Summary: They say the old man has been here for hundreds of years.
Stars in His Eyes
They say the old man has been here for hundreds of years. They say that one night, he suddenly appeared in a big blue box, and a girl was with him. The box and the girl left, but he stayed behind.
Some say he is a god. Some say he is a criminal running from his past, performing penance for his crimes. Some say that he is guarding the Crack—the Crack in his house that emanates soft golden light— and he is keeping it closed; others think he is trying to open it. None of us knows what would happen if the Crack were to break, to release its gentle light and soft whispers upon us. We have never asked.
It is a mark of our respect for him that we have never questioned him about these things. Here, in the town of Christmas where no lie can be uttered, he would tell us everything, if we wanted it so. But what does it matter? What is important is that he is here and he protects us from the Cybermen and Daleks and Angels and the other vicious things that swarm over our town, seeking our destruction. He stays and he fights, even now when his hair is white, his back bent, his right leg unsteady.
He totters around the town with a cane, hunched against the snowy wind, a tired smile always on his wizened face. He greets everyone, knows them all, though every once in a while he gets them confused with others who have come before. Despite his shaky hands he makes little wooden toys for the children. He used to make me toys when I was young. The children give him drawings in return: colourfully crude renditions of battles he has fought and won for us, stick figures that look vaguely like him, illustrations of the various tales he has told them. They write I LOVE YOU on the papers, as if he needs constant reminding that he is loved so much by so many.
We have photographs of him. In the most worn ones he is tall and lanky with dark hair and smooth skin. As the photos get newer, he gets progressively older. Only his eyes stay the same, for they were ancient to begin with.
He climbs to the top of his tower every night. He stands up there and looks at the sky, waiting or dreaming, or possibly searching for his blue box. What does he see up there with his misty, ancient eyes? What distant suns and sighs and worlds and wonders does he dream of? I look at the sky too, sometimes, and I see only snow-filled clouds and the ever-present spaceships with their blinding lights.
I wish I could see what he sees. I wish I could see the stars.