06:46 hrs – La Plata, Argentina

Posted on May 31, 2010


When the winter holidays began, mother stood by the window in the living room for long periods of time, a hot cup in her hand, sipping in long intervals. From this window you could see the street, which daddy would come down now any minute. Eventually he appeared, a tall man in a dark overcoat, disfigured by layers of vests, shirts and sweaters, pushing a shiny, silvery cart filled with things he’d picked up along the way that he’d give us as presents. When she had seen him, mother let out a long sigh of relief and went to the kitchen to prepare a tea for him with honey. It was a mixture of Ceylon and Assam and daddy had a story for every leaf of the brew. The stories were linked to princes and counts, terrible treasures and rambunctious riots, and they involved our father, his sudden loss of courage, how he outwitted magicians and sailed home against ill winds. Whatever anybody had ever said about him, when he began to speak, balancing his tea and our mother on his knees, became mere sawdust on the floor of our lives and we only heard his voice and admired his bearded deeds, grateful that we had him in our lives for one day a year.

(Excerpt from ‘Faces’ – all of the Earth’s 24 time zones on Christmas Eve.
Art: Carlye Birkenkrahe.