Author’s note: Prompt is the opening line. All my writing is becoming Christmas-y lately. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😀 I was actually hoping it would end up a little longer and deeper, but not to worry.
It was only for one night. Darren supposed he could manage that. Maybe earn some karma points. His girlfriend, Erin, had volunteered them both to help out at the local soup kitchen on Christmas Eve. She hadn’t consulted him, but how do you back out of something like that?
When they arrivead, they were each presented with a Santa hat and loud wished for a Merry Christmas. Since neither of them had been there before, they were introduced to the regular organisers, before being led around into the kitchen area, where three Bain-maries were full of various seasonal foods. Darren and Erin were put on stations there, along with two others.
It wasn’t very long before the recipients of the food began arriving. Those who volunteered regularly greeted several of the guests by name. Darren flinched at a couple of them. Their clothes were tatty, some had holes where you didn’t really want holes to be, and some of them really did smell like they hadn’t showered in a week. But he found that the other volunteers seemed to be able to ignore all that, and that once he got chatting, so could he.
Once the food had been dished out, the volunteers sat down with their guests. Toasts were made, grace was said, and then they all tucked in together. Darren was sitting next to a man who was trying to find a job so he could begin supporting his kids again. As they talked, Darren found himself thinking about how he might really help this guy out. He would certainly have wanted some sort of support if it were him in the situation.
When they got back in the car at the end of the night, Erin turned to Darren. “That wasn’t bad, was it?”
“Actually, it was kind of awesome,” Darren admitted.
“And who was grumbling all the way here?”
“All right, you win. Maybe we should come back in the New Year. Do this more often.”
“I like the sound of that.”