Page 18 - Scene Magazine 44-12 December 2018
P. 18

SCENE MAGAZINE’S CHRISTMAS STORY CONTEST
A FICTIONAL STORY BY MARIE LATTA
Christmas Alone
Mary turned off the TV. She was tired of songs about Christmas, ads for Christmas toys, seeing people pushing shopping carts full of gifts for their fami- lies. Bah, humbug. This year she wasn’t celebrating Christmas.
When the phone rang, she checked caller ID, then answered. It was her daughter, calling from Arizona. “Hello, Annie. I’m doing well. How about you?” Everything was fine at Annie’s. They were busy with last-minute shopping and the kids were really hyper. Mary turned to gaze at the huge poinsettia her daugh- ter had sent. “Thank you, honey, for the poinsettia. I set it on the dining room table and it makes the room look just like Christmas. You know I love flowers and I’ll enjoy it for weeks to come.”
It was the year for Annie and her husband, Jack, to spend Christmas with his family and Mary knew her daughter was worried about her being alone, so she tried to reassure her. “I’ll go to church Christmas Eve and Janine and Mark have asked me to their place the next day for Christmas dinner. I’ll have plenty to keep me busy,” she said. “Tim sent me a gift
I haven’t opened yet,” she added. “I’m waiting till Christmas morning.”
The past year had been a sad one.
So many memories. Then the first Easter without Dave. Their anniversary when
she and Dave always went out for lobster dinner. Dave’s birthday – that had been especially hard. And now Christmas. She knew the children missed their dad but at least they had others. Annie would enjoy the day with her husband and two chil- dren. Her son, Tim, working two hundred miles away and newly engaged to be married, had Leslie. He had said he might be coming home to be with her but Mary told him to accept the invitation to spend the day with Leslie’s family. She’d be fine.
She’d lied. Although Janine had invit- ed her, she had declined the invitation. She intended to spend the day alone with thoughts of other Christmases, happier ones. Maybe next year she’d be ready to celebrate. Not this year, not without Dave.
Hanging up the phone, she
wiped away a tear and told herself to straighten up, think of other people with worse problems. Think of something she could do to make the holiday better for someone else. She was still trying when the doorbell rang.
“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Anderson.” Brian Porter, the eight-year-old from next
door, stood on the porch, holding out a homemade card. “I made this for you.”
“Thank you, Brian.” She took the card he handed her. “This shows real imagina- tion. I’ve never seen a Christmas tree with a rainbow behind it. You’re quite an art- ist.” She opened the door wider. “Would you like to come in for a minute? I made gingerbread men this morning and I don’t have anyone to eat them. How about a couple with a glass of milk?”
Brian often came over when she was out working in the yard or sitting on the porch. He was a happy little boy, in spite of the fact that he was on his own most of the time after school, and there weren’t other children living nearby. Sometimes she read stories to him or they put a puzzle together. She already had his gift wrapped. They had been looking through a catalog one day when he pointed at a toy tractor and said he wished he had one like that. She’d wait a bit longer, though, to give it to him.
As they sat at the kitchen table, Brian with his milk and gingerbread man,
Mary with a cup of coffee, she felt more cheerful than she had felt all day. “Are you excited for Santa to come?” she asked. “It won’t be long now.”
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