She twisted her hair methodically, as she made her way down the city sidewalk, which was dressed in holiday style, but the air around her, didn’t feel like Christmas. Her frail frame was struggling to carry the many layers of second-hand clothes she had on. She had a weathered face and her lifeless eyes testified of what tormented her heart, worry. Worry about her next meal; worry if she would be able to endure another freezing night. As she repositioned her frayed scarf, she noticed an American flag flapping, she knew that wind meant a tough night ahead.
She wasn’t always met with a smile, when others passed her by, but with a snicker. She would usually ignore their heartless taunts and walk on as if she didn’t care, but she did care. She cared when she would see their arms full of packages all tied up with bows, she knew they would be able to go home and be with their loved ones this Christmas.
She sees a grand building, the Sympathy Hall; she had been there many times before. She sees that a long line has already formed of merry folk, all dressed up in Christmas clothes. They’d soon hear the angelic strings, they’d soon see the crystal chandeliers, they’d soon take in the glorious score.
She feels her foe, the wind, beating upon her weary neck; it sends bitter chills up and down her spine. She pulls up her woolen hood, and she suddenly feels faint. She sees an empty, dark doorway, she steps inside to rest for a spell before going on.
She sees Claire, Lizzie and Edward, they’re all sitting with her now; they’re all sitting around the holiday tree that is decorated with gingerbread and berries. She breathes in the scent of the pine, it cheers her. She sees a mountain of gifts spilling out from underneath the tree, out into the room. She knows these shimmering wrappings will soon be turn into a crumpled heap.
She is relieved to feel no hunger; her belly seems to be reminiscing of turkey, stuffing, yams and pumpkin pie.
She feels a tug on her leg; it’s Lizzie, she wants to sit on her lap. She pulls her granddaughter up, being careful not to crush her picture perfect red dress. She rubs her soft, golden locks and can feel that Lizzie’s excited about opening her gifts.
She gazes out the windowpane, framed in snow, and she sees white flakes falling. She hears the sound of the crackling fire inside and feels safe and warm.
She is presented a gift; she knows what it is, Claire always gives her a new winter’s robe.
She starts to untie the bow, but her trembling hands won’t let her. The warmth has now turned into cold. Her loved ones are now gone and,…
She hears a voice, “Nell, wake up!”
She looks into the eyes of her angel. “Come Nell, let me drive you to the mission. It’s much too cold for you to stay out here tonight.”
She agrees to go with the officer. He escorts her to his heated car, as he had done many nights before.
She looks out the window, and into the night and thinks, it was so good to be home for Christmas tonight.
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