The Most Wonderful Time Of Year

Frigid temperatures, neon lights everywhere, the scent of frankincense and myrrh infused with hints of apricot and barrel oak. Houses appear to be handpicked out of a hybrid color wheel, vaguely distinguishable from the rainbow I saw that one fall afternoon. I suppose it is the most wonderful time of the year.

It is a great time to be alive, endless amounts of gifts, hearty laughter, roast pork, oxtail, and the aroma of ginger from the sorrel drink smothered in toxic amounts of white rum.   

 Fabricated New Year’s resolutions are plentiful, like the herd of children galloping around the house. The family dog insouciantly unwraps a few of the gifts to appease its curiosity. 

The wrinkled old guy’s boisterous laugh invigorates the air as he tells his joke, the same one he tells every year.

Everyone happily gathers at the dinner table and awaits grandma’s famous ham, glazed in her mystery sauce, which she promises to reveal this year like she promises every year.

There’s so much beauty in all this festivity. It makes me so warm inside, allowing me to live in the moment. I put my hunger aside, ignore the faults on my lip’s crust, and it even makes me forget about the below arctic conditions I’m standing in.

I hope one year they’ll invite me inside, I would love to sit around their mahogany wood dining room table. But for now, I better climb down from the window and haste to secure a meal, before the others get to the best spots by the KFC restaurant dumpsters.

The competition is fierce, everything challenges you—stray dogs, sanitation workers, and rats the size of a Maine Coon.

Darwin warned of such a world, but this isn’t how I imagined it. I used to have a caring family, until they disowned me and put me out onto the streets one day around this time of year. They called me crazy, because I accidentally knocked out my dad with mom’s nonstick frying pan.

Maybe one day, someone will realize that I’m human too. They’ll see beyond my matted hair that obstructs 98% of my vision. Perhaps next time someone will be able to distinguish my filthy clothes, plagued with mustard and ketchup from last week’s dinner.

I hope they won’t tease me, call me a zombie, and say that I’m a mad man. All I really need is to feel wanted again, to feel accepted, and treated like the human I am.

That day might just be wishful thinking and this might be my earthly destiny. It suffocates me, it’s painful when your life is sailing away on the ship towards destruction, but you were left at the dock.

This time of year will come again, giving me a chance to live for another moment. Maybe my life will be transformed for the better. I will continue being hopeful, and maybe this time next year, dad will finally open the door and invite me in.

© Jenoy Merchant and, 2018


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