Christmas Eve

By: Ailbhe Carré

I could hear the laughter of children, the murmur of conversations, each one different, all coming together with the many footsteps to create the noise of the street. The Christmas lights sparkled like a galaxy of stars. The smell of pine needles and turkey filled my nostrils as I stood up from where I was sitting. I started to walk. I passed a merry group of people singing Christmas carols. A little girl smiled at me, naturally I smiled back but kept moving. The cold winter air nipped at my skin, turning my breath to steam as small snowflakes gradually began to fall. I passed families carrying bags full of of last minute Christmas presents. Families getting into their cars preparing to return to their heated homes. Couples sitting together in restaurants and cafes looking lovingly into each other’s eyes.

Despite all that I could stop and marvel at, all that I could just take a moment to admire, I keep walking. It was getting cold and late. I passed by more Christmas trees and decorations filling these damp dark streets with light. My feet started to tire from all my walking. ‘Just a little more’ I told myself.

While all those families, couples and children return home, filled with warmth and happiness, I returned to my cardboard box outside a run-down shop. Where the light from the decorations didn’t go. Where all the warmth and happiness is gone.

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