He got ready for work. He favoured the night shifts, the time that was given to magic, to hope and to dreams. And the cherry on the cake was that he loved his job. What was there not to love in being a professional storyteller?
It was a love that had been passed down to him by his mother. Even so many years after her death, he vividly remembered the way her face lit up when she was telling stories, with her gossamer pink-purple scarf wrapped artfully around her neck – her trademark look – and the story-book lying closed in her lap. It was magical. It was inevitable that he’d do the same.
He wrapped the scarf his mother had knitted for him and picked up the book. It was not just a scarf; it was his mother’s love wrapped around him. It had all his favourite colours. The long stripes of red and blue alternating between white and green. And in between each colour strip was an invisible thread of pure love. He was sure the warmth came not from the wool but from the invisible threads.
The book had been hers. It had all her stories. It was well-thumbed. The brown leather, worn soft from thousands of love touches. It couldn’t hold on to its coarseness in the face of such tender handling. The edges were worn. The gold calligraphic lettering on the cover was fading. He knew each crease and smudge on that book. They were his friends and he lovingly visited them often.
These days he was partial to a particular hospital. Not because it was the newest one in town, but because it had newborn babies. Children who had been abandoned. The newbies needed him, to whisper to them great stories of love, sacrifice, bravery and loyalty. The sheer magic of the stories made them laugh or cry or filled their tiny hearts with great ambitions, not of success but of being the best friend, the bravest heart, the team player.
However, there was another reason he favoured this hospital. It’s because she worked here. From the moment he saw her, he fell in love, not for something as mundane as her looks. What he loved, was the sparkle in her eyes when she looked at the kids. The way she smiled down at them. The way she nestled a restless bod against her bosom and crooned. The way she fussed when one of them was ill. She loved them, so he loved her.
I am sure you have seen him weave his magic. Have you ever seen a child sleeping and have you ever noticed how the child laughs, cries or makes faces while sleeping? What did you think was happening? It was him, murmuring his mother’s stories into their ears.
But alas! He who weaves such magic can’t have this miracle in his own life. For you see she is a mortal night nurse and he is the prince of magical Storyland.
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