A photograph, a blanket
Some mistletoe, confetti snow
An angel to put on a tree.
Santa Claus in crayon,
To make you smile today;
While you’re so far away.
So I’m sending you a little Christmas,
Wrapped up with love.
A little peace, a little light,
To remind you of
How I’m waiting for you,
praying for you
I wanted you to see.
So I’m sending you a little Christmas,
Till you come home to me.
The bright wrapping paper makes Amy smile as she takes the gift from under her tree. It’s odd that she’s almost 30 and she still gets that twinge of excitement on Christmas morning. This particular Christmas morning, though, there is no one to share that with. She’ll go to her family’s place later, but the person she most wants to spend today with has to go do the “family thing” as well. I’m not going to think about that.
She takes the package and peels the paper off. It’s a non-descript box with writing all over it in no particular pattern. Gen is good with the “random” stuff. She reads some of them. It’s a listing of all the houses we’ve done together. Awww how cute!
Each house means something different to her: the argument at 342 Westmoor; kissing behind the toy box at 8834 Daledon; writing their names in the cement at 596 Fountainview. She smiles and traces the letters of several addresses before opening the box. Inside she finds a little note:
I’m so sorry that I can’t be with you on Christmas morning to see your face light up when you open this. But please know that I’m here in spirit, opening my present with you, and then taking you back to bed for your “real” present!
And keep in mind as you explore this gift that you’re so hard to buy for that I just gave up! But not without a fight! =-)
I adore you and will be there for New Year’s.
Aww. God, I miss you, Gen. Please hurry home to me, okay? Wiping away a tear, she digs into the box a little further. Her hand falls on something plastic.
She wraps her hand around it awkwardly and pulls it from the Styrofoam. “A binder?” She opens it up and gasps. In each page protector there is a gift certificate to a different store or restaurant. She can shop at pretty well every store downtown. Her eyes well up when she realizes they’re in order by “type” and there’s a tool section. Home Depot. Lowe’s. Carter’s. The Tool Shack. There’s a fast food section. Wendy’s. McDonald’s. Hardee’s. KFC. There’s a restaurant section. Olive Garden (my favorite). Roadhouse. La Fiesta.
There’s even a “girlie” section. Manicures. Hair cuts. Tanning. She laughs out loud. “I don’t tan, Gen!” She closes the binder and clutches it to her chest. It must have taken forever for her to gather them all! And the money she spent! There wasn’t a certificate in there for less than $15! And there must be 40 or more in there!
She whispers to herself, “Oh, Gen, I love you! Merry Christmas.”
Some gingerbread, a candy cane
A stocking I made with your name.
I filled it with your favorite things.
A way to say I love you,
Like kisses in the air
Hoping you’ll feel me there.
Home – into these arms of mine.
Home where you belong.
Gen rushes down her parent’s stairs as if she was still 6 and believed whole-heartedly in Santa. She nearly knocks over her mother, “‘cuse me mama. Sorry.”
Her mother just chuckles and gets out of her way, “Careful so you don’t kill yourself or someone else, Genny.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Gen can barely contain herself as she approaches the tree. The gift pile grew significantly over the course of the night.
Even though her parents told her about Santa many more years ago than she would like to admit to, they still enjoy seeing their children’s faces light up when gazing upon the tree on Christmas morning.
“Wow!” She’s genuinely stunned at the enormity of her parent’s generosity. But she’s not going to worry herself with those gifts just yet. She’ll wait until her brother gets home. She’s looking for the gift from the one she loves with all her heart. She gets down on her knees and crawls to the back of the tree and decides to work her way forward. But as she begins to look and begins to fail miserably at finding it, her heart sinks. It came, didn’t it? I remember mama saying it came. She said she’d put it out on Christmas morning. Where the hell is it? She’s practically throwing gifts now, frantic to find what her lover’s sent her.
“Hey, hey. What’s the matter Genny?” her father approaches with a gentle smile.
She sighs and sits back on her heels, “Daddy, I’m looking for the gift from Wynn.”
He chuckles softly and sticks out his hand for her to take, “You won’t find that under there, Genny. Come with me.”
Confused, she takes his hand and follows him to the back bedroom. He swings the door open and gestures with a smile. She looks around the room. Is this a joke? “Okay, where is it?”
“You’re not looking hard enough.” When her face falls, signaling that she’s tired of this game, he whispers, “It’s not wrapped, babygirl.”
Her eyes fall on a “foreign” object in the room and she gasps. Her hand flies to her mouth as the tears begin falling. She rushes to her gift and kneels before it. Her mind goes back..way back.
“Did you ever have one growing up?”
She smiled at Amy, “No. My mom said that you don’t get one until you fall in love with someone. I just resigned myself to never having one. It almost sounds like a fairy tale object, doesn’t it? Kinda silly.”
Amy had smiled at her and touched her arm gently, “Not silly at all. And you’ll have one, Gen. One day.”
Gen ran her hand along the top and gulps hard. Oh Amy, it’s spectacular. It’s everything I ever wanted and then some. She checks it over, every inch of the outside, and decides it’s perfect. It’s exactly what she would have wanted for herself. She opens the lid and gasps again. The tears flow like the love in her veins. Routed on the inside lid of her handmade hope chest are the words, “And they lived happily ever after…”