When you and I spend Christmas in London, it will be perfect. The realest holiday experience. Not the shiny, tinseltastic, calendar cut-out kind of Christmas. It will mean something.
Wet backstreets quiet, a few flakes threatening to make it intact to the pavement. Windowglow and warm light beating back the chill, but not quite. Through the windows, so many people packed into front rooms around card tables and on couches, flashing tree lights competing with the glow of flatscreens.
In the outside silence, the street feels familiar, but isn’t. Ice fog clings to the outline of houses, breathes along ice-slicked trees. But your hand is warm in mine. And for a moment we allow the thought maybe today everyone can all just get along and begin to be better people to flash and hold for a moment, suspended, then fade. That childish hope returning. Like waiting for white-bearded men who deliver presents.
But we shake free of the glitter, and suck in deep lungfuls of damp, chilled air. And hear the raucous chatter of the pub and want to go inside but don’t. Instead, we head toward the Thames. Keeping our mouths open so we can taste it and smell it at the same time. Wide, lonely, unfrozen river.
There is a melancholy to it: but it feels like home. Like hope.