“How are you?” I asked my Polish coworker. It was the day after Christmas, so for some reason, I expected everyone to be happy and nice.

“I’m tired and sick of working here,” she answered annoyed.

“How come?” That was probably the stupidest question to ask ever, considering how she had worked in the hostel for fourteen years, doing the exact same thing. Who wouldn’t get sick of that?

“I had to work on Christmas Day, can you believe it?” she asked.

“That’s terrible!” Although I wasn’t religious and the birth of Christ wasn’t really that big a cause for celebration to me, I understood where she was coming from. After all, Christmas is the day you should spend with your family, and, most importantly, not have to go to work.

“Times have changed,” she continued. “People used to go to church on Christmas instead of going abroad. People got a day off work.” I nodded. I didn’t agree that going to church was much better than going to work. At least you got paid to go to work.

I’m not the kind of atheist who hates church. I’m not. But after having suffered through going to Orthodox masses with my mother, I had decided that I just lacked the commitment and most importantly, the faith to go through with it. But Izolda didn’t have to know that fact. It was difficult to get her to like you as it is and now that I had finally succeeded, I wasn’t going to lose that privilege because of a religious argument.

“Nobody has faith anymore.” She was right about that. Although Islam is still going strong, I don’t really know that many Christians. “That’s why people just go around killing each other. There’s no compassion anymore. We forget that we are all just the same.” I don’t know whether religion is the cause, but the world has indeed become pretty fucked up. But maybe it has always been twisted, only in a different way.

“That’s true.”

“And all these abortions! How can people kill their own children?” she asked me, hopefully not expecting an actual answer. She took me by surprise with that remark, so I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t seen our conversation – though I wasn’t really saying anything, so I guess it was more of a monologue – going that way.

“Well, euhm…”

“If abortion was prohibited, I wouldn’t have to work on Christmas Day!” I laughed. “I’m not joking,” she said.


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