Advent Calendar: Poinsettia, part 3

3

By the following morning, Mizuki had convinced himself that unlike him as it might have been, he must’ve presented himself to the old man somehow. He didn’t understand why he would have done anything like that, but silently accepted it as a fact. He had been under a lot of stress lately after all, with a thesis of the Roman Empires expansion to Britain hanging over him like some kind of doomsday cloud.
He sighed, putting his feet on the floor. It was icy cold. For some reason it never did heat up properly, and because he was on the ground floor, it was especially freezing in the morning.
He yawned, regarding the Christmas Star on the table.
It was pretty. He’d agree to that. And it gave off a vague but pleasant scent.  Even if it was a Christmas plant, it didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy it, although it hardly looked like it belonged in his house.
It did give a kind of homely feel though – his mother had always loved gardening and would keep all kinds of fresh flowers and potted plants all over the house. But he still knew fairly little about them, never having paid much attention to his mother’s preening of the plants and greenery.

He opened the laptop and worked on a paragraph for his thesis. It moved along slowly, and he sat with his legs crossed, a duvet draped over his shoulders like a cape, on his bed, fighting the word count with all his might. It was all waffle though. It was too early in the day to write about the Roman invasion of the British Isles – especially in English. Giving up on getting anywhere close to a conclusion before school, Mizuki closed the laptop again and went into the bathroom to shower and get dressed.
It was a typical routine morning. He was already in danger of being late having slept too long as usual. The cold made him sluggish and unwilling to leave his bed, no matter how much his alarm howled.

Emerging from the bathroom some minutes later, he didn’t bother having breakfast. He figured he’d grab something from the school cafeteria when he got there.
He looked towards the plant. “I suppose I should water you first though,” he said out loud. His mom always spoke out loud to her flowers too.  He didn’t really know how much water to give though, and just poured a third of the smallest glass in the kitchen into the pot. As he did, the plant seemed to sparkle even more, and its red color deepening somehow. He blinked slightly. Was it really such a big difference, just from some water?
On the other hand, he was surprised the walk in the cold hadn’t killed it the night before, and perhaps the water perked it up somehow?
He caught a glance of his alarm clock and bit down on his lip; “Crap, I’m gonna be late.”
Throwing on his shoes, and grabbing his bag and laptop, attempting to stuff it inside while wrapping himself in his coat, Mizuki turned the lights off, and left the apartment.

It seemed like it had snowed over the course of the night. The layer of white cotton on the ground was thicker than before, with only some fresh tracks defiling the smooth surface.
He heard someone swearing, and looked to see his neighbor from across the street desperately trying to remove the ice on his windshield – he was dressed in a suit, and looked anything but happy. In the middle of the street he could see the slanty tracks from a car that had skidded along, narrowly avoiding the pedestrian crossing sign ahead.
Mizuki sighed, pulling his coat tighter around himself. Winter indeed! He didn’t see what the big deal was. All these near-accidents, the cold and the time wasted on shuffling snow, scraping ice, taking baby steps down the street not to break your neck… And still people walked around all jolly as they called it, in the midst of all the stress.
One of his professors kept whistling carols as he walked the hallways and entered the classroom, and a girl in his class was wearing a red santa hat every day, on the note that it was already December.

Though, he liked the lights. Here in the north, the darkness came creeping in early in the afternoon, and lasted a good while of the morning as well, so he found it rather depressing to spend the hours of actual daylight in the classroom or library. In December however, everything was illuminated by various decorations and chains of lights, even the gates at their university were adorned with a string of round, golden lights. They blinked towards him from afar as he approached the school.
He supposed that was one of the better aspects of this season.

**TBC**

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