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A Rather Cliche Christmas Story

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New York was the personification of an intense migraine that Christmas afternoon. The regular hustle and bustle of people was implemented by the excitement and stress of Christmas, making Charlotte internally flinch when she stepped out onto the sidewalk. She walked aimlessly yet quickly, as strolling is not permitted on New York sidewalks. She was a tall brunette, normally with a pleasant countenance, although today her face was drawn and when one looked closely enough they could see the sadness around her eyes.

Why should such a pretty and young girl walk around on Christmas looking so? This is the question you have asked yourself, as well as the few people who took notice of her as they hurried on. The answer is nothing unique; merely that she is alone on Christmas, lacking the funds to travel home. Charlotte had recently moved to New York from her home in Boston, and although the cold and the crowds reminded her of home, New York has an undeniably different vibe than Boston and she had not yet lived there long enough to think of it as home. Although she had a few friends from work, she knew no one well enough to spend Christmas with them. So out of habit Charlotte’s feet took her to Central Park, her favorite spot in New York, where she walked in the bitter cold, somewhat cheered by the smooth untouched snow laying on the grass from the night before.

Something about the yet untouched snow intrigued her. It was so perfect, directly fallen from heaven without man’s distortion of it into footprints or snowmen. Despite her admiration for the downy blanket before her, she was tired of walking on the cleared path, and so she walked through the snow. Without any specific reason, she suddenly stopped and lying down, made a lovely snow angel. A few people on the path stared at her with disapproval, while some laughed amiably with her from a distance. But mostly people kept walking without sparing her a glance, as they do in New York. Getting up Charlotte stood surveying her angel, trying to remember the last time she had make one, but failing to recall the day from her childhood. Looking down at her angel she saw something dark green in the snow. Leaning over, she pulled it free from the dense watery snow. Her heart increased speed as she realized she was holding a roll of $1000. Charlotte had never even seen $1000 bill before in her life and now she was holding 2…3…4…5! Five thousand dollars. Her hands shook as she looked around her for the invisible person who lost their money.


“It must have been sometime yesterday to be covered in so much snow” Charlotte thought reasonably. Quickly racking her brain for what she had been taught the moral thing to do was, she briefly considered turning it into the police. But deep down she didn’t want to, she wanted to keep the money. It would help so much to get ahead on the rent, something she stressed over constantly. Slowly she stuffed the wet bills into her pocket and returned to the path, this time headed out of central park. The money seemed to weigh a lot in her pocket as she walked home deep in thought.

“Maybe this is what God wanted. Maybe this is His Christmas present to me, this money. I mean, I did find it while making an angel” She decided. But the money weighed more and more and soon after she left Central Park she realized she was walking by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The magnificent cathedral was lit up for Christmas and soft chanting was heard when a man opened the door as she left. It was Christmas, so Charlotte stepped into the church.
Once inside she realized she had forgotten how peaceful a church could be, especially on Christmas. Mass had ended 20 minutes before, but the more religious stragglers were still intact, praying their rosary’s or admiring the detailed nativity set up front near the alter. Awkwardly, Charlotte genuflected as she had been taught to do a long time before, and kneeled in a pew. Even more awkwardly she began praying, something she hadn’t done for even a longer time.

“God,” she began uncomfortable in her head “I know I have not been the best of Catholics, but I would really appreciate some guidance as to what to do with this money.” She sat silently, waiting for something; she wasn’t exactly sure what though.

Charlotte had been an art major in college, and greatly appreciated art, and beauty, so she sat silently enjoying the architecture and art in the church. Finally her eyes lingered on the nativity set at the front of the church. She got out of her pew and walked up to examine it while a father and his young son did the same.

“Baby Jesus!” the child, about three years Charlotte guessed, exclaimed excitedly.

“yes!” the father whispered smiling.
Touched by this scene and the lovely nativity set Charlotte turned to leave the church. Still deeply troubled as to what to do with the money she slowly walked the length of the church to the back to leave the doors she came in.

“I’m keeping it” she resolutely thought. “I deserve it, and I could certainly use it”
Happy that she finally made the decision she had been leaning towards the whole time, Charlotte walked more quickly to the back doors. Opening her purse to get her gloves, her elbow bumped hardly against a wooden box that came to her waist marked with a plate saying “For the Poor”. Charlotte stared at the box, her heart beating faster than it had beaten all day, and her hands shaking more than they had all day and then she slowly drew the money from her pocket. In one swift movement she dropped in the poor box. Turning to the front of the church she crossed herself, and then left the church to brave the sidewalk back to her apartment.





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Jacquelyn said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 7:39 pm
Very touching.
 
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