185. 5pm. Halfway down the stairs.
As I was clinging on for dear life, I noticed a small Indian boy on the bottom deck speaking with an elderly white man who had a walking stick. Their voices were gentle, their heads were bent towards each other, and they were smiling. I felt, as I was thrown this way and that by the impatient driver, like I was looking through a frosted window into a cosy scene lit by fresh logs. The small boy started singing, very softly, a meandering tune that sounded both warm and vaguely mournful. I’m not sure whether it was due to the cold outside, or the strange twilight coming in through the windows, or the benevolent space that had opened up around the boy and the man, but I had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from shouting, Tiny Tim-style, ‘And God bless us, every one!’
Honestly, some kind of cynicism-deactivator must power through this city when they turn on the Christmas lights. I don’t mind it at all.