A Broken Christmas | Part I
Posted December 28th, 2014 by Confuzzled
in lost inbetween dreams and reality.
AN- Please leave some CC because I would really love to improve on this story. And if you have any other title ideas, they would be very welcome. :) hope you enjoy and comment your opinions!
I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
and presents under the tree
The glass was frosted over with sweet-peppermint breath and the crumbs of frosted Christmas cookies. A trail of ripped wrapping paper and crushed bows snaked throughout the small apartment. The colorful trail covered up the stains of Christmas dinner- cranberries, burnt glazed ham and some mashed potatoes with the peels hidden in between. The little "monster" that created this mess was tucked away in her small bed, hopefully dreaming about sugar plum fairies and Santa Claus even though Christmas Day was over. Her mother was draped over an old rocking chair, her weary eyes peering out the window at the inky black sky. Her once neat and well-kept bun seemed to have exploded into a mess of frizzy chocolate tendrils and slipping bobby pins. The style fell out when she made a mad dash to save the burning ham and when her sweet child was screaming to open presents soon.
The mother sighed as her eyes drifted towards the picture frame on the coffee table. Carefully, she grabbed the frame and held it in front of her sullen navy blue eyes. Her proud and ever-so-handsome husband stared back at her in his precise military uniform. His thick blonde hair was brushed gently across his tall forehead, and he wore a crisp hat that accentuated his prominent cheekbones and intelligent green eyes. She gently caressed his cheek, but then scoffed as she realized it was glass; it wasn't real. It would be so much better if you were here, she silently spoke to her far away husband. Her painted lips slowly curved up into a small smile. She fondly remembered Christmas two years ago when her baby was a mere age of two and her man was home.
“Dada!” Carrie’s young voice chirped as her father lifted her higher and higher in the air. Her sweet young face was lit up in a mask of joy and wonder. As she went up, her fluffy red and green tutu bobbed up with her. Her thin blonde hair was carefully swept away with a headband decorated with reindeer.
Teresa laughed and reached out to touch her husband’s arm. “Be careful Justin, you don’t want to let her fall.” Justin’s eyes flickered from his wife and his daughter’s faces.
Playfully he pushed Carrie into her beautiful mother’s arms and crossed his own, a faux pout playing on his face. “Well then Carrie, I guess your mother doesn’t trust me anymore. Too bad, because she is the most beautiful person I have ever met.” Teresa rolled her dark blue eyes and turned Carrie to face her. “Men these days. Carrie, I guess it will just be you and me for Christmas this year.” Carrie’s small mouth opened up into a squeal as her mother tickled her gently. Teresa was too busy playing with her girl to realize that Justin left and came back in with a thick, golden bound book. Her eyes sparkled as she sat down on the couch and bounced Carrie up and down.
“Story time!” Justin proclaimed, siting down in the old rocker by the window. He opened up the big book and turned it around so that Carrie and Teresa could see the pictures. "The night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." Throughout the whole book, Justin's face shifted into different expressions, and his voice rose higher or dived lower depending on the character. Although Teresa had heard this story a million times before,it never got old, especially when Justin read it.. Her thoughts drifted off as she remember one Christmas when she and Justin were still courting. She was sick with the flu, but he still made the point to come over to her house and read the poem to her, at her bedside. Now, here she was, a loving wife and successful business owner of a popular hair salon, with a handsome and caring husband and an adorable daughter. What more could she ask for?
Teresa was still reminiscing at the end of the story, and she laughed gently when she noticed that Carrie was fast asleep in her arms.
“I’ll be right back,” She whispered to Justin, who winked in reply.
After she tucked her sweet, sleeping girl into her crib, she sauntered back into the family room, a big smile spreading on her petite face.
Justin’s back was facing towards her, his body positioned towards the window. Teresa stood in silence for a minute, then she went up and placed her head against him. “I wish it was a white Christmas,” she muttered.
Justin laughed and hugged his wife. “Me too, but Mother Nature never seemed like the one to be giving Christmas presents.”
Teresa chuckled, and leaned into the embrace. She took a deep breath and inhaled the woodsy smell of Justin’s red cable knit sweater. “I’m going to get some egg nog. Do you want some?” She asked teasingly, for she knew that he ranked eggnog right along with rotten eggs and sour milk.
He shook his head and laughed, but something was amiss in his expression.
