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The bench I lay on was hard and uncomfortable, and I was just beginning to be sober enough to feel it.

“Christmas Eve,” an old man slurred at me. “Iss Christmas Eve. Won’t see ‘nother one. Too old.”

Christmas Eve. I should have been home. I should have gone home with my pockets full of cash and a present for you, but one for the road turned into two, turned into three, turned into too many to count, and they picked me up as I swayed across the bridge, shouting abuse at birds and cars.

The old man began to sing.

“Let the grasses grow, and the waters flow in a free and easy way, but give me enough of the rare old stuff that’s made near Galway Bay!”

I turned to face the wall and closed my eyes. I wondered what you were doing. Were you waiting up for me? Were you worrying about me?

I dozed off as the old man sang, my dreams full of his “Hi di-diddly-idle-um, diddly-doodle-idle-um.”

When the cops woke me a few hours later to throw me out, my head was clearer than it had been for years. The money I’d won, we could use it to set ourselves up. I’d pay for those singing lessons you wanted; they’d set you up to win your next audition, and then boom! Straight onto Broadway. It was going to be a good year. The year all our dreams came true.

As I stepped outside into the snowy streets, the police choir started singing.

“If you ever go across the sea to Ireland then maybe, at the closing of your day, you can sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh, and see the sun go down on Galway Bay.”

I smiled as I turned my collar up against the cold and practised what to say when I got home.

“Happy Christmas. I love you baby.”

Ā© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note- Today’s story is inspired by “Fairytale of New York”, my favourite Christmas song. Happy Christmas everyone!)

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