|Christmas Slipping Away (standard:romance, 2474 words)|
|Author: Bob Kain||Added: Nov 26 2000||Views/Reads: 2503/1346||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Christmas was her favorite time of the year. But if I didn't think of something fast, both Christmas and Maggie would be gone.|
Christmas Slipping Away (c)...R. L. Kain "Toss me one of those spare bulbs, will you, babe?" I was on a ladder, putting the last string of colored lights, normal sized lights, not those damn miniatures, on the Christmas tree. As usual, one of the bulbs in this string had burned out. Maggie took one of the replacement bulbs from the box. "Catch!" she yelled, and winged it toward me. The bulb zipped at me, but her aim was a little off. I reached out, the ladder started to wobble, and I pulled my arm back to stabilize it. I watched as the bulb hit the wall, falling to the floor in a hundred pieces. "Nice throw." "If you weren't such a shrimp it would have hit you right in the hand!" she retorted. Maggie was a bit taller than I and delighted in taking advantage of a chance to take a playful jab at my height. We had played this game a hundred times. Someday maybe I'd win. "Okay, okay....uncle. Just hand me another bulb will you?" This time she brought the bulb over and placed it in my hand. I screwed it in, then reached for the big white star and placed it on the leader branch. My job finally finished, I descended the shaky ladder. Maggie would do the rest of the decorating. She was much better than I at arranging the various styles and colors of the ornaments. I stepped away from the tree for a quick inspection. A beautifully shaped, 12 foot balsam fir, it rose between the exposed beams of the sunroom, just shy of touching the slope of the cathedral ceiling. With a self-congratulatory smile on my face I noted to myself that it looked perfect. As I turned from the tree, I noticed Maggie burrowing through the ornament boxes. She pulled pack after pack from the box, then turned to me with an embarrassed look on her face. "I forgot the tinsel," she said sheepishly. Jeez, the tree wouldn't be complete without tinsel and this was Christmas Eve. We had to finish tonight. Too late to stop, I heard my voice saying, "It's okay, I'll run and get some. I know how much you like tinsel." What was I saying? It was eight o'clock, we lived forty minutes from town, and Lord knew if I would be able to find even a convenience store open. Her face brightened. "You will? Thank you, Honey, that's so sweet of you." I looked at her now smiling face, and knew I couldn't change my mind. I'd go, and go gladly, because it would make Maggie smile. Her smile could light up a room. Too bad I hadn't been seeing it all that much lately. If tinsel could make her smile, I'd find it someplace. We had been seeing each other for about six months, living together for two. I knew that I was hopelessly in love with her and she had told me many times that she felt the same. Now we were sharing our favorite time of year. We had talked often of how much each of us enjoyed the Christmas season. Maggie's face glowed like a little kid's when months before we made our plans for decorating the house and the tree, and of exactly how we would spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Things should have been perfect. Now something was going on inside her. For weeks she had been much quieter than normal. Her usual frequent smiles were all too often replaced by frowns and distant gazes. My attempts to talk with her about it were largely unsuccessful. All she could tell me was that things were too good...too comfortable. She thought it couldn't last. Once, she went as far to say that she was actually growing afraid of me. Of all things for her to be afraid of...the one person who wouldn't have hurt her for anything in the world. Still, I knew what she meant. She was afraid of loving me too much, afraid of her vulnerability. Her life up to now could best be described as bittersweet. Huge financial success brought her every luxury she could want, but aside from business she found little but a long string of terrible hurts and Click here to read the rest of this story (183 more lines)
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