It doesn’t feel like Christmas, instead of snow, there are palm trees, the sporadic sun, and windy currents that hint at incoming rain. I want it to rain like it did yesterday. I walk down Poland st., and there’s nothing different about today. In a house up ahead, I see a large family sitting on their porch, but this happens any day of the week. An older lady waves at me, and I smile. I pass the lights and keep walking down. Before I make a turn, I see an old man with white hair and a white beard coming out of this house. I notice his red robe, as he says to me, “Sorry I’m being lazy today.” Oh I get it. “I like your beard,” I say laughing, thinking what are the odds that Santa is in New Orleans. I run the rest of the way, towards Crescent City Park. In the parking lot, I only see three cars. No one is here. I go up the stairs, look around the empty park, covered in droplets of rain from yesterday. No one is here. The park is mine. The fog has disappeared but left a trace of grayness. I walk for a bit then start running through the park, heading back to Poland st. It’s humid and I can feel it sticking to my skin. My long hair is tied in a ponytail, and I wish nothing more than to cut it all off. At the end of the path heading to the second parking lot, I see a family: grandpa with his niece, and a couple walking with their furry puppies. I make a turn at France st., remembering to buy almond milk at the grocery. I brought two measly dollars. I search for almond milk. I doubt the cashier will let me get by if I don’t have enough. I look over to the counter; the Honduran man who regularly carves out wooden pieces is standing behind the cash register. Last time I was short on cash, and he let it slide. He always talks to me in Spanish. I greet him, and he asks “how’s your holiday going?” “ It’s going well, and you?” “Good, here working.” He tells me the price, and I say, “I’ll have to come back. I don’t have enough.” “How much do you have?” I show him and he hesitates. “Come back later for the rest. Que tengas un buen dia.*” I leave carrying my almond milk and walk back to the apartment. I notice some guys throwing back beers in their porch, sometimes arguing, and older residents outside bars, but this is normal. I cross the intersection, and two kids walking my way, say happy holidays.
*Have a nice day.