I wrote this piece awhile back. It is for someone very important in my life. This person, even though she thinks I dislike her most of the time, I really don’t. It is true when I was younger, I thought she ruined my life. But really, she made me a less selfish human being. My sister graduates college on Tuesday, and will be all growed up. This is for her.
My Christmas Spirit
Tip toe, tip toe. There is no stumbling or fumbling as I make my way into a sea of darkness. This house, this place is mine. I learned to walk, talk, read, and love here. These white walls that surround my bedroom crawling with late night shadows are held up by my memories created here, the good and bad. I wander out into the blackness with purpose, blinded, but eyes wide open, adjusting. The darkness carries me; a guiding hand in my secret mission.
Quietly and quickly I creep across the entry hall. A lonesome, wooden cactus guards the front door (his years have now taken toll, as he’s been demoted to living room patrol). Falling stealthily against the kitchen wall; smells of fresh baked pie still cooling on the stove greet my nose, cherry and apple, I think. Earlier festivities resonate in my memory, but there is no time for that now. I have business to attend to. Searching the kitchen, empty counter tops leave no sign of life. The dishwasher light blinks monotonously at me, begging to be emptied. I can see a few dishes in the sink, clinging to remnants of turkey dinner with a think layer of film forming across left over gravy. Then my eyes approach the kitchen table, I see it. Crumbs scattered across the plate, half a cookie left, maybe. Yes! I think to myself, Santa does like Chips-A-Hoy. I was worried, I’m glad he didn’t take my mom’s pies.
Missing cookies was my cue. I scurried across the kitchen floor, almost tile surfing on my socks. First, I peeked cautiously around the corner of the other kitchen entrance catching just a glimpse of the tree in the corner and the flicker of the lights shining. They lit up my first Christmas tree ornament, other I hand crafted from kindergarten and first grade. Popcorn strings, I had insisted on decorating the tree with, hugged the branches. There she stood in all her glory, tall and proud, in the dark of night- like a piece of family artwork. My eyes fell towards the floor as I stepped into the living room, not before almost bumping the TV cabinet running along the wall on my left side. Recovering, I looked again, because that of course was what I had come for. The bike, orange, pink, and green, towered next to the Christmas tree. A two-wheeler at last! I had only waited my whole life! (All seven and three-quarter years) But, just as quickly that my joy came, it faded as my gaze slowly wrapped itself around the tree. It was a mound of presents dressed in pinks and pale yellows. Suddenly that mound look like Mt. Everest. I would never be able to conquer it. Waves of jealousy swept through me. I knew it had been a disaster from the beginning, when ten months ago, two words were uttered across my mother’s lips. Now, I was being haunted by ghost gifts that had taken form in Santa’s presence.
I moved a little further inward, the carpet warming my feet below, looking across the room my rocking horse was sitting in the corner playing in the shadows. My heart skipped a beat when I saw by my rocking horse, the baby swing- lingering music. My breath became shallower to a point where I thought I’d pass out. The tantalizing smell of cinnamon was my rescuer. Faintly traceable from the kitchen, the scent reached up into me stretching and driving forward finally settling inside; heightening my sense and awakening my Christmas spirit.
In that moment I realized just how beautiful the room looked at this late hour. The lights from the Christmas tree were dancing across the room as if someone had just finished the Nutcracker Suite when I walked in. The moon was shining through the glass doors, gliding along the floor creating a lake of light. It was magical.
I spun around to go out of the living room the other direction near our old leather couches when she caught my eye. She must have been there the entire time. Light was just barely glowing around her as the held a bundle in her arms tilting a bottle to it.
The room was serene. Time has stopped while I stood there watching as everything came together, the guardian tree, lights twinkling over them, just enough so their faces were in shadow. The moon looked on from a distance, protector of all things small. I felt if I had dreamt anything, or wished anything at this moment it would have come true. But, I didn’t have to because anything I had ever wanted was all right there before me, witnessing this great magic. I walked over and gently kissed the bundle on the forehead, knowing what I had really waited my whole life for, contentment radiating from every pore.
“Go back to bed Alex,” whispered my mom.