Christmas Eve in the railway station

A Christmas Carol by Carlo De Amicis)

It was cold at the Bergamo station. K took another jumper from his backpack, preparing to spend Christmas Eve there.

He felt pretty screwed: he had planned everything to get to Verona in time to go to midnight mass with his children, his brother, his cousins and his friends. Then they would have had a meal in a parish room, a moment of celebration.

But it couldn’t be: his plane had been delayed and there were no more trains left for his city.
The anger left him thinking that, long ago, a young mother had given birth to her baby in a manger, accompanied by her husband.
K felt his heart fill with joy, thinking that that same night that child would be born again, bringing light to this world.

The first train would leave Bergamo at six in the morning and it was only eight in the evening. Being the day that it was, fewer trains were scheduled than on a normal day.
K was the only passenger in the station, however, K was not alone in that place. Several homeless people were also going to spend Christmas Eve there.

«It’s going to be a very long night,» he told himself, sitting down on a bench, «it’s better to make yourself as comfortable as possible.»

«How cold it is – said a scruffy-looking young man who was sitting on the bench in front of him – what a Christmas Eve we are going to pass. It is the first time I see you in this place, are you new?»

«My plane was delayed and there were no trains left -K answered smiling- I understand that you are a regular customer of this five-star hotel»

«Sometimes I sleep in a parish or in the hostel, but today they were overbooked. Wouldn’t you have a cigarette?»

«I’m sorry, but I don’t smoke friend – said K opening his backpack- but if you want some serrano ham, it’s very good. I was taking it for my family. Given the circumstances, it’s better not for you and me to eat them.»
«I love serrano ham – replied the young man, taking a slice – I learned to appreciate it when I made the way to Santiago»

«Can I try that ham too? – said a woman lying on some cardboard and wrapped in an old blanket – I’m terribly hungry».

So it was that, little by little, an extravagant group formed, eating everything that K brought with him: ham, cheese shortbread. They were joined by three Night Angels volunteers who had brought hot coffee.
After a while, that curious troupe began to sing Christmas carols. K breathed joy, he felt happy, absurdly and absolutely happy, like living a dream.

«Thank you K – said the young man – thank you from the bottom of my heart»
«But how is it possible that you know my name – exclaimed K – we haven’t even introduced ourselves.»

«I know everything about you dear K» said the young man taking a loaf from a bag. After a pause he broke it saying
«Take and eat all of it….

«Wake up sir, we have already arrived at Bergamo airport – said the stewardess shaking K sweetly – It seems that you were very tired. We have landed ten minutes ahead of schedule. The other passengers have already gone down»

«It’s true, I was very tired,» he answered, «and I had a very nice dream. Merry Christmas.»

«Merry Christmas»

With that feeling of happiness in his heart, he got off the plane.

Being able to participate in that mass, celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus surrounded by the people he loved so much, was something really special for him.

«Let’s go to the room next door,» said one of his friends, «we have prepared a great party.»

«A big party awaits us all. But not here, the party awaits us at the Porta Nuova station. Take all the food you can and follow me. Jesus is waiting for us there»

Half an hour later the group arrived at the station to celebrate Christmas in an unexpected way, a much happier Christmas than K and his people would have imagined.

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