John and Maria
It was the most rainy day of the month of December. In a town in Portugal, there was
nobody on the streets. All shops were closed. There were no sounds to be heard, except the
wind blowing everything at its passage. Looking from outside, fear and sadness seemed to
rule. The city looked to be abandoned. But it wasn’t like that. The town was actually alive.
Inside the buildings it was completely different. Happiness seemed to rule people’s heart.
Love seemed to be spread all over the place. Everyone was at their sweet and comfortable
home, resting in some simple couches and talking with their family. Everyone except one
family: John’s one.
In front of his new house, a very old one, John was expecting courage to open its door.
While his parents were shouting words, which he barely knew their meaning, to each other, he
was trying to decide between waiting for them and witness their fighting or enter into the
house and face bats which would want to eat him. The second choice seemed to be much
The fear went away as fast as it appeared. Seconds later, he was exploring the house
and looking for something creepy and weird. But it seemed like the searching wasn’t what he
had expected: the house had nothing unusual; it was just a common place where nothing
Once in his new bedroom, John couldn’t sleep. Despite being accustomed with the
nightmares, that night they were coming even stronger. Calmly, John got up from his bed and
sat on a close chair, looking around him. Everything was so quiet. The only sound he could
hear was the wind outside. But there was something strange. Near to his bed the ground
creaked in a different way from the rest of the house. Surprised, John tried to find something
unusual there. It seemed to have something under the ground in that place. With the only
strength he had, John took away a piece of wood from the ground. As he suspected, there was
a little trunk scarcely closed. Inside it was an old book.
After putting the piece of wood where it was, John went back to bed. With the book in
his arms, he analyzed it. It had dust on it, a lot of dust. On the cover was an image of a
beautiful dark-haired girl sat on a park bench reading a book. Her picture carefully designed
inspired innocence and purity. Just by looking at her, John was fascinated. He had never seen
such a lovely girl.
Full of curiosity, he spent the night reading the book which was like a diary. Its author
was the young girl who appeared on the cover, called Maria. Fortunately, the girl wrote it in
English. Otherwise he wouldn’t understand a thing of what was written. She lived with her
parents in the house where John was. In spite of being very poor, they had made a big effort
to pay for her education. Her father worked at a brickyard and, when Maria wasn’t at school,
she helped her mother with the housework. They could have a lot of difficulties. They could
not have enough money to buy what they wanted but they were happy.
John was amazed with Maria’s writing. During a few days he read the whole book,
interested in know more about that curious girl. She seemed to be so simple, so honest, so
perfect. She was totally different from the girls of his age he met in England when he lived
there, who only cared about clothes and makeup. Maria found happiness in doing the simplest
things since be sitting on the grass reading a book to help her mother cooking.
Soon he was on the last page of her diary, which was what interested him, the most. “I
am trapped. I have nowhere to go. I am here in my bedroom. I am sitting on my chair. I am
writing in this book. Around me there’s only one thing: FIRE. The whole house is burning.
My parents aren’t here. Nobody is here. I think this is the end. But it’s alright. I don’t fear the
death anymore. I just want my parents to be”. It was just that. It was the end of the diary.
After reading the book, John was always thinking about it. He didn’t go out. He was
only in his bedroom, reading again and again the diary. He just went downstairs to eat
something. He didn’t care anymore if his parents were fighting or not. He was only thinking
about Maria and her unfair death. Why do good people have to die?
After a few days, he decided something: he would continue the diary. He picked up a
pencil and started writing. First, his name. In second place, his story. John seemed to be
enchanted while he wrote. He was so concentrated in what he was doing, that everything else
seemed to disappear.
Five long days passed while he was writing.
John’s parents finally ended the fighting. They finally opened their eyes and wanted to
be some time with their son. They were worried about him. During five days they hadn’t seen
him. After calling him to go downstairs and having no answer, they went to his bedroom.
There was nobody on it. On the floor there were ashes. It seemed like there was a fire
some minutes ago. And there was a book on the desk. It was opened on the last page in which
they could see their son’s writing. And at the end was a picture of two kids. One of them was
a beautiful dark-haired girl and the other… was John. They were smiling at each other. Both
seemed to be happy. And, below the picture, was written a simple phrase: “John and Maria –
because good people don’t always have to die.”