The Lost Gifts 

It was a winter of rain and snow. A man walked into a church to inquire if anyone had seen his gifts. They had not, but tried to ask what kind of shopping bag they would be in. The man walked out, confused, and wandered amongst cats and lampposts. Later, at the police station, they wanted to know how he had lost them; at the pharmacy, they inquired when. Nobody could help him. Then he walked into a candy shop and once again announced that he had lost his gifts. They asked for a receipt or a description of the items, but he only replied that he suffered from the sleeping sickness. Once more, he entered the night, passing through mazes of stone and shadow. In a bar with a gold and yellow signboard, he drank some ale. Nobody there knew what he was talking about, either, especially as he did not seem to know who the gifts were for. In the end, he walked back into the night and stopped by a lamppost on a bridge. I lost my gifts, he said to the lamppost, his voice cracking. What happened? the lamppost asked. I don’t know, he whispered, opening his coat, unbuttoning his cotton shirt and exposing his scarred skin to the whirling snowflakes. They took them, he cried, while I was sleeping! That was cruel, whispered the lamppost, but there will be other gifts that they won’t find. Don’t let them know. They cannot take anything else if they think you are empty. 

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