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Elle Jauffret

Writer ~ Lawyer ~ Fork Handler

The Log

Dec 23, 2014

The log was the gift of a complete stranger, the boy discovered in the snow, at his little brother’s feet, upon waking up from their cold-induced nap.

“‘must be from Santa!” his brother said. But Thomas knew it wasn’t. He had stopped believing in Father Christmas the year his parents died, leaving him and his little brother behind, in the urban jungle of wintery London. He had lost faith in God and humanity, until that very day when a log the size of large ham  stood next to their empty penny-pan.

The night was falling as steadily as the snow when the boys retreated to their shelter in the back alley of a toy store. From there, they could see the ornate Christmas tree, wrapped presents and a multitude of toys through the store’s window, giving them the illusion of owning them all. Thomas dragged the heavy log to their corner and hoisted it into the wire burn barrel he had found in the city dumpster a week before. He covered the log with old newspapers and pamphlets, like it was the most precious item he had ever owned, and  lit the paper mount with his lighter – the only inheritance he had received from his father.

There was something magic in watching the flames devour the paper, consuming it with red and blue hues.  Something magic in watching yellow flames flicker, splashing glitter in the air, filling their hopeless eyes with temporary sparkles. Something magic about feeling the radiating heat warm there freezing bodies.

Thomas tucked his brother in, under the stained and ripped blankets that had been their bed for the past 30 days. He slid next to him and held him close, hoping the log was big enough to last 5 more hours- time after which they had been guaranteed admission in the city's orphanage.

He fell asleep, his head filled with prayers that they would make it to the next day alive. Christmas was the season of giving and that log had been all he had hoped for.

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Christmas Log/Bûche de Noël: chocolate cake filled with chocolate-orange blossom mousse, covered with with white chocolate swiss meringue icing. 

 

 

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