Advent Calendar: Part 2

Alright, so one of the quirks about this year’s calendar, is that it doesn’t follow the days of Advent to a tee; some drag on for chapters, others are spot on, and some installment might span over several days. Time will show.
Enjoy part 2!

 

2

Mizuki unlocked his door and stumbled inside, his body shivering with cold. His modest student apartment had central heating, but as he’d found out, it did take a while to defrost after spending hours outside in the frost. Moreover, he wasn’t used to this kind of below-zero blistering cold and the arctic air that swept the European continent. Where he came from winters were cold too, but not like this. It was even snowing. Luckily, he lived pretty close to the university, so he didn’t need to rely on trains or any kind of public transportation, which always seemed to be having trouble with the weather.

You’d think they’d gotten used to snowy winters by now. He thought, stamping his feet to rid himself of the snow on his shoes, before carefully stepping out of them and dodging a puddle on the floor.
He was also grateful that having no connection with Christmas meant he didn’t have to deal with the flight chaos that came with the season. Many of his classmates were fretting about how expensive airfare was before Christmas, and how the weather could make flying conditions difficult. At worst, they’d be stuck spending Christmas at the airport.

Mizuki removed his thick winter coat, and stepped into the one-room apartment. It was small, but at least he didn’t have to share it with anyone. The on-campus accommodation often included housemates, something he was glad to be free of. He enjoyed his own company, and not having to deal with others and their invading his privacy.

The plant he’d received from the old man in the Santa suit caught his eye. He’d placed it on the shoe shelf while removing his coat.
Why did I bring this home with me.
Honestly, what was he to do with a plant? He should have just left it for the old man to collect. But he’d disappeared so fast… On the other hand, he had been raised to be polite; chances were he wouldn’t have had the guts to give it back.
He picked it up, and placed it on the small coffee table at the center of the room. It was a plain IKEA table, and not at all aesthetical or anything else. He missed his family’s kotatsu.
The plant looked out of place between all his books on history and historical figures, and the bowls that needed washing, not to mention the lack of decoration. Not only Christmas decorations either – but in general. His apartment was almost clinical: no paintings, no posters, no ornaments or knick-knacks. And now he had a plant in the middle of the room; a bright red plant with deep green leaves, in a ceramic pot with heart and star carvings, and glitter. The plant itself seemed to be full of glitter as well.
“Bah,” he groaned. He cleared some books out of the way, to make the table seem less crowded.

What had the man called the plant?
Point-something. And “Christmas star”. The flower appeared to be star shaped, even he could see that.
He opened up his laptop, and googled it: Christmas star. Flower.
From this, he gathered that it wasn’t a flower, but a plant, or rather, a kind of small tree-like shrub. Its name was Poinsettia, and it was related to the biblical Star of Bethlehem.  Apparently, it was rumored to be poisonous.

Well, wasn’t that something.

“I guess you capture the bittersweet feeling of Christmas pretty well then.” He said, feeling like a dolt for talking to a plant.

It was only when he went to bed that night that he realized something.
…How had the man in the Santa costume known his name?

 

***TBC***

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