He sighed deeply. So deeply, the windows began to rattle with his vibrations. The people in the house shrieked and spilled their Christmas eggnog down themselves. It must have seemed like a supernatural experience to them.
His dark eyes slowly traced downwards into the snow. His nose, flattened against the frozen windowpane, un-pressed itself, leaving no evidence he had ever been there, ever been longing to spend a Christmas like that boy there: laughing with his parents, totally unaware of just how lucky he was.
Someone coming down the street with his wife and kids pushed past the boy in the snowy sidewalk, not bothering to apologize, not even acknowledging his existence. The boy spun around, shocked at his rudeness, and saw the family tromping through the snowflakes. The son tugged on his mother's coat and she picked her child up, laughing and smiling warmly.
His lips parted to say, "Merry Christmas," but he closed them again and gazed back to the people in the house. So lucky…
The boy in the snow took a cold hand out of his coat. He ran his fingers through his bronze hair, letting out a soft, shuddering breath. No fog flowed from his mouth. It was like he didn't exist. He hated that. He loathed the universe for that. How could it have made him like this? A freakish entity that wasn't?
He shook his head, dousing his shoes in snow. He hoped it was snow… He should have remembered to get dandruff shampoo… His head itched. He didn't want to take his hands out of the refuge of his pockets again. It was way too cold to stay out.
He looked around carefully before crossing the road. A snowplow thundered by, and the boy was knocked off his feet and buried under the snow. He clawed his way to the surface, sputtering and gasping for air. He swore at the top of his lungs as he scrambled up. The plow roared on– sending up a plume of snow as it went– obviously heedless of his screaming.
The teen raged on even after the truck had disappeared from sight. He yelled himself hoarse and his throat hurt. Tears welled up in his eyes. He collapsed back into the snow and sobbed. He didn't care. No one else cared. No one else noticed the boy crying in the snow, alone on Christmas Eve.
Tracy woke up. It was Christmas! She laughed and flung off her covers. She tripped on a sleeping bag on the floor. Wha…? What was that there?
Her face became solemn. Of course. How was it that she had forgotten her cuz? Betraying herself for being so stupid, she looked around. Not that she'd see him. But, he wasn't there. Tracy frowned. Maybe he had already gone downstairs.
Tracy crept into the freezing hallway and glanced into her parent's room. No sign of him. Her mom and dad snored peacefully. They were heavy sleepers.
Her hand tucked away a loose strand of red hair. She padded down the cold stairs, and she was grinning again. She laughed, "Merry Christmas, Bones!" She was expecting to hear a joyous, "Yeah yeah, merry Christmas to you too. Now who cares? There are PRESENTS!!!"
"Bones?" she called again. She walked around the house, but she couldn't find him. Maybe he was in the bathroom, or in the closet being stupid, or stuck in the chimney in an attempt to emulate Santa Claus… She snickered. That would be the funniest thing ever. Explaining to the paramedics on the roof, "No really! There's seriously a kid down there! He's just invisible!!!"
She checked the bathroom. The closet. The chimney.
"BONES!!!" Tracy shouted.
The door opened in a flurry of snow. "What?" grumbled a voice.
The boy, Bones, looked around groggily. He needed to get warm. His "cuz" Tracy couldn't see it, but he was as pale as death and shivering terribly.
"There you are!" Tracy latched onto him like a leech.
"ACK! LET GO OF ME YOU CRAZY BRAWD!"
She frowned. "You're cold." She disengaged from a stunned looking Bones. Tracy lit a gas fire, and insisted he wrap up and get in front of it.
"Now," she plunked herself onto the rug next to him and demanded, looking a good six inches to the left of him, "what on Earth were you doing last night? You could have passed out from the cold and DIED! What would I do then, hmmm?"
He didn't want to tell her he had passed out in a snow bank last night. And he really didn't want her refusing to look him in the eye. "Look, I'm sorry," Bones said hotly. "And turn you're head to the right- I'm not that coat rack you seem so interested in!"
"What's you're problem?" Tracy asked sympathetically, adjusting her gaze. Six inches to the right of him.
Bones let out a sigh of frustration. "You don't know what it's like, not existing."
"But you do exist," Tracy said, patronizingly slow.
He snorted. "Or you're nuts."
That one hit hard. Tracy recoiled and bit her lip.
Bones growled, "Oh don't act so surprised. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that you worry I'm a figment of your imagination."
"Bones, I know you're real," she said softly.
He shook his head with a sad sigh. "Then why do you pretend I'm not whenever-"
The sound of pounding footsteps. A gleeful laugh. "TRACY! IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!"
Tracy jumped up as her brother hurtled down the stairs. "I know! Isn't it great?" she laughed.
The door slammed. No one noticed. No one cared about the teen who shuffled through the streets, alone on Christmas Day.