Before Christmas

It's the 22nd of December, the night has fallen on the city that never sleeps. It's been snowing for so long, the streets are almost white, the shop windows all have green Christmas Trees, decorated with red and golden ribbons, balls, and lights. Whenever you pass a shop you'd hear the sounds of Christmas Carols coming from inside. Yellow cabs are everywhere dropping off empty handed last minute shoppers, and hailed at the exact same moment by shopping bags and a person drowning between them. A gift for the kids, one for the husband, another for the parents, yet another for the grandparents. Shopping, shopping, shopping. The discount increases everyday, the offers are very special, shoppers can't ask for more. Other cabs hold businessmen in dark suits holding briefcases, running between last minute meetings before the holidays. Tourists walking slowly hand in hand enjoying the view, they look like they can't ask for more. A homeless person sits on the sidewalk with his guitar, singing Christmas Carols, ones that sound totally different from the Carols played in the shops. In front of him sits a coffee-free Starbucks cup with coins and bills of all sizes put safely in it. His crowd increases, so do his coins. Window shoppers spend hours looking at the windows, as if dreaming of themselves buying this item or that, ones that, in spite of all the discounts, are still too expensive for them. Piano restaurants fully booked by people who started to celebrate earlier than the rest. People in fancy clothes get in, others come out all laughing and enjoying the best time of the year. Salespeople change their shifts, they put on their coats and run outside to the nearest station. The streets are packed, one of them stumbles and almost falls, another homeless person is here, but this one is asleep. She looks to the sky feeling grateful to have a roof over her head to save her from all the snow. She hands him a five-dollar bill and leaves. One street, different faces, one occasion, very different ways to celebrate it. Places change, and Christmas remains the season of   celebrations.

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