Five Boys

1 Jan

Sunday, January 1st, seven in the evening. The doorbell rings, but I’m not expecting anyone. On my doorstep I find five boys. Two of them I recognize from the primary school in our village; they´re in sixth grade just like my daughter.

Miss, may we sing a carol?

For a split second I am surprised. In the 14 years I´ve lived in this village no one has ever come to sing at my door. I tell the boys they are welcome to sing, but that I can´t give them anything in return. Which is no lie: the only candy that survived Christmas was recently gobbled up by the dog, and just this morning my daughter and I spent the last change that was lying about the house at the fair. A quick mental browsing of my house tells me I have nothing I can give them and makes me realise this place often looks like it´s been recently burgled. So sorry, guys: no coins, no candy.

That’s okay, miss. We just want to bring some Christmas spirit.

I can tell from their faces that they mean it. That they came up with this plan together and put each other´s spunk to the test. That this undertaking brings them excitement, a little embarrassment, and lots of fun.

They begin to sing:

campana sobre campana

Y sobre campana una

Asómate a la ventana

Verás el niño en la cuna

Belén, campanas de Belén

Que los ángeles tocan

¿Qué nuevas me traéis?

They keep the pace and stay in tune. Two of them have to suppress some giggles, the others sing with a happy smile on their faces. Christmas atmosphere: check. That was lovely, I tell them afterwards. Do you know how well you sing? , they tell me confidently. Boys singing with faith in themselves. How wonderful.

I think almost everyone who has been looking back at 2022 over the past few days has come to a point where they started to see the future in a rather bleak light. Reasons galore: global warming, rising prices, new wars and old ones that just keep on going. The question why there is so much being invested in artificial intelligence and so little in natural empathy is also one that increasingly worries me.

But as long as there are 11-year-old boys singing carols, none of us have the right to give up.

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