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Light and Dark of Christmas

Light and Dark of Christmas

Molly Craddock


The night was eerily dark; the sky a consuming swarm of black. The only light came from the tall, faded streetlights, casting sinister shadows onto the graffitied buildings and shops. On the corner of this otherwise isolated street squatted a huddled man. His greasy hair was almost shoulder length and partly covered by a filthy woollen hat. The rest of his clothes were in the same state; ragged and threadbare. His face lined and mottled with age was as dark and grimy as his attire that you could walk past him thinking he was nothing more than just a heap of discarded clothes. The only thing that shattered this illusion were his eyes bright blue, shining and virtually luminous in the darkness.

It was not a strange sight to see this man sat on the street. He perched there every night without fail begging for money. However this time was different: it was Christmas Eve the so-called season of good will. Yet here whilst other people lay cuddled up round Christmas trees and warm crackling fires, this man squatted outside in ripped, thin clothes as the wind whipped him mercilessly. Shivering he rubbed his cracked palms together trying desperately for even the smallest bit of heat.

Usually this time of year was the best for begging; the public drunk with this sense of goodwill would carelessly toss loose change his direction trying to forget that not everyone would be celebrating Christmas in comfort. But Christmas Eve so far had not created much profit. Most people were far too busy wrapping presents and preparing for Christmas to be wandering the streets. The few people that crossed paths with him had hurried home quickly to see loved ones.

Breathing into his hands he smiled bitterly. Reminiscing of the Christmases he used to share with his family. Twinkling fairy lights, smiles, laughter and brightly wrapped presents. The happy memories he had before he ended up alone.

Reaching into his pocket he brought out one of the few biscuits he had left and chewed it thoughtfully. He savoured every last crumb yet his mind couldn’t help thinking of the delicious Christmas dinners his mum used to make; the juicy turkey and buttery potatoes. He brushed the crumbs from his clothes and settled down for the night.

The man woke early in the morning. The air was crisp and frosty. His breath billowed out like steam. Standing he straightened out his crumpled clothes and began walking down the street. Glancing in icy windows he smiled sadly looking at the glee on children’s faces as they opened their presents. He wandered the streets aimlessly trying to find something to occupy him this Christmas.



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