Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Stormy Christmas


It happened right before Christmas, my favorite holiday. I sat in the dark and watched the big snowflakes float to the ground as the twinkle lights from the Christmas tree reflected off the window. A perfect Christmas card scene, a storm of shear seasonal perfection conflicting with the stormy aches that tortured my heart.

I glanced at my watch. I’d been gone for half an hour. My family would soon come looking for me. It was wrong to disappear, but I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t feel their touch, couldn’t hear their words, couldn’t bear that look in their eyes.

I had intended to run a lot farther than the waiting room. Knowledge of the fact my parents were hurting as much as I was stopped me in my tracks. Losing one daughter was enough. It would be too much to have another disappear into the night.

But it was my fault she was gone. My fault my family was in so much pain. If they found out my thoughts that night as we all collected in the waiting room, they’d blame me too. How I sat there praying she wouldn’t be in any more pain. And then she wasn’t.

At the time I thought I was being selfless, but as I sat in front of that window, all I wanted to be was selfish. I wanted her back, pain or not, I wanted her back. Tears cascaded down my cheeks causing the Christmas lights to blur into a kaleidoscope. I fought the urge to rip them off the tree, declare all things festive cancelled. Happy times could not be had since she was gone.

I looked at my watch again and pictured my mother asking if anyone’s seen me, my father checking out the chapel and other place he believed I’d go for comfort. I knew they wouldn’t find me, wouldn’t even think to look there. I was partly comforted by this thought, but mostly terrified I was hurting them more.

I lifted my heavy body, weary with emotion, off the semi-padded chair and shuffled to the Christmas tree. My distorted face stared back at me from a silver globe. It felt fitting, now that she was gone nothing would be as it was supposed to be.

My eyes filled again with what I knew would be endless tears as I continued to stare into the ball. A white orb began to form behind me. I blinked the tears away trying to focus on the reflection in the sphere, too frightened to turn around and face it. Was it an angel or a combination of grief and blizzard?

The figure came to focus, my beautiful sister standing behind me. Her smile radiated me with warmth as a sense of peace covered my body. The lights on the Christmas tree grew brighter as I turned to embrace her, but she wasn’t there.

The lights faded back to their normal hue, my sister was indeed gone, but the peace remained. It still snowed in heavy sheets, but the storm in my heart was over.

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