The middle-aged mother meanders merrily,
marveling at carefully arranged window displays,
taking the stretch of pavement with her
life-long bags full of wrapping paper, socks, wine
and the latest toys advertised on Saturday morning television;
there's even a little something for herself
clutched in her right hand, the handles of that particular bag
now ingraining red lines into her frost kissed skin.
Meanwhile morose men moodily make an attempt
to move past the moderate pace of the myopic mother,
making a play to dart in the road where
there's a window of opportunity to squeeze past,
however the 4x4 vehicle puts a stop to that, the driver
making an awful attempt at parallel parking into a space
which, in honesty, is large enough to fit a whole squadron of sleighs;
the man sighs, glancing at his watch, resigned to the fact his train has gone.
The children in the back of the oversized car squabble
over the song choice on their shared music device,
making no attempt to put it away as their father had asked
although in honesty the father would much rather put on a song himself
which reminds him of when Christmas used to mean something to him;
something that might tear away the tedium of sitting
on a cheap plastic faux-leather sofa in the changing rooms
of a budget fashion chain as he gives as small nod of acknowledgement
to the men who share his plight, tapping their feet as wives desperately search
for the garments that might let them reclaim their youth.
Meanwhile, the beggar attempts to benefit from
the well documented "Christmas Spirit", shaking his twenty pence pieces
in his coffee cup, hoping that the charitable might fund
his next meal as they plan their extended family's feast,
but he doesn't count on their short, impatient temperaments
wanting to endure this annual task as efficiently as possible,
so they pointedly avert his pleading gaze,
looking down at their phones or up to the billboards;
anywhere but into his eyes.
All of the citizens floating along in their own snowflaked bubbles.