man he saw and also with the third! Mr. K didn’t know what to think. He was sad again. As he was walking slowly back to his house, something outside a funeral office caught his glance. He saw his name! Yes, Mr. K had died 10 days ago! That’s why everything felt different now! That’s why no kid stopped again in his house! That’s why he never heard Christmas carols! Every Christmas kid passes outside his home without stopping. Every Christmas, Mr. K wears his coat and walks the same route. No one sees him, no one talks to him! Mr. K knows that, but –somehow- he hopes that maybe one day someone will talk to him, to tell him just “Merry Christmas Sir!” These days and this route are Mr. K’s Heaven and Hell.

Story by: Konstantinos Pamfiliss

Illustration: Sofia Kyrisoglou