Christmas Eve encore post
The sadness that began in her core was now undulating through her body. Spreading slowly, like lava, it invaded every nerve, cell, and vein contained within her frame. She tried to outrun the feeling by filling up her day with distractions… a donation drop-off, lunch with a colleague, a cocktail with friends, late-night shopping for things she didn’t need like canned mushrooms and an overpriced magazine. She tried to negotiate with the sadness by repeating the phrase, it’s just a day, like any other day. Smiling through the sinking sensation, she tried to protect the last flicker of holiday cheer from the lava’s consumption, but it was too powerful and the flicker too weak.
Out of daylight and distractions, she was riding backseat to the last place she wanted to be. Without him. Home.
Her cab turned the corner then came to a stop.
“Wrong street,” she told him.
“This is the address you gave me, ma’am.”
What the hell? The balcony, bare when she left over twelve hours ago, was now decorated with colorful Christmas lights. “Oh, ok, thank you.” Fare taken care of, she grabbed her bag of unneeded things, wished the taxi driver a Merry Christmas, then, too eager to wait for the elevator, she sprinted up the stairs to her apartment.
With her free hand, now shaking, she unlocked then flung open her door; she was instantly enveloped in the fresh scent of pine, the warmth of a crackling fire, and the aromas of rosemary and sage. What the hell?
The hell was him. She began laughing through tears at the sight of him standing over a steaming pot, wearing a Santa hat.
“What time did you get here? How did you manage to get another flight? Where did you get a tree this late on Christmas Eve? Why did you make me suffer all day, not responding to my text? Did you tell my friends you were coming? They were acting a little strange. I thought… “
He took her bag with his left hand then pressed his right pointer finger across her lips. “Breathe,” he whispered to her. He answered her questions with a kiss that made her forget everything, including her own name.
“I thought we could decorate the tree together, after we eat,” he said. She nodded. She would agree to dance across snow-covered rooftops with him if that were his suggestion.
They toasted with sparkling bubbles, ate, laughed, shared stories, paused to watch the falling white, and commented on the peaceful quiet.
“Let’s save dessert for after tree-trimming,” he suggested.
“Yes, let’s,” she responded with a smile and a glimmer in her eye.
Grabbing her waist, he lifted her toward the top of the tree, holding her while she secured the gold star to the crooked top branch. “That will do,” she decided.
“Yes, that will do,” he agreed through a laugh, “We do have other things to attend to,” he said as he slid her down, slowly pressed close to him.
Stretched out on a comfy blanket under the tree and under his gaze, she watched the flicker of lights in his eyes and felt his soft fingertip tracing her bare skin. A god of his own universe, he was connecting the twinkling reflections, that along her body became a breathtaking constellation.
She had never felt so at home in her home and Christmas had never felt so magical.
Continued from my flash fiction piece, “The last, at last.” Enjoy! Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. 💗 Michele
Originally published December 7, 2022
Photo by Africa Studio
© 2022 Michele Lee