City life is fast and furious, not a soul knows your name once you’re out of context. Heads down watching feet, wrapped up on a dark street. Christmas is only Christmas until midnight; then it loses its glow. Sales hit the high street stores and only a few twinkling lights remain, as the remnants of the day disappear.
“This year will be different” I said, pulling the collar up on my red Christmas coat, I stand tall, I feel like a super hero wearing this. I march down the main street, buildings in shadow, frost in the air, me on my toes. I trail plumes of white from both nose and nostrils; a determined stride soon warms the soul. *Thinking* this year I will make it different. I take time to notice the faces and smile at each figure I pass; regardless of no forthcoming response. “Nice evening, seasons greetings” I call with a skip in my step.
Our eyes meet so I nod, a twitch of his lips makes me feel great. Ten steps more and I see her, she looks about eighteen, tying her belt, checking her phone, brushing away hair with her hand as she walks, then bam! “I am sorry” she said scrambling to her feet, she pulled me up while rubbing my cashmere coat with her cold thin hand. “No problem, no bones broken. Are you okay?” Late for something are you?” I said concerned. Her bottom lip trembled as she mumbled a sorry. “Look I am fine, let me buy you a drink, there’s a wonderful teahouse around the corner, we will both feel better for a hot cup of tea.” She stooped, grasping her bag from the pavement; wide eyed, she swallows and nods.
The tea was hot and the fondant cakes comforting. She wipes her mouth with a serviette and quietly tells me her story. I nod and smile, shake my head in… I believe all the right places. Her story was one most of us knew and had experienced, girl meets boy and it doesn’t quite work out the way they hoped. We shared the bill and clasped hands for a second as she continued on her way, and I on mine.
On return to my flat, in this loneliest of cities, my keys rattle and echo through the hall. On the surface, all was just as I left it … but everything had changed. I felt good, invigorated from the walk, and worthwhile. My face is still wearing its smile and my red coat didn’t lose its glow the day after Christmas; I was still Wearing a Smile.
Giving others a greeting, acknowledging their presence, throwing out a smile or simply listening, takes but a fraction of our time but can change so much. Let me know if you agree in the comments … I love to hear your views.