"The best gift an author can give a reader is a well written story. The best gift a reader can give an author is a well read one." D L Richardson
To say thank you and happy holidays I have written a short but sweet Christmas story.
“Forever Christmas Eve”
(C) 2011 D L Richardson
Becky held the ribbon in place with her finger while Mother tied it around the box. “Now what?” Becky asked.
“It’s a gift,” said Mother . “We need to give it to someone.”
Becky looked around the kitchen and saw a cat. As if reading her mind, Mother said, “Dexter already has a present under the tree. We need to give this to someone who needs it.”
So Becky spent the morning holding the box and staring at everyone. On the bus. In line at the checkout. Inside stores.
In the supermarket, an elderly lady was struggling to push the trolley. “What about her? She looks like she deserves a special present.”
Mother shook her head. “Is the box so heavy you would give it away to the first person you met?”
Becky sighed. “All right. I’ll keep looking.”
Waiting in line at the bank, Becky asked, “What about the manager. He looks exhausted.”
Mother frowned. “You’ll know the person the moment you see him or her.”
Becky wasn’t so sure.” “Is there a time limit?” she asked.
“We have until midnight Christmas Eve. After that, the gift is useless.”
Christmas Eve was today. By four o’clock Becky still had not found anyone to pass her gift onto. She began to worry she would run out of time.
As usual on Christmas Eve, stores were open late for people to grab last minute presents. At eight o’clock, as Becky and Mother walked past the hair salon, Becky felt a chill in the air. She saw a woman hovering near the doorway of the salon, casting nervous looks inside. The woman appeared to be talking to herself.
“What is she saying?” Becky whispered.
Mother closed her eyes. “Listen and you’ll hear.”
Becky did and heard the muddled noise of a thousand voices. She took a deep breath and focused only on the woman.
“I shouldn’t. But if I don’t pay the rent I’ll lose the kids. No! I won’t do it. If I end up in prison I’ll lose them forever. Oh, what am I going to do? I need money... but stealing?”
It was then Becky noticed the handbag sitting on the small table, the woman it belonged to was having her hair shampooed at the basin across the room. Twenty feet separated the woman from her purse, and it was in danger of being stolen.
Becky watched a river of tears run down the cheeks of the woman who was standing outside the salon contemplating stealing a handbag. The box in Becky's hands began to shake. She stepped out of the darkness and held the gift out in front of her.
The woman, her face awash with surprise and guilt, began to back away. “Where did you come from?”
Becky pushed the box into the woman’s hands. “This box is filled with hope. I wish to give it to you.”
The woman nervously accepted the gift. Then her eyes widened in fright. “The kids… they’re home alone.”
“They’re safe, but go. They need their mother.”
Later, Becky and Mother stood in front of a giant Christmas tree. The branches shook as dozens of angels twirled and twirled until they were transformed into decorations on the tree. As the air stirred and captured Becky’s wings, she thought of the hope she’d delivered today to the woman who had lost her job, and she thought how wonderful it would be if it was Christmas Eve every day. Because on Christmas Eve the angels on the trees came to life to deliver special gifts to the world; gifts of peace, faith, hope, strength, courage and goodwill to those who needed it the most.