A CHRISTMAS STORY

 

The snow-covered plain with rolling hills stretched endlessly – as far as the eye could see. Sun bouncing up off the snow threw blinding white light into the clear deep blue sky. Two silhouettes could be seen in front of the sun. They sat cross-legged facing each other.

 

Her legs were crossed as she sat in the passenger seat of the pickup truck. The stale smell of marijuana filled the cab. Gray buildings blended seamlessly with the gray asphalt below and the gray sky above. They were at a dead stop with an endless line of cars both behind them and in front of them. She looked out onto the sidewalk where a man was stretched out on cardboard. His eyes were hollow with hopelessness and hunger.

 

Her eyes shifted and time bounced forward. She saw endless oceans - in places pristine, wild and deep blue - in other corners garbage choked off and killed all life. Debris drifted in and out on a brown lifeless tide. Her eyes yet again shifted and she saw forests endless and wild - filled with abundant life - in other corners stumps and an ocean of brown mud stretched far and wide. 

 

This was the path that had led her to where she now stood. They were tired and had come a long way. A child with flaming red hair and deep blue eyes stood in the snow clinging to her leg. She had stopped and was looking out across the plain. Her husband stood behind her following her gaze. His whispered words were barely audible, “Children…they are children.”

 

“We cannot go this way.” Her child grabbed her hand and was lifted up onto her shoulder as she continued to watch the two silhouettes. The child too followed her gaze. She spoke again, “They are not children we have to go back now.” “What do you mean they are not children? It is clear as day they are young children. We have to go over there!” The child with an incredulous smile and light in her eyes answered, “No they are not Dad, they are very old.” She then began to laugh and cry at the same time and with tears rolling down her cheeks saying, “They are doing stuff!”

 

She gently pushed her husband by the shoulder turning him around. “Let’s go!” They turned together beginning the long walk back. In a last effort the man held up his hand stopping them and they turned to look back. For a moment nobody spoke as they stared out across the empty plain. “They are gone – they are fucking gone.” The wind quickly carried his words away.

 

The wind in a rush swept out across the empty plain. Snow and light were picked up and spun into the deep blue sky in a mini tornado. Light glittered off each individual flake creating a dazzling display of color and light. They clung to each other as they spun at breath-taking speeds. His hands were buried in the hair behind her head. Her arms were around his waist. Heads rested on each other’s respective shoulders as they spun skyward mixing and blending with color and light.  

 

The child intuitively had known the truth. They were very old. They had been together a long time. And yes…they were indeed doing stuff. They were moving each other, feeling the changes…moving and manipulating…stuff across the landscapes of time and space. His hands went deeper cupping the back of her head. Her arms tightened pulling him closer.

 

Crystal blue eyes and flaming red hair tinged with gray looked down on the young girl in her image. “And that child, is your Christmas Eve bedtime story. It happened when I was your age, and it seems like yesterday. “Where are they now?” The tears were again welling in her eyes as she answered, “Out there…somewhere. They come see me once in a while.” While gently tapping a finger on the child’s chest she added, “And they know all about you!”

 

With an incredulous smile and light in her eyes the child began to laugh and cry at the same time.