A Christmas Story - a fiction short story

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The present time

I sipped my hot coca as I looked out the window at the blasting, blizzard of snow grandly sweeping across the yard.

I could barely see the lights of the next house nearly an eighth of a mile away. The night had settled in and was dark and cold and snowy, but I had a fire crackling in the fire place and I was wrapped in my warmest wool sweater. The warmth and glow from the fireplace comforted me and gave me an extra layer of warm.

The dog was fast asleep in front of the fireplace. What great company he is this evening, I thought dryly. Ben was on his way home from up in north country - Canada. I remember the phone ringing in the middle of the night almost a week ago.

Ben's groggy "Hello," and then his jump out of bed had caused me to sit up straight as Ben said, "I'm on my way!"

"Where? What's happening?" I asked.

"It's Dad - he's had a stroke - he's in the hospital - that was Dan Bartlett, the town sheriff - Anne - I have to go up there - there's no one but me."

"I know, Ben," I said as I got out of bed and groped for my robe and then hurriedly struggled to get it on and wrap it around me as quickly as possible on this cold early morning. Ben was an only child. He didn't have six brothers like I did and was always a bit envious I grew up in a big family. I, of course, dreamed of being an only child, not wild about getting the 'stuff' knocked out of me by six older brothers all the time as I was growing up.

"I'll put on some coffee and pack your duffel bag," I said yawning. I stumbled around in the kitchen, crashing and banging around in my urgency to get the coffee brewing.

"Are you okay out there?" called Ben with a chuckle.

"Yes, fine . . . just clumsy," I answered as I dropped a spoon on the floor and then heard the shower door snap close and the water splash on.

I returned to the bedroom and quickly stuffed his duffel bag with the appropriate clothes and threw a plastic bag over his favorite sports jacket. I found his passport in his dresser drawer and put it on top of the completely packed duffel bag and returned to the kitchen to make a few ham and cheese sandwiches, also his favorite. I poured the hot coffee into his driver's tumbler and there was Ben grabbing it all up and he was gone in one big whoosh -- I received a brushed kiss on my check.

"Do you have your passport?" I called. It would be hard for him to get out of Maine and into Canada without one, especially in the middle of the night.

"Yes, got it hon. I'll call you tonight when I know more. Go back to bed and sleep," he called from the garage as he started his Jeep. "Love you!" he called and waved and then he was gone into the dark night.

Sleep now? I thought with you on your way to Canada in eight feet of snow? In all this blasted cold and snow? I knew that no way would I sleep any longer.

I might as well grade some papers I thought as I grabbed my notebooks from my school satchel. Essays. Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" tenth grade essays spewed across the kitchen table. 4 am. Classes didn't begin until 7:55 am - Goodness, I could get a few more essays graded this morning. Just hope they don't put me to sleep, I chuckled.

Surprisingly, that day had gone quickly, and in the late evening Ben called from Canada. Dad was conscious - he had had a medium strength stroke and was recovering well. Ben said he would spend the next several days checking into rehab facilities for his father for when he left the hospital. His Dad would need physical therapy to help him with a weakened leg and arm and a little help with his speech. Ben would be there a few more days until Dad was situated in rehab.

After close to a week in Canada with his father, Ben was returning home tonight, Christmas Eve. He wanted to turn around the next day and both of us go back to Canada to help his father ease and adjust into physical therapy.

Winter break from work was a complete two weeks this year, so we would have the time to do this. We were suppose to go skiing this break with some friends, but that was not to be now.

I was standing in the kitchen looking out the windows into the back yard and watched as snowflakes dotted and adhered to the cold glass window. The snowflakes were all different shapes and sizes and glimmered on the window as each design was lit from the glow of the fire from the fireplace behind me.

Life is so delicate and precious, I thought, as I viewed each and every separate snowflake. Each design was unique. Like each one of us. So precious, so unique. Ah, my precious Ben - truly like no other. He was so loving, calm and laid-back, except when his father had suffered a stroke, he was a bit anxious then, but it was not hard to have a successful marriage with Ben.

He took each day and event in stride. Not like me, able to crumble and crash into a million pieces when disaster struck. And, then he lovingly and patiently helped me pick up the pieces and put everything back together again.

Ben is able to stand so much disappointment better than I am, I thought. They had certainly been through a lot in the last several years, but Ben had stood strong through it all. He patiently waited for me to pull it all together. But, I can't think about this now. I will only dissolve into tears, and I needed to be happy now and happy for both of us.

I can't wait for Ben to return tonight. I have missed him so much! I thought. I took a few more sips of coca and turned around and walked to the big comfy chair by the fireplace. I settled in and listened to the Christmas carols quietly playing.

"Oh Holy Night . . . ." was the last thing I remember hearing as I drowsily laid back and . . . .

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The delicate snowflake I was watching plastered to the kitchen window suddenly enlarged and a bright light blinded me in both eyes. I took a few steps backwards, stumbling a bit, until I bumped into the kitchen table.

