East-european winters are always cold. Every January freezes my blood at the first breath I take outside, in the early foggy mornings when I have to get to work. The cold makes you cover even your nose, to avoid the painful sting of the frost when you breathe in.
It was one of those mornings when I just wanted to call my boss to tell him that I quit, because it was inhuman to walk in 10 centimeters of snow in a time of the day when you could only distinguish everything as shadows, because the sun refused to show up. But the common sense was ringing bells in my head so I kept walking. I was never more anxious to get to the bus station and I started making “warm” wishes to the bank which was delaying my credit for the car ridiculously much.
Swearing in my head and thinking of all the work I had to do at the office, I was fully awake now. But I had a few seconds of doubt about it, when I heard a low faint voice from the corner of the gray building which was waiting to be demolished for over a year now. “Don’t worry”, it said, “we’re gonna survive this one too…”. I stopped. My first thought was to quickly search for some small change to give it to the begger, but turning to see the exact source of the voice, I saw an old woman petting a dog. I couldn’t tell which one of the two looked more awful and skinny. The ground where they stood was without snow, covered in newspapers, and an old smelly blanket, with so many holes in it, that you could barely call it a blanket. The woman didn’t seem to notice me and I was staring like a fool. She took a loaf of bread from a small plastic bag and gave it all to the dog. The poor creature was drooling at it, but only took a bite. Then it waited. But the woman seemed to encourage it, saying “go on, eat it all, it’s your turn this morning”, pushing the loaf towards to dog again.
Without even thinking, I searched my bag, always full of useless stuff, like mirrors and lipsticks and all sorts of bills and found the sandwich I had prepared for my office lunch, as I was usually too busy to take a real lunch break. And I gave it to the woman. Without being able to say a word, seeing my bus I started running, forgetting how slippery my shoes were.
All day I could only hear the woman’s words and her sparkly eyes after I gave my sandwich. That day I had a real break at noon and ate even the desert. When I got back home, the woman was gone…the dog was staring at everyone who passed by, then with a disappointed sad look, started smelling the blanket. The next morning I took with me 3 sandwiches, but again I only saw the dog. I left them there, but the poor animal didn’t even touch them.
After a couple of days, my neighbour paid me a visit and I told him the what happened since that morning. With his black eyebrows raised, he asked me “What? You don’t know the story?”. So he told me that the dog found the begger in that corner one night, almost frozen and it laid cuddled next to her, to keep each other warm. It practically saved her life and they started sharing the bread and the blanket from that day…But after that morning when I first saw them, she died and was taken away…And the dog refused by all means to eat or abandon that corner and the blanket…I gave him food in the first days, but it refused to eat…so I stopped. And after a while I didn’t see it anymore…
That day changed my life and made me wake up more cheerful, enjoy my lunch break and a ride by bus. That day made me see the beauty of my life and be thankful for what I have and for what I can do, every moment.