Second Runner Up.
Worn by Nóra de Wijs
It was an especially cold day in January. The oldest in town said it was the coldest they have ever witnessed since the „big wave“ of 2057. The wave that took away so much. That took away streets and houses, that took away culture and science and that took away the winter. The heatwaves since then made coats obsolete and scarves were only to shield their owners from the burning London sun.
The man with the coat and a scarf arrived early in the morning. His scarf was wrapped around his whole upper body. He was carrying something. He walked past the post office, crossed the street in front of Mr. Gilberts groceries – since the „big wave“ only a collection of almost empty shelves – and headed with strong but slow steps to Miss Milly ́s Bed and Breakfast.
„Surely from the South“ – commented the clerk from the post office pulling his eyebrows together, his eyes full of dark suspicion. „A lonely wolf from the nearby refugee camp“ – said Rosemary Blake who remembered to see that the man was carrying some kind of strange animal in his scarf. „We should keep away the children“ – added Mr. Weels, the local headmaster, to the discussion.
And when Jessy, the son of Dr. Dorian, the local GP, told the neighbors that he saw a child looking out of the strange mans scarf, the neighborhood was boiling like a big bowl of Sunday porridge. „As I said, from the refugee camp“, started Rosemary Blake with a mixture of pride and disgust in her voice. „That poor child“, said Grandolin Kowalski, the wife of the bakers, the shock written in her eyes. „He must be crazy“, ended headmaster Weels the discussion again, ‚Nobody in his right mind would allow a child to be that close to the body‘, he thought to himself trying to hide his worry.
`A child in a scarf wrapped to the body. It must be unable to walk and hardly able to breath`, he thought on his way home. `Their bodies must burn from the heat! Their sweat surely exchanging under that piece of cloth!` The conclusion was clear: `The child must be sick himself, what else could be the reason for this maltreatment? The important thing is, that no child gets in contact with
them. They will surely leave soon anyway.
After this, it is no surprise, that there was no bigger scandal on the streets of this lovely little London neighborhood than the news from the day, when little Jessy asked his father to wrap him in a scarf and carry him on his back. And no wonder, that Dr. Dorian, who was a man of science and not the man of the word of mouth, volunteered to see the stranger with the child on his back. To teach him how to treat a child. To warn him how dangerous his behavior is. And to help him to find the right way in child care.
There are many stories about the day when Dr. Dorian met the stranger. Some say it was some voodoo magic directly from the former beaches of the South that made him go crazy himself. Some say it was the devil himself who whispered into the brave doctors ears. But after that day, the young doctor told all his patients not to be afraid to hold their children close to their body. He told them the children wont be disabled and unable to walk if they are carried and that keeping the children close will not burn their skins even if it is hot.
Most of the neighbors were scared from the young doctors words. Many left him and his practice. But more and more parents listened. And on a hot summer day, just after the doctors second child was born, they all saw him wrapping a long old scarf around himself holding his new born baby. And the baby was breathing, and the baby was sleeping and the doctor was smiling. And that winter, the cold came back to London again.