Suddenly, in front of me stood a tall woman with beautiful honey blonde hair, all dressed in white flowing robes. Where those wings at her side? I don't believe in angels, I thought.

"Who are you? How did you get in here?" I asked amazed.

"I am you, yourself, and I and I'm here to keep you company as you wait for Ben," the bright lighted lady said smiling.

"I have news for you . . . .;" the lighted apparition started to say before I rudely interrupted.

"Ben - Oh, God, is it Ben? Has something happened to Ben?" I asked frightfully about ready to faint and only in a voice just above a terrified whisper.

"Ben is on his way -- Ben is fine," said the lighted lady.

"What do you mean you have news for me?" I asked searchingly. Now that we knew Ben's Dad was going to be okay, was there someone in my family who was ill?

"It's about you," said the lighted lady. It is something you have waited for for quite some time now," said the light. "But, first I must show you something," she said quietly.

Suddenly, in a snowy swirl, we were whisked away to a lovely springtime garden - the cold and snow were gone. I was standing in a summer dress and sweater.

Crocuses, daffodils and azaleas were blooming fresh and lovely in different shades and colors and the grass was that lime green color that new grass has in the spring time.

Children were laughing and jumping nearby and playing with a ball.

"I thought you'd like to see her," said the lighted lady. "I think it is an appropriate time," she continued.

"See her - who do you mean?" Then I looked closer at the children and I recognized her. There was Emily - my bright, sweet, lovely, Emily, playing among the children.

"Oh!" I caught my breath - "It's Emily," I said as I began crying softly and quietly. "Who are you, and where am I?" I asked, my heart breaking at the sight of my four year old daughter, Emily.

"You are among the children," said the light - the angel. "All the little children are here in this beautiful garden. You have grieved long enough for Emily, Anne. Now you must see that she is fine and she lives on in her heart and soul - in your heart and soul, Anne. She is in physical form so that you can see her, Anne. She has plenty of playmates - all her hurt and pain is gone, now, she has adjusted to her new life, and she thrives like the other children."

Suddenly, as I looked, Emily looked up and smiled and waved and shouted, "Hi, Mommy - look I'm having fun with my friends - we're playing soccer - watch me!"

Through tears of joy, grief, wonderment, sadness and finally gladness, I watched my dear Emily kick the soccer ball down the field as she joyously ran along with the other children - on wards to make a goal.

"Oh, my Emily --" I began to run toward her, my arms outstretched, but the angel apparition swept in front of me with her robes held wide.

"Anne, you cannot touch her, just as you cannot touch me, but I have brought you here so you can see that Emily is well, happy and adjusted with many friends here," said the angel lady.

"But, where is here? Is this heaven?" I asked

"It is where ever or what ever you want it to be," said the lady of light. "Emily has moved past that tragic night and the tragic car accident. She is whole now and happy and she wants you to be whole and happy now, too," said the lighted apparition.

Suddenly, the snow whirled up again and I was carried back to my kitchen along with the lady angel.

"It's time now for you to move on Anne. It's time for that new baby you and Ben have been trying for the past few months," said the light. "Emily is happy and she wants you to be happy as she is now," said the lighted lady.

"Yes, but are you sure? I have been hesitant - I have missed Emily so - I know Ben is ready - he's been more than ready," said Anne.

"Emily knows you love her, Anne, and that no one can replace that love. She knows from the beautiful children's garden you donated to the city park in her name. Now fill that children's garden with brothers and sisters for Emily, Anne; now is the time," said the angel light.

"Yes, yes, now . . . ."

Anne, Anne, darling, it's Ben, I'm home . . . "

My eyes fluttered open and there was my handsome, beautiful Ben bending over me in the comfy chair by the fireplace.

"I have a Christmas present for you," he said handing me a beautifully wrapped and ribboned box. The clock was chiming midnight.

"How's Dad?" I asked sleepily.

"He's much better and he's looking forward to seeing you," said Ben.

I struggled a bit with the ribbon and paper, so Ben helped me open it.

I opened the box lid slowly and pulled aside the tissue paper and pulled out a beautiful snow globe - inside among the swirling snowflakes was a tiny angel.

"Oh, Ben - it's lovely," I said as I began to cry. "I . . . . "

"Hey, what's my angel crying about on this Christmas Day?" asked Ben as he bent down kissing me on the lips and softly brushing away my tears.

As he did this, Ben noticed a blue pen-like object on the table next to the chair and he picked it up.

"Oh, Ben," I said, as I took the blue object from his hands and turned it over so he could see the huge + on the screen. "I have so much to tell you!"

"Anne," proclaimed Ben as his eyes filled with tears.

"Yes," I said shaking my head affectionately. "Merry Christmas, Ben!

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© 2013 Suzette Walker suzettetaos

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Comments 48 comments

DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

Lovely story. Enjoyed that very much.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

DreamrerMeg: Thanks so much and I am glad you enjoyed it.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

All the elements of a good short story are here. Well done Suzette; loved the story.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thanks so much Bill and Merry Christmas. Glad you enjoyed this.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Wonderfully written story Suzette....loved it. Voted up.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Why Jodah, thank you so much. I am pleased you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for your visit and your comments.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Beautiful Christmas story, I loved it.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 2 years ago from UK

Good story -hope you have a good Christmas


Bettyoverstreet10 profile image

Bettyoverstreet10 2 years ago from Vacaville, Ca.

