Shops glowed with Christmas lights as she walked down the street. Large posters everywhere announced special discounts on overpriced goods. People moved past in a hurry clutching bulging packages rustling with crispy newness. Joy is in the air, sang some elves stationed outside a toy store, with Santa nodding in agreement. She eyed them with dispassion. Festive seasons always brought out the cynic in her. Ballyhoo of goodwill on prescribed dates struck her as ridiculous. Humbug, she muttered, siding with Scrooge.
It was then that the world erupted in colors. Fire dragons flew from a lone roof top to burst into flames in the sky. Little phoenixes rose from them, coloring the night glittery red, green and yellow. The clouds crunched under their wings splitting the stillness. A child laughed. Something stirred. As she watched, the glimmer faded into a bokeh of memories. She stood still, remembering.
Christmas Eve. 21 again.
They walked around in the park adjacent to the sea, hand in hand, oblivious to everything else. The cool night air was still and soothing, like his whispers in her ear. Her quiet laughter fell like dew drops into the silence, discerned by him and no one else. They walked on forever, for in love every moment is eternity in itself.
She was the one who noticed the abandoned boat, half hidden by the foliage. It lay against the sand and reeds, just brushing the water, oars interspersed with the waves like fingers refusing to let go. It welcomed them without stirring. Side by side on the wooden thwart, she felt him graze her arm. She looked up at him with the hint of a blush on her cold cheeks. He pushed aside an untamed strand of her hair and held her face in his left hand. Across the shore, the sky became a flurry of hues. The last thing she saw before closing her eyes was a blur of golden sparks, before the feel of his lips simulated the same in her head and the world ceased to exist.
She opened her eyes 42 years later and smiled. Yes, joy was in the air.