Day 12 | Advent Calendar
Christmas Stars by Sue Vincent
I had been pottering round aimlessly when I ‘should’ have be doing dire things to the inner realms of a turkey and creating havoc in the kitchen. That year however, for the first time in my adult life, I was not cooking Christmas dinner and had no preparations to make. A few simple gifts were wrapped and the tree was lit. It felt weird just for me and the dog, even though I knew it was simply a natural progression.
Okay, I may have been feeling a bit sorry for myself. It felt strange not being able to do the things I was used to doing. Then I got to thinking back, counting the years since the last time I hadn’t made dinner. I recalled that Christmas very well. My last before I became a wife. That was a first too… the first time I would not spend Christmas day with my own family and I was quite upset at the prospect.
I had been invited to lunch with my fiancé’s family who lived some miles away across the city. There would be few buses and I needed to leave early in order to get there at all. Everywhere had that stillness and silence of early Christmas morning. Dressed in my best I was shivering in the cold Yorkshire air as I crossed the footbridge over the motorway. An old tramp shuffled slowly towards me from the other end of the span. Everything about him was grubby brown, from the flat cap pulled down over his forehead, to the bushy beard jutting out like a sepia Santa Claus.
“You couldn’t spare the price of a mug of tea, could you?” I shook my head; I only had my bus fare. He shrugged; his voice was cracked, his old leather face lit up with a smile that revealed toothless gums and kindly eyes that sparkled. You couldn’t help smiling back. “Never mind. Merry Christmas, lass!”
“Merry Christmas,” I replied.
“A bit parky.” He shivered and stopped, so I did too. “Why aren’t you in the warm, lass?” I explained and we chatted for a good while as the wind whipped around us. He told me about his own youth, Christmas round the fire with his family, about his marriage and the wife lost long ago. “You’d best be getting along then.” He nodded and held out his hand, taking mine in both of his. “Bless you for stopping, lass. You’re a star.” There were tears in his eyes… or perhaps it was the wind, for somehow mine were damp too as he walked away. I ran after him and gave him the bus fare. Enough for breakfast and a mug of tea. I could walk. When I turned at the far end of the bridge he had gone.
Continue reading here: Christmas Star by Sue Vincent | Day 12 | Advent Calendar 2016