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The derelict’s loose fitting clothes accentuated his scrawny frame and were as stained and patchwork as his scraggly beard. The brisk wind swept him like refuse down the sidewalks of Paris, with his empty bag behind him as he shopped for Christmas.
He tripped under the lights fantastic hung like neon nooses on the trees lining the Champs Élysées. Though their dim illumination offered no warmth in the cold shadow of winter, he nonetheless left the area with his step a little lighter and his outfit a little brighter.
He could barely afford to pay attention to the automatons mindlessly making money in the shop windows, but when he deserted the displays, his beard appeared more lavish and he himself felt richer.
He chased the aroma of the Christmas cakes escaping from the bakeries and though his belly yelped, he could not reach the treats behind the glass. Yet when he finally passed he was sated with the Christmas spirit and his bag seemed full as well.
He had come to Paris to shop for Christmas and Christmas he had found. He took his color in the shine of lovers’ eyes as they walked through the elysian night. He collected strength in the sparkle of a child’s smile as she watched the Christmas windows. He stuffed his suit and bag with the generosity of those who gave to those with less.
When Nicholas flew out of the city, his suit was as rosy as his cheeks, his stout belly as full as his beard and his bag overflowed with the Christmas he got in Paris.
© Paul Prescott 2012
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