|what you see before christmastime;
||[Dec. 12th, 2003|02:32 pm]
the children (three or four of them) stopped in front of a faded bungalow. the sign hanging over the gate dated back to 2001, proclaiming that "this gate is open to christ.". the christmas lights around the windows were blinking half-heartedly in the approaching dusk. the children were dressed in clothes the same color as the ashy windowsills, the cement sidewalk. they carried musical instruments -- tambourines made of bottlecaps, empty biscuit tins for drums.
their christmas carol was raucous. it was the same tired tune they sang at every cold and unyielding house down the block.
the tallest girl (who even then would probably only come up to chest-level to my five-foot-two) jumped up and down in an effort to reach the doorbell. i wondered vaguely why it was placed so high.
nobody came out after their first rendition of the old filipino song. they called out several greetings several times, but the door remained closed. the wind blew the plastic wreath askew. they sang again, this time their own version of rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
the smallest boy banged his tambourine against the palm of his hand.
they waited until it got dark. finally a woman strode out and her voice was all sharp edges and crackling tin foil. i'm glad i didn't hear everything she said. the children turned and walked on down the street, but they didn't stop at any more houses to sing.
the wind was blowing again when i left; it lifted the "christ" banner and it folded in on itself.