There is one person I think about every Christmas. This is why:
An X number of years ago, when I was still a student, my world came apart. I had just separated from my ex a few months before, my roommates left for the holidays and most of my (good) friends also left to be with their families during the holidays. I was all alone, with my own family an ocean and a continent away. Granted, I don't celebrate Christmas, certainly not in the religious sense, but everybody else around me was and combined with new single status, I've never felt so alone in my life.
A few days before Christmas, I went out with some less close friends from university who were native to the city. We had a really good time. We we were young and stupid and broke many laws that night. Surprisingly enough, drunk driving wasn't one of them. We did, however, break into a ski resort and tobogganed at 2 a.m. down the slopes - did I mention is was fun?
But my post isn't about that. I can't remember how the conversation evolved, but somehow L found out I was doing nothing Christmas Day. "No way," he said. "You're coming with me to my sister." I voiced my (very weak) objection about not wanting to intrude on a family Christmas, but L wouldn't hear of it and said he would call me the next day with directions.
I was sure he would forget. We were, after all, quite drunk. But L didn't forget. He called me the next day, gave me instructions and made me promise I'd show up. I did.
I remember being so nervous driving there my hands were shaking on the wheel. I stopped twice on the way there to calm myself. Not only was I truly embarrassed for what I felt would be an intrusion, but the whole thing itself, being with a family other than my own, the kindness of L, etc., made me very emotional.
L's sister and her husband were amazing, though, as was he. They made me feel very welcome and at ease. We had dinner -- homemade sushi -- and then retired to the music room where L's sister and husband played and sang. It was truly the best Christmas Dinner I've ever had.
L -- better known as Liberty (I hope if he ever reads this he wouldn't mind me disclosing his name) -- had just been recently separated from his wife too, something we had in common among our very young university-going crowd. We were never romantically involved, nor did we want to (I think), but he was truly one of the kindest souls I've ever met.
Wherever you are today, Liberty, thank you for breaking my loneliness that Christmas. I think of you every year during Christmas, wishing you the best.