Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas 1973

I sat and watched her, the woman that would eventually become my mother, as she opened her first gift that Christmas morning. She was beautiful. Her brown hair shimmered in the lights of the tree. Her skin glowed with excitement and anticipation. Her hands were long and slender as they tore at the candy-cane paper. I smiled, happy to join this little scene at some point in the future. I traced my lips. It matched her smile. I would have a smile like hers. My teeth would be whiter. I never wanted to be a smoker, something she was very good at and avid about. Not that I could actually predict how my life would really be once I was there. I would only have this level of consciousness while I remained in heaven. For now, I was allowed to watch. It wasn’t my turn yet.

As the thought floated through the universe of my mind, my eyes fell on her stomach. The Christmas before it had been flat. Taut. Now, it was swollen. A large round tomb carrying what would be my eldest sister. In heaven, we had been acquaintances. On Earth, we would be sisters. We would share happy moments like the one I was witnessing.

I watched her all day; from before she woke until she fell into a deep sleep. But not just her, I watched my father as well. It was God’s Christmas gift to those of us who had not yet fulfilled their own destiny. A 24 hour window into the life we would eventually lead wrapped up in his love and well-being toward us. It was an opportunity to prepare for what would come without the knowledge of how life could twist and turn into something virtually unrecognizable.

Unrecognizable described my father. He was jolly, but something in him was deeply unsettled. It wasn’t obvious. It was the little things that lead me to believe that. It was the soft kiss on my mother’s cheek before he disappeared into the woods behind the house. His exhales, like little clouds in the cold air, were brittle and discolored by chemicals. There were warm embraces followed by him putting a brown bottle to his lips and greedily slurping the contents. Most importantly, it was the lack of affection once he emptied the bottle or ran out of the chemicals he pumped so freely into his body.

Still, they looked happy with each other and just as happy about the little gift she carried in her uterus.

*** From a longer piece for swap-bot. I plan to post the rest over the next few days. I'm hoping this gives me the motivation to finish it before it's due date.***


  1. I have worked my way through the series (backwards, I admit) and eagerly await the next instalment. Don't give up, Heather. You have something here.

  2. I hadn't seriously considered another installment as there was a word limit (which I reached plus a little more). Perhaps I will reconsider now.