Well, to put it for one day of the year…I didn't really give a care about it.
Both of my friends are gone for the holidays, and there isn't really a reason to spend it anymore. Besides, what's the point of celebrating Christmas if your friends aren't there to celebrate it with you?
It's always been the same every year. For as long as I could remember. Every Christmas was just a normal day. The only difference was that it was colder and had more people crowding the streets. Roaming the streets was what I would do, just as usual. It was the same old same old and each frigid, lonely step I took was filled with yearning as a walked by the windows that displayed the bright and colorful Christmas merchandise that was on display.
I don't have money to buy that sort of stuff. In fact, I barely have a penny to my name. But I can support myself. I've got connections…
Being an orphan of the city can be hard sometimes, but overall it's a fun experience. No authority, no restrictions, and no limitations. Although there is the police to watch out for on occasion if you want to snatch a few things on the side. But the most important thing is that you've got to be somewhat of an eyesore, not too much though or you'll attract too much attention and disgust. I can do that when I want to, but I live to imitate the high class. It's a funny thing to say because I'm a peasant compared to those people, and even compared to the normal middle class I'm still the same thing.
Among all of the other "Street Rats", I do my best to not look like a hobo. Well, I have good enough hair…blonde, spiky, appealing…well it's more bizarre looking that it is good looking, but it's good enough. I try to keep my clothes as clean as possible, and I don't know what anyone else would think. I don't know whether I look like a hobo or not, I hope I don't…even though that's what I am.
Then I accidentally stumbled across the house of Axel and Xion Zayas.
It was only a couple of months ago, as I try to remember. It happened on September, or October. I have a bad memory so excuse my failure to recollect all of the memoirs. But like I said, it happened about two or three months ago. The day began where I always begin my day, up on an abandoned floor of an old restaurant. It's still in business up to this day, but it's lost some popularity and money over the years so they had to cut down on the property. Their loss, my gain.
The neighboring edification was an apartment building. It was new, built only half a year ago, and the last of the people were beginning to move into it. It turned out for me that the Zayas family was one of them. I noticed the moving van, but paid almost no interest to it. Why would I anyways?
But the thing that caught my attention was when I saw a face in the neighboring window. I mean the window that was right across mine that belonged to the apartment building. It was a girl's face, and she was staring at me.
At the time I was just hanging out on the terrace of the floor and enjoying the view of the pedestrians and the cars passing by six floors below me. It startled me to meet eye contact with her. It was fall at that time of year, so it was a little chilly outside. The mist on the windows clouded my vision just enough so I could barely make out her appearance, but I could tell that she was around my age which was fifteen…I think? She had black, short, and choppy hair with bangs covering the middle and left side of her face. The girl also had clear indigo eyes that were a tad bit of a shade darker than mine. And those eyes were watching my every move. I didn't know that that part of the building was occupied yet, because for the past half of a year that room was empty. So I assumed that no one lived there…until now.
The violet eyed girl's face seemed just as surprised as I was that I had noticed her, and a flicker of panic flashed across her face. But just as I was about to open my window and call out to her, she smiled for a brief second; she just fleetingly escaped from the window afterwards.
Every day at the same time, that same girl would watch me every day. Sometimes she gave me time to call out to her and ask her a question, but the response was always the same; just a smile.
Her mystification of herself kind of ticked me off after the first couple of encounters, but I put up with her. It was annoying that every time I noticed her, she would just disappear from view.
Then one day I met her-for real this time. It was in the streets between the coffee shop a block away from where we lived, and the Post Office. I was just trying to get a snack from one of my friends that worked at the coffee shop in the back when I bumped into her. I'm guessing that she was just trying to get street smart in the area.
Alas, I had received the treasure from Joe, my friend, and was about to leave the premises when I was intercepted by the girl. But it was her who had gotten in my way.
"Hey! Watch it, you-" I shouted as I grimaced from the impact.
"…Wait a second, you're that boy from the abandoned restaurant!" She breathed as she tried to recover from the sway of the encounter.
I took a step back and took a quick bite of the still warm and flaky croissant I had received. "Yeah…What the hell are you doing here?"
