Hill looked out the window, saw the day leaking away. Not much colour around today; dark blues and grey, some muddy brown. Lots of water though. Rain that swept in on a breeze, trying its best to become a gust, maybe a gale. Hill wasn’t a fan of this kind of weather; the dark and the dreary that sucked ambition and impelled you to remain indoors, tempting you to the larder or the Quality Street tin.
Hill didn’t have a larder. He didn’t know anyone who did.
Dark and dreary – there’d been a lot of that around lately. He preferred other weather, more seasonal weather; preferred freezing cold days that were bright; days when the chill tingled fingers, bit at noses, where frost would cover and sparkle on windscreens and lawns. Maybe snow. Yes, Hill preferred snow.
A year ago there was snow. He remembered it well. Remembered it fondly. A heavy fall that some insisted was a blizzard the week before Christmas, falling with a beautiful silence, muting the city with its soft, clean blanket. It made the baubles on the tree twinkle with greater vim, made the carols more prescient, the days more seasonal. A walk on Christmas Eve around a frozen lake, hot chocolate and warm-centred mince pies as Bing Crosby finally got his dream fulfilled this side of the Severn.
No such seasonality this year. More akin to Christmas’ past. Didn’t stop the happy build up, the sound of excited children, wishing the week away. The old songs, the familiar films: Polar Express and The Snowman. Waking early, really early and finding out that HE’D BEEN.
But then it was over and the dark and the dreary fell upon the world. That strange, nowhere time between Christmas and New Year. A reluctant need to work, to allow normality back in under the door despite brave efforts to keep it away for a few days longer. He liked Christmas, always had. He loved this one – the smile on the boy’s faces, the chance to re-acquaint with a wife he’d seen too little of, of late. But those days after Boxing Day, before the ringing bell of another year – what of them?
He wrote some things on a page, then typed more on a screen, mind drifting as ever was the case. Another year over, as John Lennon sang. A new one just begun (almost). Reflecting as he watched the tree bend against the ever darkening sky. Another year over, another year older. A year filled with things, with events, with news that rarely seemed good. Riots and Protests, occupations and overhauls. Despotic death. He wrote some more things and knew that it made no sense so he stopped. Is there always this much news in the course of a year? Or has he just noticed it more this time? So much news, so much change. His new phone speaks to him, answers questions posed his way. Google have patented a car that drives itself. There were scientists this year who suggested that there were things that travelled faster than the speed of light. Hill was fascinated and puzzled by all of this. He watched the riots earlier in the year and didn’t know what to think, or who to blame. So he made crass jokes about it instead and watched Have I Got News For You.
Talking phones, self driving cars. He thought of AI, of the Terminator. Was this how it all began? Were the Mayans onto something? That would put a dent in the Olympic celebrations if they were. He thought of Back to the Future Part 2. Marty McFly went into the future. 2015. That was in three years time. Hill smiled, rain splashed against the window as though thrown from a cup. Jaws 19 was in the cinema in the film – that wasn’t going to happen. Hover Boards though? Maybe, who knows? If something can go faster than the speed of light can we travel in time? Hill didn’t know the answer to this. Hill didn’t even know how a mobile phone worked. Although he could operate Sky+. If it was possible was 88mph really the optimal speed? It was dark outside now. His kids were at home, playing on their new Xbox from Father Christmas.
When he was a child Father Christmas brought an Atari. Hill loved it, thought it was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen. To play games on your television: Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger. He watched his boys play FIFA 12 on Christmas morning. It was like watching a real football match. The lack of swearing and feigning injury was the giveaway.
Tomorrow it would be New Year’s Eve. The last day of the year. A New Year, A New Hope, as George Lucas might say. Star Wars still had a place in Hill’s heart.
Hill looked out the window, saw the day leaking away.
It was time to go home.