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He stood on the street corner in the shadow of the amber street lamp. The night was bitter cold and the promised snow was gently falling on the shoulders of the people who passed him by. They appeared not to notice him as the peals of their holiday laughter echoed down the hushed city avenue.
He never felt so alone. Bereft. He knew that she and her husband were back in the city for the holidays visiting family. Their sons were grown now with little ones of their own and she never missed a chance to be near her precious grandchildren. She bought the brownstone so she would have a place to stay and play on her visits. Despite the distance, it was clear that she had kept a strong sense of community here; the amount of guests entering the doorway provided enough evidence. Never mind the vibe of good cheer and love that seemed to dance through the bricks of the building.
He moved closer. His sons were not interested in seeing him once again this year. He was dying to see what his four grandchildren looked like-he had never met them or seen them in a photograph. He knew that they were at the prime age to experience the magic and wonder of the season and he longed to share it with them.
At once, the four appeared in the large bay window. Two girls and two boys-maybe four to six years of age dressed in their Christmas finery. A picture postcard of innocence and joy.
His heart wrenched and he fell to his knees. On this night-this eve-it came rushing back to him. The weight and force and pain of what he had walked away from all those years ago. He was crushed and defeated. Weak. He rose slowly, his feet wet and cold, his fingers stiffened by the frost. He had not walked far-just enough to be out of sight when an overwhelming sense of fatigue came over him. He sought respite in the nearest snow bank.
“Hey, mister are you all right?” The group of revelers came upon him a few hours later, his body nearly hidden in the snow except for the black of his boots. “Aw Jeez man. I think he’s dead. Call 911.” The wagon came quietly. They loaded him on the gurney and checked for identification. None. Just another John Doe lost to the streets they thought. They could hope that someone would notice he was missing and give him a proper burial. But no one ever did.
I took a bit of liberty with the FWF title “I Saw It Through a Frosted Window Pane.” It fit with the story. I am sure Kellie won’t mind!
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