It’s interesting; the main cause for humanities obsession with a white Christmas boils down to Charles Dickens. In the town where he grew up, he experienced a white Christmas every year from his first Christmas to his eighth. This meant that every time he wrote about Christmas, it was always snowing. And thus, mankind became stuck with this cliché forever. I haven’t fallen for this cultural trap. Every year of my life, Christmas has been wet as a hungry dogs drooling mouth; every year up until this one.
I was spending my 20th Christmas in a dark bar in Manchester. The wood of the tables smelt of cigarette smoke that they had soaked up over the years. The floor was close to jet black. By the looks of it, it had never seen so much as a wipe from a spit-dabbed sleeve. The guy behind the counter slammed a pint of bitter cider on to the bar-top; making the cool liquid splash over the rim and on to my ice-numbed fingers, warming them ever so slightly. We gave each other a dark stare before he turned away. Most people would be offended. I, however, wasn’t. Apparently, I’m always the minority.
I haven’t had a “home” since my early teens. I can’t remember how old I was exactly when I moved out. Sometime after my first kiss; some time before my first good kiss; that old. Most people who leave their families to live on the streets do so because of reasons too complicated to sum up in one word. I am not one of those people: Freedom. When I was living with my relatives, every moment of my life was monitored. My suspicious elders were always standing behind me. They always had to know what I was “up to”. They constantly stole my hairbrush to test me for drugs. I had to wear a tracking tag at all times so I couldn’t do something stupid like go to New York. They installed a parental control programme on my laptop to pry into every aspect of my online activity. Once or twice I was tempted to go on a satanic website just to freak them out as I was curious of their reaction. They didn’t have any reason to mistrust me. I was always obedient to them. It was just their paranoia and teenager propaganda that made me do what I did.
One late snowy December night (not Christmas), after yet again finding them rummaging in my room for a crack pipe, I lost it. A rubber band that had been stretching all my life finally snapped. My mind was detached from my body. I could not move. I could not speak. My body began to move by its on accord. It walked out of my trashed room, down the stairs and out the door without so much as stopping to put on shoes. I walked and walked through cold biting air and stinging snow wearing nothing but jeans and an old t-shirt promoting a band I had never heard of. Eventually I found my self in the middle of a wet field; several miles away from the house and lost. I was startled back into reality when I accidently kicked something soft. I looked down to see a body: dead, face mangled by a gun shot from a gun the poor soul was still holding. He was wearing similar clothes to me except with shoes. That was what made me think of it. It was a long shot and a tad disrespect full but still…
The next day, they found the body in the marsh. Bullet wound to the face, grey “Ramones” t-shirt, blue jeans, no socks or shoes. Left hand held a gun. The right hand held a note:
To my parents. I hope you found what you were looking for when you searched my room. I know you didn’t.
I still wear the shoes that I prized off that corpse. I had to buy new clothes from the money I got from begging as I but shoes are too expensive to just replace. They never came looking for me so I’ve no idea what happened to my parents. Frankly, I wouldn’t care if they house burned down that same night. It would have been a long time coming.
Why am I telling you this? Well, that night, as I sat in that Smokey pub, I happened to glance out of the window to see it snowing. I couldn’t believe it. Actual proper snow! I rushed outside as fast as I could. I may have knocked over my drink in the process but I didn’t care. I just stood there in the snow. I felt the wet cold of snow upon my skin for the first time in years. And I can honestly say that I have never felt so blissfully warm.