What a beautiful story! So wisely written, it would be a great help to those who have lost a child or any loved one.

Have a wonderful Christmas!


CraftytotheCore profile image

CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

Wow this is a wonderful story! I'm certainly amazed by your writing here. I read every word. I loved the ending!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 2 years ago from South Carolina

I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful Christmas Story and also loved the illustrations.

Voted up across the board except for funny.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas & Happy New Year,

Gail


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Thats such a beautiful story Suzette, wonderfully told, voted up and shared!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

What a nice, touching story, and so well written.....I smell raw talent here!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Dear suzette, you are such a great storyteller! This is a heartwarming story, so beautiful!

Up and more and sharing

Merry Christmas,

Faith Reaper


carter06 profile image

carter06 2 years ago from Cronulla NSW

I love a Christmas story like this!! it's such a good reminder about the beautiful moments in life..and that faith, hope and love can prevail even after one of the most difficult times a person might ever have to face in life..

lovely story Suzette..Cheers


WriterJanis profile image

WriterJanis 2 years ago from California

Such a wonderful story. I love how descriptive you are. Happy holidays to you!


Ashok Rao profile image

Ashok Rao 2 years ago from Mumbai, India

Suzette I don't know you personally but I am sure you have a variety of talents and you manage them very well. I enjoyed reading this beautiful Christmas story. I was moved. Faith can move mountains, right?


ocfireflies 2 years ago

Suzette,

Your story gave me chill bumps.

Thank You,

Kim


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Becky: Thank you so much. That means alot coming from you and you are such a great storyteller. I appreciate your comments. Have a Merry Christmas!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

leni sands: Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. I hope you have a Merry and good Christmas too!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Bettyoverstreet10: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. If this story could help someone in their grief I would be so happy. I am so glad you enjoyed reading this. You, too, have a wonderful Christmas!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

CraftytotheCore: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I appreciate them and your taking the time to read this. I am so happy you enjoyed this. Merry Christmas!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Gail: Thank you so much for reading this and I am glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you also!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thank you so much, Nell. That means a lot coming from you as you are such a great writer. I am so glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

rebeccamealey: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I am so happy you enjoyed reading this. Merry Christmas!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Faith: Thank you so much and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

carter06: Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely comments. You make some wise statements here. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

WriterJanis: Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely comments. Happy Holidays to you and yours also!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Ashok: Thank you so much Ashok for reading this and for your kind comments. Of course, of all the people I've met on the web, you are the one I wish our paths could cross in person. I think it is because you are a teacher and so interested in literature. I am now retired, so I put my hard earned knowledge to work here through my writings. I have always enjoyed writing short stories and that is my forte. We all have different talents and I find your talents and interests wonderful too. Enjoy the holidays, my friend!

!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Kim: Thank you for reading this and for your comments. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family and congratulations on your son's graduation with such high honors. Both of you are so talented!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 2 years ago

What a beautiful story of hope and renewal. I love the build-up to the climax. Great hub.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

anglnwu: Thank you for reading this and I am so happy you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your lovely comments.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Just a wonderful and delightful Christmas story. Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a bright and shiny New Year.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Gypsy: Thank you so much for reading and I am glad you enjoyed this story. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year also to you and your family.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Beautiful recovery and Christmas story. You paint a beautiful pictures with your words. Up+

Merry Christmas.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Jackie: Thanks so much for reading this and I am glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I was so touched by the message in your story, Suzette. I found it so lovely and a reflection of how God answers our prayers through loving dreams.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

teaches: Thank you for your insightful comments and I am so glad you enjoyed reading this. Yes. I have found answers through dreams that I believe are sent by God to help. You are so intuitive and I always enjoy your visits and comments. Most appreciated.


Sweets21 profile image

Sweets21 2 years ago

This was a beautiful story, well written. I enjoyed reading it!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Sweets: Thank you so much for reading this short story of mine, also. I am so pleased you enjoyed it and your comments make me happy also.


Sweets21 profile image

Sweets21 2 years ago

Well you're very welcome and I'm glad I could make you happy with my comments


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thank you Sweets21 for reading my short stories. I am so pleased you enjoyed this one.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

This is a wonderful feel good story, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Thank you, Jo and I am pleased you enjoyed reading this story.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I don't know how I missed this gem! Well done, Suzette!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM Author

Will: Thank you so much for reading this and I am so pleased your enjoyed it. I appreciate your feedback - especially from a talented writer as yourself.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 11 months ago from Dubai

A beautiful Christmas story, great story and a lovely write.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 11 months ago from Taos, NM Author

Vellur: thank you so much for reading my Christmas story. Glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas, Happy Ramadan, Happy Holidays!

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