Her cheeks were flushed in embarrassment. "W-well, I could say that right back at you."
I laughed and took another chew, rolling the flavor in my mouth. "I'm just trying to get a free bite to eat, hence the pastry I'm eating. Now back to my original question. What are you doing here?"
"I'm just getting a look around the place. You know that I'm new here, right?" She let out a deep breath and took a glance around.
"So I've noticed," I swallowed the last of the croissant. "Well, you're not so 'mysterious' now that you're out here in the open."
"I-I…I just wanted to watch you from afar. I was too shy to talk to you," She muttered underneath her breath, but I heard her with just enough clarity.
"If you want to talk to me, you should speak up," I smiled and chuckled.
"Fine! If you want to put it that way, then I might as well go home," She pouted and was beginning to storm off in frustration. But just as she was about to exit the alley, she stopped in midstep.
"Why were you in that abandoned restaurant…every single day I went to the window to look at you?" Her subtle voice sounded.
"I live there."
"I said I live there."
She turned around and looked at me in the eye. "Don't you have parents? A home? That place is old and…abandoned!"
I scoffed, "Well you did say 'abandoned' restaurant. And no, I don't have parents. Don't be all sympathetic and goo-goo face on me now that you know. I live alone. A 'hobo' if you want to call me that. But please don't."
She friskily approached me once more and placed a hand on my shoulder. "But can't you just go to foster care or something? Or live in a homeless shelter?"
My eyes seethed in annoyance at the girl, "Shut up! I can support myself. Just look at me. Do I look like a homeless person to you?"
"Well that's because you know that I am one! My point is, don't go whining and pointing arrows for me to go someplace. I'm fine the way I am, and I don't want any person going around saying that I need to go somewhere, or forcing me to stay in some random place that I don't want to be," I violently shook off her hand and began to hastily walk away in exasperation. "And don't go to the police to report me. Leave me be!"
The second my shoe touched the pavement of the outside of the alley, I heard her voice call out to me again. I was almost committed to just ignore her, but the question she asked was simple.
"What's your name?!"
I stopped and looked over my shoulder with a small furrow of a frown between my eyebrows. "My name is Roxas."
That was the first encounter I ever had that year. Due to a little bit of snooping around the apartment building where that girl lived, I found out that her name was Xion Zayas. She was a part of a family of four and had an older brother named Axel.
But her little visits to the window continued every once in a while, and the roles were reversed. She was the one trying to get my attention, while I quickly left the terrace the moment she did so.
She did it repetitively, for a full three weeks, and then I finally gave in.
"Why do you keep looking at me every day? Isn't that a little TOO creeper-ish?" I jeered at the girl the moment we both threw our windows open.
"I just wanted to get your attention!" her face was twisted into a dismayed expression.
"Oh, so the girl who was too shy to just talk to a boy across the window is now being bold huh?"
"So what is it that you want?" I asked with somewhat of an exasperated voice.
"I was wondering if…if you could show me around," She paused. "I got in trouble the last time I went out, you know…that day we met in the alley? And my parents won't let me out of the apartment without them, or my brother."
The mention of her brother sparked my interest, and the tempest of my words was pacified. "Who's your brother?"
"So you haven't met him yet? He's pretty noticeable. Red hair, very long spikes of it jutting out of the back of his head. His name is Axel," She spoke to me.
Suddenly another voice entered the conversation. It could be heard faintly behind Xion. The girl turned around, and I could barely see her eyes widen with surprise.
"Well well well, who is little Xi-Xi talking to now?" The voice sounded like a male's.
"A-axel! Where the fudge did you come from?"
My senses perked up when I heard the name of the speaker. Speak of the devil…
And just like Xion said, a man with fire red spikes of hair screaming out the back of his scalp appeared in view of the window.
"Oh! It's a guy," He exclaimed with a saccharine expression. I could just hear the syrup dripping from his sappy voice. "So wittle Xion is having her own wuv story now, eh?"
The girl mentioned was just about to explode in a fury of ire when I shouted towards the man, "I only met her three fucking weeks ago, okay?"
