Friday, July 2, 2010

Short story: A Mother's Christmas by Alan S. Ferguson

A Mother’s Christmas

She knew this day would be perfect now as she exited church after Midnight mass concluded and was greeted by a soft snowfall that would reach four inches before it moved on to bless another city. She walked home on the light feel of the sidewalk decorated courtesy of Mother Nature’s flurried confetti. Reaching home, she noticed how her frosted windows perfectly encircled the candlelights that proclaimed that this was Christmas.

Once inside, she shook off the remaining snowflakes and lit the Christmas tree that she spent hours trimming that week. It would be the longest night of the year, for it was just past one o’clock and her ex-husband and daughter would not arrive until eight in the morning at the earliest.

She imbibed some hot chocolate with the hope that its soothing properties would induce a quick and restful sleep. It must have worked because the next sound she heard was the pitter of small footsteps followed by the patter of a larger, yet gentler set of the same.

“Please come in, it is so wonderful to see you again,” she said holding back her tears.

It had been a year since they had traveled that great distance to visit her again. They remained cordial ever since their split and he kept his promise to bring their only child home to her at least once a year.

“Mommy, Mommy!” Chris screamed with joy. She did not notice how her mother had aged since last year. She only saw the joy in her face and felt the love she expressed as she held out her arms and squeezed her most precious gift.

“It is so good to see you again, how are you getting along?” he asked knowing the answer.

“This day makes the year almost bearable,” she replied as he wished he could do better.

“Come, let’s open the presents,” Chris squealed as she urged her mother towards the tree.

“If you only knew how hard it is to let go,” she replied putting her down.

Chris ran to the tree and grabbed a present with each hand.

“How is she doing now?” the mother asked concerned about her daughter’s progress.

“Well, it was tough at first, but she is doing much better. She had found a whole new group of kids her own age and the things they learn nowadays,” the father answered to the relief of the mother.

Before too long, Chris had a floor full of wrapping paper strewn about the living room. “Look daddy! Mommy brought you some things too,” she said as she ran up to her father clutching a couple of gifts.

“Thank you,” he said and the love that led him to propose to her ten years ago, still flowed through him.

This wonderful holiday time together flew by and like last year, ended too soon. She left the room a mess of crumpled wrappings and walked them to the edge of her yard. Soon they disappeared and she returned to the warm confines of her home while the embers in her heart burned with the emptiness and knowledge that another year would pass until they would see each other again.

Sitting there staring at the empty room, with tears and sobs at each memory, she clutched a faded newspaper whose headline told the story of a father and his daughter, killed in a Christmas day crash three years ago.

Written by Alan S. Ferguson, author of ‘Dreams of a Janitor-Kenosha’s Spiritual Guardian of the Annex.’

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