We get snow here so seldom. The last couple of years we've had it for a week or so in total. I don't really miss it until December comes along. Days like today, only a few days from Christmas, I miss the snow. I miss the cold. I miss having to bundle up in toques, mitts, scarves and heavy jackets. I miss red noses and rosy cheeks caused by chilly wind. I miss snowmen and snow angels and the glint of Christmas lights reflecting off the white at night.

Everyone is moving so quickly, rushing from store to store, looking for the perfect gift. I shove my hands further into my pockets and side step to avoid getting run over by a boy heading towards Santa in the middle of the mall. The crowds get to be a bit much for me so I head for an exit.

I step out into the slightly chilly day. I shrug my collar up around my neck and trudge down the street. I get bumped by yet another person rushing so much they aren't looking where they are going. It's then that I remember why I try to avoid the city around the holidays. I've gotten used to being alone at the holidays, but it's much harder to ignore the loneliness in the city.

I'm forced back a couple steps as a door swings open and almost hits me. A group of people come falling out into the road, laughing and clinging to each other. I close my eyes as a wave of envy surges through me. The group passes me and as the sound of their voices quiets, I hear a slow, quiet Christmas song being played on a piano. It takes me a moment to pinpoint the source of the music. A few steps further down the road is a small, quiet restaurant and the music is coming from behind the closed door.

I open the door and enter the place and see that it's a piano bar rather than a restaurant. The tables are low and the chairs are wide, deeply cushioned and look infinitely comfortable. Everything is done in warm dark stained woods and deep colours. A man plays the grand piano in the corner. The patrons sit around the tables, islands within themselves. Their conversations are low, letting the music reach even the furthest corners of the room.

The woman behind the bar meets my eyes and nods in a friendly fashion. I give her a small smile and head to a table close to the piano. I take off my jacket, lay it on a chair and sit into another. I sigh in contentment as I learn that the chairs are as comfortable as they look. I let myself relax completely for the first time all day.

The woman from behind the bar comes around and asks if I would like to see a menu. I decline and ask for a whiskey. She smiles and says she'll return with it right away.

It isn't until my stomach growls that I realize how long I've sat at the table nursing my whiskey and listening to the piano. As if she heard the growl, the woman from behind the bar appears beside me and asks if I'm hungry. I smile and take the menu offered me. I take a quick glance at it and order my meal along with another drink.

The food is hot, delicious and generously portioned. The new whiskey is even smoother than the one before. I linger over my food even though I notice the bar is getting busier. Surprisingly, the noise stays light and the piano can still be heard over everyone's conversations.

As my plate is removed, another whiskey is placed in front of me. No one seems to be in a rush for me to pay my bill and leave so I relax back into my seat and drift away into the music again.

The dim light in the bar slightly brightens and the man at the piano stands up. The woman from behind the bar approaches him with a couple drinks in hand. They talk for a couple minutes then approach my table. They smile at me before pulling out chairs and sitting down.

"The bar's closed now." The woman tells me with a soft smile.

"Oh," I stutter, "I'll just pay the bill and leave so you can close up, I guess."

"There's really no rush. I just wanted to let you know that it's late now." She replies, "You've been here for almost twelve hours now."

I blush and smile sheepishly. "Sorry about that. It's comfortable here and the music was wonderful. I guess I got lost in thought."

"I'm glad you enjoyed my playing. Not that I didn't enjoy having a constant audience, but if you don't mind my asking, don't you have a family to head home to?" the piano player asks me.

"My family is scattered all across the country. My sister is closest but she's in Calgary." I tell them.

"Oh, sorry." The man apologized.

I smile at him, "Don't worry about it. It's been like this for the last few years. I'm mostly used to it. I did really enjoy my time here though. I was getting a bit antsy with all the people out today. It's calm and peaceful here. Out there it feels like everyone's too busy to really enjoy themselves. Here, it feels like what Christmas is supposed to be like." I blush a little to realize I'm babbling.

They both smile at me in understanding. Time passes by us again as we talk quietly and enjoy our drinks. A yawn breaks through one of my sentences and the other two laugh.

Carla, the bartender, glances at her watch and her eyes widen. "Oh wow, it's almost six in the morning now."

Greg, the piano man, smiles at her impishly, "I guess it's a good thing neither of us have to be in until three." He turns to me, "What about you? Need to get to work soon?"

I shake my head, "No, I'm actually here on a couple days off. I live on one of the islands. I had planned on finding a hotel room somewhere nearby."

"In that case, why don't we go get some breakfast together?" Greg asks Carla and I.

We all agree to the idea and get up from our chairs. I help Carla and Greg clean up the last few things in the bar before we shrug on our coats and head outside. The light is dim, the sun only beginning to peak up on the horizon and the wind has a chill to it, but I bask in the morning air.

At a café not too far from the bar, the three of us sit down to coffee and breakfast. The conversation is light and full of laughter. Carla leaves Greg and I once she finishes her meal, telling me to come visit her at the bar again soon. She presses a kiss on the cheek to both of us and is gone.

Greg smiles at me and orders another coffee for us. He mentions something about needing sleep before work later, but seems in no hurry to leave. At his words about work, I compliment him on his piano playing again. He blushes softly and tells me that he doesn't often get to play for someone who enjoys it as much as I did. Our conversation is more personal with the absence of Carla. Greg and I take turns blushing as we learn more about each other.

Before too long, we can no longer find excuses to linger over coffee and leave the café. Greg walks with me as I amble towards a hotel. I stop outside the doors to the hotel and turn towards Greg.

"Well, I guess this is where we part ways." I say, too aware of the clichéd words.

"Are you catching the ferry today?" Greg asks, and when I shake my head in the negative, he quietly asks, "Will you come by the bar again tonight?"

I grin and nod.

Greg opens his mouth but shuts it again without saying anything. He seems to waver in thought for a moment. He shuts his eyes and sighs heavily. When he opens them, he looks at me with a glimmer in his eyes. He leans towards me and presses a soft kiss to my lips.

He leans away and looks at me nervously. I step forward and return the kiss. When we break for air, he looks at me and whispers "Spend the day with me?"

I smile and nod again. He reaches out and takes my hand. I lace my fingers with his as we walk away from the hotel.

I wake as lips are pressed to my own. I smile up at Greg as the kiss ends.

"I have to go to work. I'll see you there later?"

I tell him I'll go with him then. His smile lights up the world.

Greg's apartment is only a few blocks from the bar and the walk is short. Carla smiles at us as we enter. Greg leads me to a table close to the piano, leaving his coat with me as he heads to the piano. He sits down, looks back at me and winks.

Carla walks up and places a coffee in front of me. As Greg starts to play, I realize that I won't be alone this Christmas after all.