Norman watched the first snowflakes falling as he huddled in his sleeping bag. It was a bad sign, though he wasn’t surprised by it. Clutching the paper cup, which rattled with a handful of coins, he watched the city shoppers and business people hurry about. It seemed to Norman that only the children and teenagers turned their heads upwards in wonder and watched the snowflakes drifting.

‘Spare any change, please?’ he called in a croaky voice.

Legs moved swiftly passed him whilst eyes voided contacted with him. He dropped his head, pulling down the too small woollen hat at the same time. Breathing deeply into his wild beard, he thought about what he was going to do now the snow had arrived. There’s that church shelter, he pondered, that was good last year. Or that other shelter place…what was it called? He shook his head, the name completely escaping him.

He lent back and listened to the many voices all round. Most seemed engaged in exciting conversations, asking directions, or other questions, carol singing and bells ringing came from around the corner. He tried to make out the song, but couldn’t put his finger on it.

‘Spare any change, please?’ he muttered.

More feet passed by, arms swinging with heavy bags, bodies seemingly ignoring him. He sighed and wondered for the countless time how it had come to this. Bad turn of events, he concluded. Coins clinked and he glanced up. An elderly woman, wrapped in a large brown coat, was dropping money into the cup.

‘Thank you. Merry Christmas,’ Norman said.

‘You too,’ she replied, before turning away.

He watched her go and feeling slightly better, called out to other people for their kindness.

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