Once Like Them

The flicker of candlelight casts long shadows inside the room. You gaze longingly at the animated figures within. Peals of laughter emanate from behind the snow-encrusted glass panes and become lost in the dark silent street where you stand.You pull your fur-lined robes more tightly around you as the cold night breeze sends chills down your spine. You envy the figures inside the house before you. How you wish you could stand among them as they crowd around the fireplace. In your mind you can hear the crackle of the burning logs and smell the roasting chestnuts.

You scowl to yourself, knowing you were once like them. You wonder how it could all have gone so wrong. How did you end up here?

Snowflakes begin to fall lightly from the sky and you take shelter under a large snow-covered elm. The children inside the house notice the falling white flakes outside and press their noses up against the frosted glass in delight.

You retreat into the shadows so as not to be noticed. From your hiding place you study the faces of the children. They are smiling wide grins and their eyes are alight with wonderment as they watch glistening snowflakes fall from the sky. And then, as they are called away from the window by an unseen adult, their faces show disappointment that is short lived, for they soon realise some other delight awaits them. You guess they have noticed the sumptuous feast, which must be awaiting them in the other room. Enticing smells emanate from the house; the smells of warm honey and roasted meat caught by the winter breeze waft under your nose.

Although the figures have now left the room, you can see them reflected in the mirror hanging on the far wall. They are all sitting around a mahogany dining table laden with food. More pleasant aromas waft out from the house and your stomach grumbles in hunger. In the mirror you see a woman enter the dining room with a golden roast turkey, the smells of warm honey and roasted meat you smelled previously are now explained. Those around the table tuck into the delectable feast laid out before them and you imagine the sounds of clinking cutlery and gay chatter accompanying the meal.

You turn away from the happy scene before you, leaving the family to enjoy the warmth of their fireplace and the delicious food filling their plates and stomachs. With your fur-lined robe pulled close to your body you step out onto the empty cobblestone road. Snowflakes fall upon you and rest upon your slicked back hair. You reminisce only two years ago you’d been enjoying a similar scene with you own family. In only two brief years your life had completely changed so you now walk alone in the cold snow on Christmas day.

“Merry Christmas,” you mutter to yourself.

Your lonely figure goes unnoticed as you walk away down the street.

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