His saccharine face disappeared in an instant, and was replaced with an expression of severity. "Ah. So you say that my sis isn't good enough for you, huh?"
"That's not my point. Look, I don't want to start this first conversation on a bad note. So let's just put this behind this, okay?" I said.
He nodded in agreement, but soon after my words were said the conversation ended. It didn't end in terrible way, although I could tell that Axel was being cagey with me. I guess it was the typical protective brother thing, but time would eventually tell me that I was wrong.
I'd like to go over how the three of us all became friends and all, but it would take days to do that. And apparently I have only one day to tell the tale, because the writer of this story procrastinated and waited until Christmas Eve to write this. It's all for the story, she said, and even though the readers won't feel the attachment as much it'll be worth it.
Apparently today is Christmas. And my friends are gone for the holidays. They clearly said to their parents that they wanted to stay at home for the season, but instead they went all the way to Hawaii for Christmas. As awful as that sounds, the news didn't cut into my chest as much as it should have. Why? Because I'm accustomed to spending my Christmases in my dusty home, nibbling on whatever food I found in the dumpsters the other day and calling that my Christmas dinner.
Empty…both my heart and stomach.
The snowflakes whiz by my window as I eye the window. The window to Xion's room.
Usually, everyday I would venture outside to scavenge for entertainment and food, but today…I just want to stay inside. My eyes dim as they scour the dark and dusty surroundings of the seventh floor. The old sofa that I usually slept on every morning sits right in the middle of it, with its usual orange blanket on it. The blanket is the only thing in the room that isn't a dismal color of grey or a boring shade of brown. But I want to lounge elsewhere and find something to do.
The barely functional television that I found a couple of years ago is what I see at the other side of the room. I haven't turned it on for months, and I wonder if still works. But nonetheless, I take a step towards the ancient machine and attempt to turn it on. There's a flicker of pixels that flash on the screen, but after that all remains is a blank monitor.
I look around a little longer and I finally dig out an old radio under a pile of old chairs and table cloths. And to my luck, it works. So I set it down on an old crate beside my usual spot to recline by the terrace window. When I adjust the station to a music one, the only sound that is emitted is typical Christmas music. I switch to another one. Christmas music again. My teeth are clenched as I continue to swap through the radio stations, and they're all…sounds of Christmas.
I'm about to just unplug the radio and throw the ludicrous device across the room, a certain song starts to play from the frail speakers made of old scrap metal…
It's that melody that I always used to listen to.
I almost forgot how it sounded like. It's from my past…from a long time ago. From before I used to be poor. When I had parents.
What's this pang that's going on in my chest? Suddenly the weight of Xion and Axel's absence is pressed upon me and the apathy that clouded my mind disappears. A surge of memories is beginning to come into clarity before my eyes, and the song continues to play its slow and melodious tones through my ears. I smile through the pain, and I even begin to hum along in a smooth harmony as if I've known this song my entire life.
I remember…looking out the window on a snowy day. Just like today. Except I wasn't alone.
My eyes focus on Xion's window once more and my brain sets up an illusion to help ease the burden. The girl I met appears again at the window, and she smiles the familiar grin I am accustomed to seeing. Her violet eyes sparkle in the setting sun's light, and her hand is raised to wave at me. Her cheeks seem to be flushed in the chilly evening.
I know this is all fake. It's just a ruse for my mind to wander elsewhere and ignore the song. But the sound of each note still rings in my ears. But when my eyes look upon the mirage of my friend, my face brightens and my cheeks tingle with warmth as the unfamiliar feel of joy streams through my body.
But the image of Xion fades into the plain tan carpet of her room.
My eyes dim when she disappears, but the smile on my face remains. The song is ending…
And my memories as a child seem to disappear with the song as well.
The radio station sends out a message announcing the next song, but I turn it off before they say it. Afterwards, a upsurge of a strange calm overcomes my sense and I turn away from the window. I'm not sure what I'm feeling, but it's a mixture of grief. Exhaustion. Happiness.
I'm so tired. And it's starting to get late. So I might as well go to sleep now. And get this Christmas over with.