She was smiling. It was snowing and she loved how it dressed the city at Christmas time. London already looked like a giant Christmas tree, the buildings all covered in ball balls and bows. Twinkle lights and tinsel. The coming of the snow just added that last little touch. She stood in the street with her face pointing to the sky, closed her eyes and imagined she could smell oranges and hot stuffing, while humming Silent Night to herself.
When she was a child she loved singing Christmas carols. Her favourite memory from her childhood was when she was asked to play Mary in the Fairfield primary nativity. The boy playing Joseph, Fred Stanton hit her in the face, because he wanted to ride the donkey to Bethlehem. She loves this memory because when she remembers, it makes her smile. Fred Stanton is now a banker and bold, he passed her the other day near Bank station. He looked like he had poo in his pants, the way he was walking.
She fairly rarely went into the city, because of the people. She liked being in the West End or in the North of London, she tried not to go west or east, occasionally she would venture to Brixton but only on the odd Sunday. She loved visiting Brixton, so kept it as a treat. When you step out of the station the air is filled with the smell of popcorn, and there is always guaranteed to be at least one person singing. She likes to pretend she’s home.
There isn’t always time to play when you’re a grown up, but with the snow comes a playfulness that even some adults can’t control. She moved on to the grass as the afternoon grew dark. Laid down and made a snow angel. A group near by had a little watch of what she was doing, but mostly people just walked on by with their heads down. With sights only on the warmth of a tube, bus or building near by, not even noticing she was there. They even missed the first evening star show its winter face, she saw it, of course.
The snow tickled her cheeks and stuck to her hair. She was picturing couples snuggled on sofas and friends drinking in pubs, snowmen and hot chocolate. She no longer got jealous of other people and the world they each individually lived in. She had a lovely life. There were no pictures to prove it, or cards telling her so, no Facebook profile, just some memories that made her smile. The snow was easing off and the sky was now dark. There were less and less people on the street, as the working day was finally over.
She stood and walked towards the bridge, away from the park and the streets. Away from people and the world they were building. She stood in the lamp light and considered which way to turn. Left or right, towards or away, Christmas was in a week, and she was her own ghost of Christmas’s past. Memories where her gift, they made her smile, she decided to go left. She headed towards Camden and the lock; she ran her hands over the bridge railings and then started to run, she was laughing. A woman near by stopped to watch her playing and running in the street, wondering, what was she smiling about.