19 Dec 2012

6 Days to Christmas

Christmas is inching closer. But he didn't really care about it that much.

He did like the festivities going on: the music, the gift exchanges, the food, he didn't mind all of that. However there was one thing that bugged him.

He was a Christmas baby.

Everyone was always fussing over what to get for who, which places they should go to, what to where, which carols to pick for the door-to-door carolling, but not everybody knew about his birthday. Even if they did know, their own Christmas plans often took priority. And he would be left alone to commemorate another year of his existence in this world.

Once again he lamented this fact as he sat on a wooden bench, admiring the scenery that the park had to offer. It was one of the few places in this district to be shielded from the noisy bustle of the crowd in the Christmas season. As usual he wasn't planning on what presents to get for his friends, but what cake he should buy for himself this year.

His solitary space would be momentarily disturbed by another man who took a rest on the same bench. Interestingly this uninvited guest was young, but had white hair on his head...

"It sure is nice and peaceful here, right?" the white-haired one spoke, to which he only received a brief nod as a response.

Trying to make conversation, he proceeded: "My name's Dominic, if you're wondering. I haven't been here that long, so there are still many places and things that are fresh to me. Do you live around here?"

Looks like he isn't going off any time soon. Might as well...

"Yeah, I've been around the area for a few years. This is one of my favourite spots near town. Gets me away from the noise."

Dominic sighed. "I like when people regularly take the time to just relax and get away from it all for a while. Many whom I know tend to be so deep in their work, they forget to take a step back and recharge. I certainly the importance of breaks, because my work is so intense around this time..."

"Oh, you're a mall Santa or something?"

"Kind of. But that's not why my hair's white if you're wondering... it's actually naturally white."

"Huh."

"Anyway, have you been doing any Christmas shopping lately?"

"Well... I don't really care for Christmas that much..."

Clearly this piqued Dominic's interest.

"Why not? You just not into the groove of things?"

"It's not that... I do like Christmas, with the dazzling decorations, the presents, the songs and all that."

"So what's wrong?"

"Well... I was born on Christmas Day. My parents thought it funny to call me Chris because of that. Now that I think of it, I wish they didn't do that, because it meant that the occasion has taken control over who I am. I just want to be me, and not always compared to The Man himself! And maybe at first my family always celebrated my birthday in conjunction with Christmas, but as I became an adult the latter just became as more important in everybody's lives. I know it sounds really selfish of me, but it feels like nobody acknowledges the fact that I survived another gruelling year anymore..."

Dominic twisted his mouth a little.

"You know it's natural for people to ignore somebody's birthday for what is usually hyped up to be one of the most joyous celebrations of the year. It's the time when people can get rewarded and be merry. But you're right, acknowledging that you're a year older shouldn't be completely disregarded as an unimportant event either!"

"Yeah, but so what? Agreeing with me doesn't change the fact that I'll be alone on my birthday... again."

"Well... maybe I can help you out in that area."

Chris was a bit puzzled. "What do you mean by helping me out? Are you going to wrangle all my friends into my house?"

Dominic laughed. "No, of course not! I mean I could give you the birthday party that you want!"

"H-huh? Are you joking???"

"Well it was just meant to be a Christmas night party at my place, but I can turn it into a double event celebrating your birthday as well! I can prepare the cake if you want to."

"That... that's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me! Are you sure you want to do all of that for me? I don't want to intrude on your personal matters like your family gathering..."

"Don't worry! I've already settled those quite some time ago. Like I said, I can accommodate an extra birthday boy into the party mix without too much of a hitch. Besides, it's usually more interesting to have fresh unfamiliar faces at a party, because the conversations can be more diverse!"

"Well... thank you so much! It's feels like an eternity since I had a birthday celebration! But it doesn't really feel right..."

"There's nothing to feel guilty about. I'm the one who's doing the work here. Here's my address..."

Dominic quickly printed some words and numbers onto a small piece of paper, and passed it to Chris.

"I'll try to come up with some surprises for you, Chris!"

Chris was too speechless, so he just stupidly grinned back.

"It was a pleasure chatting with you Chris. See you that night!"

With his parting words, Dominic promptly stood up and strolled down the granite path.

Chris resumed his solitary relaxation on the bench. Only this time he wasn't lamenting on the unfortunate coincidence of his birthday with the holiday.

Rather, he was pretty excited that he could finally be a birthday boy again.