Saturday, December 24, 2005
It is Christmas Eve. In fact, it is already Christmas in some parts of the world, as my mother pointed out over dinner. We are not a religious family, so we don't go to midnight mass. My Dad picked me up this evening rather than tomorrow morning. There is one gift under the tree. I guess I've been bad, because it's for my mother. No, I am privileged, and grateful for it. I get to spend Christmas with my family, as opposed to my friend Wayne who is homeless and on the street this Christmas. May his luck turn for the better, and swiftly. Wayne used to own a store that sold music, posters and shirts. He's Jamaican, and has a son. He's been struggling a long time, while I write this in my old bedroom, warm and well-fed, strains of Christmas music floating up the stairs to the renovated loft. I'll be sleeping in a comfortable bed tonight, and waking up to gifts, a delicious brunch and fair-trade coffee in a bodum, while Wayne hopes--or more likely, has lost hope--not to die from the cold overnight. He is probably, right now, panhandling on Rideau Street, in the wet and slush, trying to convince the harried and rich late shoppers that his life is worth more than a box of chocolates, a fine dining experience, or getting trashed on Christmas Eve. If you see someone who looks like Wayne, huddled against some cold, hard, wet concrete, just trying to stay warm and, above all, alive, do me a favour, will you? Reach into your purse or back pocket, open your wallet, and hand him or her a crisp bill for me. Wayne says thanks.