My December isn’t like yours. It doesn’t come with a flurry of snowflakes drifting down to rest upon the skin before sinking deep within. It doesn’t come with winter fairs and thick jumpers with a hand cupped around a hot drink. It doesn’t come with the very spirit of Christmas hanging in the air as if it was a thick bunch of mistletoe itself. Nor does it come as it does on the other side of the world, with sunlight piercing the pupils as it pulsates off the ocean surface. No, my December is not made of dreams as yours is. In this dreary village my December feels just like every month that already trudged past before it.
For the dreams December fails to provide does it make up for in temperature. We are chilled to the very bones as we walk to school, yet there is no dusting of freshly-sprinkled icing sugar to show for it. If ever we do see the magnificence of snow greet us at last, the rain soon follows behind, dulling its beauty into greying slush that just might freeze over into a deadly slick. But my December was kinder to me than it was to him.
Him, that young boy who dared to venture out on his bicycle to school, a great metal beast far too large for his own shrunken stature. Him, bundled up in a coat also far too big for his fragile frame, woolly hat pulled firmly over delicate ears. Him, nose red and streaming from where the very ice of the air bit and tore at the pale flesh there. Him, who hit the deadly slick of sneering slush at the wrong time, the wrong angle, and lost the wheels from beneath him. Him, whose bike bucked him to the ground and skidded off of the curb entirely and into oncoming traffic.
That is, had it been coming.
He was lucky. Lucky that with my December comes the end of cars shuttling children to and from school. Lucky that parents wisened with age knew better than to rely on their four wheels, but unlucky his parents hadn’t told him the same for his own two. Lucky that he had escaped with his life.
And for that I, myself, was lucky. I had escaped immeasurable trauma. I had remained unchanged, my life on the very same path it had always been. I came to realise this luck, though not nearly as great as his own, was invariably there. For had the road been as overrun as ever on my usual morning trek, it is likely that not only one life would have been lost that day.
Humiliated, he sprung to his feet in the hopes he was unseen, still trembling. Catching sight of me, stood across the road, he bolted away. I hadn’t even the chance to call out to him. See if he was alright. He had scuttled onwards, wheels sputtering through the snow as his trembling hands guided it ahead of him, an arms length from his body, the very relationship between them now newly estranged. It was as if I could see the fear brewing behind his tear-ridden eyes at the prospect of what his December could have come to be.
He was off.
Now but a year has passed and still I wonder if he dares to pedal desperately to school as he had that fateful morning, afraid that the happenings of the year previous would come to be his fate once more. Still I wonder if his parents, once told of this horror, ever let him ride that bike afterwards — that is, if he ever had the courage to venture out alone upon it’s back again. And still I wonder whether this December will prove mightily more virtuous than the one that had almost been his last.
So, I suppose, his December isn’t like yours either.