Monday, October 28, 2013

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Title: I'll Be Home For Christmas
Genre: Family Friendly
Author: Mary MacFarlane
eBook: Yes

For "Tales by the Tree: An Anthology of Holiday Flash Fiction"

Dedication: To my wonderful parents, David and Susan Seilkop, who kept me believing in the magic of Christmas.  I am so thankful that God gave me such supportive parents!

Emily pressed her nose against the cold windowpane until her breath fogged up her view of the wintery dark world outside.  It was still and quiet except for the occasional breeze that blew some of the snow off of the lighted lamppost in the front yard.  No sign of anyone coming up the driveway.  Heaving a sigh, she swiped the glass clean with a pudgy fist and bounded down the stool, brown pigtails bouncing.  She grabbed her stuffed elephant and hugged it tightly to her chest.

“Mommy, do you believe in Santa?”

Nadine set down the popcorn string she was working on and smiled a tired smile at her 5 year-old daughter.

“Do you believe in Santa?”

Emily thought about it a minute.  “Paul says he isn’t real.  He says that daddies pretend to be Santa and that the mailman eats all of Santa’s letters for breakfast.”

“And what does Emily think?”

“I want Santa to be real,” she said wistfully as she hopped back up the stool to stare out the window.  “He has to be real.”

Nadine went back to stringing on the popcorn kernels.  Life hadn’t been easy since her husband had disappeared in the terrible blizzard last year.  They had managed to scrape by so far, but finances were getting tighter all of the time and she really didn’t want to have to search for a full time job outside of the home.  She didn’t want Emily to be just another daycare kid.

Elvis started crooning “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” on the record player.  Tears welled up in her eyes.  Tom would never be coming home for Christmas again.  Quickly she dabbed her eyes with the sleeve of her sweater and stole a glance at Emily, but thankfully the little girl was still occupied gazing out the window.

“Good kids get what they asked Santa for, right Mommy?”

“Yes, darling.”

“Good.  I was especially good this year!”

“Yes, you were, darling.  I’m sure Santa made Ellie a nice sweater.”

A suppressed giggle came from the window.

“Emily, why do you keep looking out the window?  Come and help Mommy finish decorating for Santa.”

The brown pigtails shook in a vigorous no.  “I have to keep watching!”

“Watching for what, sweetie?”  Another suppressed giggle.   Nadine shook her head and smiled again as she tied off the end of the string.  It would be time for bed soon and the few measly presents she had managed to put together from “Santa” would go under the Charlie Brown tree.  She had spent hours at night knitting the little cardigan for that stuffed elephant.

The popcorn strung across the mantel, the cookies and milk set on the table, they were ready for Christmas.  Nadine rolled her shoulders in a stretch and crossed over to the window to wrap her arms around her daughter.

“Bed time, Emily,” she whispered.  The little girl didn’t budge from her perch.  “Bed time, Emily!” she said a little louder.

“Shhh!” Emily put a finger over her lips, head tilted as her young ears picked up some sound Nadine couldn’t hear.  Then it came, softly at first, then gradually louder.  The jingle of bells.  What was this?  Some kind neighbour helping make their Christmas magical?

She gasped as an over-laden sleigh hauled by eight caribou settled onto their driveway.  In the driver seat sat a rather obese man in a red fur coat who turned and waved at them.  Out of the sleigh tumbled a stick-figure of a man.

“Daddy!” Emily shrieked.  Jumping down from her stool, she scampered to the front door and threw it open.  Dashing out across the lawn, arms outstretched, she tumbled into the waiting arms of the man.  Nadine was still in too much shock to move.  She was sure her eyes were playing tricks on her, but eventually she found her way outside where she could see for herself who this really was.


The face that glanced up was gaunt, gristly, and hardened, but the blue eyes that twinkled underneath were unmistakable.

“Tom!”  Nadine joined the heap in the snow, her laughter bubbling through her tears of happiness as Tom embraced wife and daughter for the first time in a year.

The old man in the sleigh watched the scene with a smile glowing on his wrinkled cheeks, quite forgotten and happy to have it so.  Slapping the caribou with the reigns, he clucked his tongue and backed the loaded vehicle out of the driveway.  As the sleigh began to rise into the air, he cast his eyes on the weathered sheet of notebook paper in his hand.

“Deer Santa Claz,

I now I was a good girl but I dont want any toys.  Pleas find my daddy.  We misss him lots.  I want Mommy to laf agin.  We need my daddy for Krismas.  Thank yoo!

Hugs and kisses,


(812 Words)

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