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>Red Writing Hood: Christmas

December 17, 2010

>They were newlyweds, and money was tight.

He’d been at sea for two months. The autumn had been cold, colder than normal. But everything was cold, to her. Even the glass doorknobs she loved so much when they bought the house were unfriendly now, holding in the cold and chilling the palms.

It was their first Christmas tree, just the two of them. She couldn’t run down to Heironimus like the other ladies on the street, to buy ornaments and strings of bubble lights. He was just an enlisted man. She was crafty, though, and went to the 5 and dime instead, buying boxes of globes, plain green and cream, wrapped in glossy floss.

She sat up late for three nights, pinning pearls and bits of rick rack; each now more beautiful and intricate than anything she could have bought.

Gone were the haphazard trees of her childhood, with sloppy handfuls of tinsel clumped on the branches that her brothers just snatched from the bag and threw. Gone were the jumble of old-fashioned ornaments from the 30s and 40s that her mother had kept all those years.

The night before his ship was due in, she hung the last of her handiwork and stood back. It was a small tree, but with the string of white fairy lights and those cream and gold and avocado green ornaments, it looked like something from the Ladies Home Journal.

It was just right for their first Christmas tree, just the two of them.

Snow lay heavy around the front door and she pulled on his boots over three pairs of socks. Never did she imagine herself shoveling snow, certainly not all those summers she lay on the beach with Marilyn in the hot Southern California sun, burning her skin to a deep bronze.

Never did she imagine living in New England, either. But she loved it. She loved the Currier and Ives feeling of winter, and the way the neighbors Christmas lights glowed through the icicles hanging off the eaves. She even loved living alone during the long weeks he was away at sea.

It was lonely, of course, at times. But she was making friends. There were other Navy wives in the neighborhood and they would stop by for coffee in the late afternoons. They would talk about starting families and recipes and what they missed most about their hometowns. Only she didn’t miss much about hers. Her new life, that was where she wanted to be.

Independent.

When she did get lonely, she pulled out the undershirt she made him leave behind, smelling of aftershave and him. She’d cuddle it at night and dream of when he would be home, of how she would meet him at the dock, and what she would wear. She had cut her hair right after they were married, but she could still pin it into a chignon. It made her feel grown up, wearing it back like that. Older than just 18.

Her new coat made her feel like Jackie Kennedy.

He would be standing at the railing with all the other boys, waving and watching as the port came into view. He usually saw her before she saw him. From a distance, the sailors all looked the same lined up at the rail. Blue collars and white rolled hats…by the time she caught his eye he was already smiling down at her.

This post is in response to a prompt from The Red Writing Hood.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2010 7:02 pm

    >Beautiful! You have such a way with bringing images to life.

  2. December 17, 2010 8:45 pm

    >So very sweet, Adelle!

  3. December 17, 2010 9:13 pm

    >I love how timeless this story feels, her ingenuity with the Christmas tree, the layers of socks in his boots, independence and feeling like Jackie Kennedy. This piece made me want to have tea with her.

  4. December 17, 2010 10:17 pm

    >This was such a pleasure to read! I want to know more about these two and what the future holds for them!

  5. December 17, 2010 10:22 pm

    >I can picture the tree. It sounds like something out of a magazine 🙂

  6. December 18, 2010 1:49 am

    >You are really enjoying this fiction stuff, aren't you? I remember when we both first started out w/TRDC. You said you were no good at it. Methinks you are too humble. Either that, or you lied! LOL! This is awesome!

  7. December 18, 2010 1:59 am

    >Just lovely. It made me think of my parents (my father was a navy man). Very nice. I could picture the beautiful, intricate ornaments. Now I want to try making them, lol.

  8. December 28, 2010 6:01 pm

    >That was great! Fiction that rings so true. 🙂

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