Driving down the snow covered road, headlights in front of the cold metaled car, warm gloves of the cold, antique leather steering wheel. I turn into the small, snow-covered lot, red and green lights illuminating it.
I park and breathe in the cold air through my pink wool scarf. I slowly get out, along with my laptop bag, and walk, my white boots dragging across the icy pavement. I stop for a second to take in the Christmas scenery behind me, it being Christmas Eve.
The streets are lit up with Christmas lights. Mock Santas wave their bells, asking for charity money. The sidewalks are bustling with little kids, eager to enter toy stores, their mothers holding onto them tight so they don’t freeze. They're last-minute Christmas shopping. I smile and open the cold glass door, warmth hitting my face.
I lower my scarf and take in the scents of the baked goods, sweet hot drinks, and the bustle of the people in the cafe. I walk towards the black leather booths, making sure not to slip on the tan tile floor with my cold, wet boots.
I set my laptop bag on the table, pulling out its contents and plug the power into my laptop. I get in line, making sure my things are visible from where I wait my turn, glancing every so often in the direction of my stuff.
When it’s my turn, I look at the tall pale barista - who looked like he was freezing - and ordered my coffee and blueberry muffin. He looked at me, putting in my order, “It’s cold outside, isn’t it?” He asked, clearly cold himself.
I smile in response to the thought of the snow, “It is, but it’s really beautiful.” In response, he gave me a warm smile and an extra muffin. “Have a great night,” I say after paying. “You too.”
I sit alone at my table and work on my writing, enjoying my sweet, creamy coffee and warm muffins. I look at the time, noticing how late it’s gotten.
It’s closing time for the shops. I start to pack my things, realizing I’m the only one left. I hear a soft voice behind me as I zip up my bag. “Working hard?” I turn and am greeted by the familiar barista who served me earlier.
“Pleasure actually, I like writing.” I respond shyly.
“Writing for what?”
“Just a short story for my job. It's voluntary.”
“And what’s it about?” He asked, interested.
"You’ll have to read it to find out,” I say picking up my things and heading towards the door.
“Hey I’m off right now since we’re closed, and I was going to go see the lights up and this band, did you wanna come with me?” He asked, clearly nervous. I thought for a second….
Why not, I have nothing else to do. “Sure, I love the Christmas lights and good music,” I say with a faint smile.
We walk out together, he locks the door. He turns, sliding on the ice. We walk towards the only two cars next to each other in the snowy, empty lot. He unlocked the passenger door to an old gray Toyota Corolla and I slide into the beige seat.
It smelled like coffee. Stale coffee.
It wasn’t a bad smell.
It took awhile for the car to turn on, but when it finally did, Christmas music played low in the background. We sat there for awhile, awkward and cold, shivering in the icy cold.
We started conversation as he backed out of the lot and onto the blanketed roads. We laughed and talk so much in that short amount of time that we had together.
It felt like it was just me and him as the roads were empty, ghost-like in a soothing way and his green eyes sparkling in the traffic lights. I rolled the window down slightly, sending shivers up our spines and breathed in the fresh air, snow sending a rush of warmth to my cheeks.
My favorite thing to feel, to smell, it brought a smile to my face and and even bigger to his when he saw mine. He parked the car outside a big building. No one was around. We walked in, he led me by the hand to a big marble elevator that went up to as far as the eye could see.
We went up.
The farther up we went, the faster my heart pounded. It seemed to be an apartment building but it was the nicest place I’d seen in awhile. The elevator doors opened, leading into beige-gray hallways. He opened the first dark-wooden door on the right.
All around, the walls were windows, exposing the beauty of our city. The lights that surrounded the room made me feel warm and happy.
He rushed to his bedroom and came out a minute later in a completely different ensemble.
He grabbed his coat and keys and, just like that, we were out the door again. We drove for what seemed like forever but had only been 20 minutes in reality.
It felt so real and brilliant.
He drove into a packed lot, music in the distance. We walked toward the sound of familiar music. A crowd of people, hand in hand, came into view.
There was snow everywhere. We were cold, but we didn’t care.
We were having fun, listening to The Drums, dancing with each other like fools. It all felt so exhilarating…
We stayed there until the lot was almost empty, the band attempted to play their last song an hour ago. They began playing Christmas music. I guess they wanted to leave as much as we did - which was not the case at all.
I was freezing, yet warm with joy and adrenaline.
This stranger who’d I’d barely met wrapped his arms around me, pulling me closer to him. His smile glowed as he moved his lips closer to mine.
Our chilled noses touch.
The band fades into a beautiful blur of music, the lights are just background and it feels like they're wrapped around me - no - around us, bringing us closer, lighting us up from the inside and warming us up on the outside.
He places his warm lips against mine. Everything stops, my heart drops, and his arms tighten around me. I somehow knew that after this moment, things would be alright.
It was the perfect Christmas gift, wrapped in lights and sealed with a kiss.