Photo by Eric Nadeau (Creative Commons)
This is a short story I wrote about a year ago and it was my first adventure into fiction. I revised it some and thought I would share it with you. Thank you so much for reading and have a very Merry Christmas!
The bitter cold worsened with each step in the snow. The glow of red, green, and blue lights reminded him of a roaring fire—familiar, warm and safe. As Will moved down the street, he couldn’t help but glance in the windows and see families celebrating together. The sky darker and Will felt the same inside.
He walked up the driveway, and strolled into the living room falling on the couch. With a push of a couple buttons, he flipped through hundreds of channels on the TV. Several minutes later, he hit the power button again and went into the kitchen.
He picked up a box of cereal. Cereal and soup were the two main staples. One hot and one cold—the best of both worlds. If only everything were so simple. The freshly falling snow hypnotized him as he dreamed of their first Christmas together and looked to the corner where they sat by the fire with hot apple cider in hand.
“Snap out of it,” he thought to himself. A moment later, the phone rang.
Julie’s heart pounded as she stepped off the plane. The terminal in the airport was complete chaos on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. She wiggled her way through as quickly as possible. The conversations had blurred together; it was impossible to say who was to blame or what had really taken place. It was all in the past. It was time to start over.
She could call, but what could she say? Her mouth felt like it was stuffed with cotton. Maybe a phone call was not a very good idea. She tried to walk faster past the moving sea of faces, but felt her heart sink as she saw a young family together with an infant. The dad held the baby girl close and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“This is all what really matters,” a voice inside whispered.
“Uh–hello,” he mumbled into the phone.
“Hey man, where are you? The party started twenty minutes ago. You said you’d bring the ice!”
“Sorry, I’m on my way right now.”
Will rushed out of the house and went to the gas station for ice. The Christmas music played gently over the small speakers and slightly lifted his spirits–until he realized it was one of Julie’s favorite Christmas songs. Time stood still until he felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket with a text message.
“Where are you? Thought you were on your way?”
“At the gas station. Be right there.”
The snow began to swirl down. It was only a few miles to the party, but the black sky with white cascading down made it impossible to focus on anything but her.
Will pulled into the driveway and walked up to the house.
“Where is your tacky Christmas sweater?” Tom asked as he opened the door.
“Oh yeah, I forgot about that,” Will responded.
Will walked into the house with the ice and went directly to the small wooden table. Some two-liter bottles and a punch bowl sat next to the plastic cups. Will held the cup to his lips. The tart flavor of the punch made him gag but he still managed to use the cup as a blockade of sorts; by holding the cup gracefully, he pretended to take sips. He scanned the room to find a safe zone. Men would be safe; inevitably the talk would be about football and work. Women were to be avoided. No unnecessary sympathy, empathy, or questions.
It had been almost six months since Julie left. Maybe some of the others had forgotten and this could be an enjoyable night. He wandered over to the food table. This distraction could give more time to scan. Soon the plate was filled with a couple wheat crackers, some cheese and a couple Christmas cookies.
Will then noticed his neighbor, Pete, across the room and went directly to him. They chatted about the weather, favorite Christmas movies, and predictably football.
“I gotta go Will, nice chatting with ya,” Pete said as he walked away.
Then an attractive twenty something blonde came over with a drink in her hand.
“Hey, you’rrrre cuuuttte,” the girl said.
“Thanks, I’m actually leaving the party now.” Will said.
“Well, do you want some company?” she said.
“Sorry, no thanks.”
As he walked out of the living room, Will noticed his co-worker Rick.
“Wow, I saw what just happened. Are you crazy?” Rick asked.
“Maybe a little,” he answered.
Rick said “I know you have had a rough time, why didn’t you take her home with you?”
“I have enough problems already.” Will replied.
Will began to walk to the door.
“Sorry Tom, I’m not feeling well. I’ll catch you later,” he said.
He walked back outside and felt the cold air enter his lungs. Will dusted off the windshield and felt the snow form into droplets on the steering wheel. The snow came down harder and the car inched home.
Minutes later, he stepped out of the car and noticed some footprints in the snow. He shrugged it off as nothing and walked around the house to the back door. As he turned the corner, he saw Julie. Without saying a word, they threw their arms around each other and pulled tight.