It’s dark now when I get home. Not too cold yet but damp, foggy and the rain soaks through my coat in the time it takes to walk there. I don’t care, I like this time of year. I get my kicks peering in at the warm glow of other people’s lives. I imagine them picture perfect, every window a different scene, as bright as the ones on the advent calendar gran used to buy me. Even the shops sparkle. I watch people hurrying past with their heads down. They’re missing out on a free light show. I jump from one pool of light to the next, like we did when we were kids. Don’t fall down a black hole, whatever you do.
In the perfect windows they’re decorating trees, baking Christmas treats, wrapping presents. How can you be sad at this time of year? I’ve been collecting bits – crackers, baubles, tinsel. No need to buy any presents for the family. It’s just the two of us. Where we live is really cosy. Asher gets a fire going and we cuddle up, have a smoke. Then I dream we’re flying over the town, looking down at all the empty streets, zooming in and out of shops and alleyways. Sometimes I watch a firework show of shooting stars and Asher turns to me and smiles his angelic smile.
I’m dreaming now, I must be, the vodka’s upped the sensations and I’m really flying. I don’t normally see my own body on the ground though. I’m watching a bit of a crowd gathering, police, para-medics, do-gooders. It’s not nice the things they’re saying. ‘Overdose…homeless… how sad.’ Asher holds out his hand: ‘Time for us to go, Lizzie,’ he says, and I hold on tight as we head out over the old town.
Sue Millett lives in Dorset with her husband and two cats. Her work has appeared in anthologies and she has published a book of poems. She is currently experimenting with historical fiction.