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Christmas Slipping Away (standard:romance, 2474 words)
Author: Bob KainAdded: Nov 26 2000Views/Reads: 2640/1433Story 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 

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

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 

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 

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