Teresa opened her mouth to say something, but instead wiped her hands on her simple black dress and walked to the kitchen to pour herself a cup of eggnog.
When she walked back into the room, Justin was sitting in the chair, his head in his hands. Teresa suspected that was just tired, so she went started to go back into the kitchen to make some coffee.
“Terese, stop.” Justin’s voice was indeed tired, but it was laced with something else.
Teresa nodded, surprise indented on her face. “What is it dear?” She sat down on the dark couch and folded her hands neatly.
Maybe something happened at work, she thought. Did he get fired?
“I really didn’t want to tell you on Christmas,” Justin started, running his strong hands through his thick blonde hair. “But I- I have to leave sooner than I thought.”
Teresa nodded slowly, trying to decipher what he was saying. A business trip, perhaps?
Justin’s bright green eyes met Teresa’s dark blue ones. His eyes shifted away as he cleared his throat. “I’m being deported. I was drafted into the war.”
Shock. That’s all Teresa could feel-pure cold shock. Her mouth opened in a silent gasp. “Deported?” She whispered, tears building up in her eyes.
Justin walked over to the couch and sat next to his wife. He took her hand and continued softly, “I leave in a week. I’m so sorry that I had to tell you now darling, but I wanted you to be prepared.”
Teresa just kept staring at the ground. It shouldn’t be such a surprise, her thoughts scolded her. Young, strong , men are being deported left and right.
“How long will you be gone?” Teresa’s voice quavered with the weight of the question. Her timid eyes met Justin’s, and she squeezed his hand.
He let go of her hand and walked towards the window again. “I don’t know. They said anywhere from couple of months to-“ His voice cracked as he finished the sentence. “- to a couple of years.”
A small tear ran down Teresa’s cheek. A couple of years.
Justin laughed, a short, cold sound. “I’m sure it will only be 6 or 7 months or so, I mean they have a ton of young men. “ He turned around to face Teresa. “I’ll probably be home before Christmas.” He went back to staring at the stars, the endless oblivion of uncharted territory.
Teresa sat in the awkward silence, not sure of what to say. Should she comfort him? Should she kiss him and tell him it will be alright? What should she do?
Her battle is interrupted by the sound of soft crying. Teresa’s heart slowly broke into thousands of little pieces when she realized it wasn’t her.
“I’m sorry,” Justin muttered, wiping his nose on his sweater sleeve. “I’m such a coward.”
“No, no you’re not.” Teresa said defensively, jumping up to her husband’s side. She gently turned him around so he would face her square in the eye. She pushed away all other emotions and tried to keep a dry face. “You are the bravest man I know, and I am really not just saying that. Justin, do you hear me?” Teresa’s wish failed, and her voice cracked as she pulled Justin close. “You are the bravest man here at home, and I know you will be the bravest man on that battle field.” The soft light shone on the tears that slipped down her cheeks. “When you’re fighting out there don’t remember you have a beautiful daughter and a wife who loves you more than anything waiting at home. “ Justin pulled Teresa closer and whispered, “I will never forget. And I will come home as soon as I can. Before next Christmas. ” He pulled back and looked at Teresa lovingly. “I love you Terese.” Teresa smiled and put her hand on her husband’s cheek. “And I love you.” She leaned close and-
Teresa tossed the frame onto the parallel couch across the room and deflated into the rocking chair. Tears came faster than she hoped, and soon she was shuffling across the room to the kitchen to grab a box of tissues. Cold leftover food covered the table more than the fraying table cloth did, and the floor was a mess of towels and flour. Before she could reach the tissue box, the woman tripped over a stray toy, and her weary head hit the floor hard. She collapsed onto the floor, her chest heaving and her head pounding. Tears came freely now and her voice made the sounds of a wounded animal.
"Why is this so hard!" She yelled, emotion cracking her voice like shattering glass. Only the heater replied back with its croaked mutter. She placed both of her hands on the wooden floor and took deep breaths to calm herself down. Her emotions flew throughout her head and dizzied her vision. A minute and many deep breaths later, Teresa stood up carefully and grabbed the box of tissues. Before she could sit down in the rocking chair again, the doorbell rang. Quizzically, she glanced at the clock that tolled back at her 9:30. She strolled to the door, and opened it fast, hoping it was just some late package or something.
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