The weather was cold and breezy. I pushed opened the stubborn door jammed with ice crystals. The air swished through the three layers of drapes and left a trail of goose bumps on my skin. There was festivity in the air. The rustle of leaves chimed with the fading sounds of giggles and carol which reached my ears.
My mind was preoccupied with thoughts. The taste of the passing year lingered on my being. It had been a year of parting, a year I wished I had never witnessed, a year of the loss of a beloved. If it had not been for that unfortunate day I would be smoking my pipe reading the Christmas offers to her, breathing in the heavenly smell of home baked cake and my ears would have been tuning to the hum of twelve days of Christmas that never left her lips even long after festival. My eyes feel misty, my heart warms and I hum for her.
I cross the houses which are beautifully decorated, the colourful lights glistening on the snow. She would clap her hands with glee when she saw something so beautiful. Reminds me of those long Christmas strolls- we were like children at sixty, joining people in the songs, looking at snowmans and sitting at the park bench with our hands interlaced like a young boy and girl, their hearts still excited about the first love.
I can’t walk anymore. The memories tire me. My feet refuse to move. Tears threaten to roll down my cheeks when I look at the bench where we used to sit. How did I reach here? My feet just moved, and there was no other place I wanted to be. No other place where I could imagine her to be. I sit on the bench alone and look up at the sky. The stars shine beautifully. It feels like a thousand angels are assuring me, whispering to me that my love is being taken care of. I see her smiling face. I blow a kiss into the sky. I pull out the silken pink print scarf, she always wrapped around her neck- she was such a charm. I place it on the bench, with a small card attached to it.
I lower my head and walk back slowly, the burden of parting weaning my strength. “Hey!” someone calls out. It cannot be for me. I keep walking, dragging my feet slowly. “Hey! Wait up!” I turn around- the intrusion of a private moment annoys me. “What!” I scream back only to regret it after I see a little girl. She looks like a tiny woolen ball in all those winter clothes. Her face red with the winter rash, she waits till my face softens and the annoyance mellows down, “I am giving Christmas hugs.” The big smile on her face is infectious. I wrap my arms around the little child standing with her hands stretched. I hug her as tears wet my eyes, “Merry Christmas Dear” I wish her with all my heart. She plants an affectionate kiss on my cheeks and runs away for her next hug.
I stand there in awe, the warmth still comforting my body. The little girl's love still blushing my cheek. My soul feels liberated. I look up towards the sky and express my thanks for the gift- A Christmas Hug.
P.S: Merry Christmas!! :)