Home for Christmas

by Elly Baker

White powder falls from the sky

Frozen gale travels through the air

Touches your nose

Turns it into a cherry

on top of a milkshake

Almost there

Feet crunch ice against each step of the stairway

Under the patio

Its roof a shield from wind

In front of you the entrance to your home

Its door a gatekeeper

Deep breaths

Your feet on the mat reading “Welcome”

You grip the door handle

frigid against your palm like a can of soda

Wood creaks

Warm air brushes your face

You step in.

 

The artificial fireplace burns

its plastic logs perpetually

Sending waves of heat

Your raw nose stings

and your ears burn

A snowflake dashes in before you close the door

Disappears in a wisp, still floating in the air

Your eyes snap forward

Pine tree, PVC

ornamented with a rainbow of items

you almost laugh

Black leather couch you don’t remember

price tag hanging from the back

On that sofa she sits

Mother in a turtleneck sipping her wineglass

Door shuts, her head turns around

Eyes meet yours

Yours move away

then back to her.

 

“Hi, Mom.”

 

“What the hell are you wearing?”

She sets down her drink

Fists on her hips

head cocked to the left.

 

Button-up shirt, red-striped tie

Black jeans

Her eyes scan

Your left hand grips your right shoulder

Heartbeat hurries its pace

“I’m wearing clothes.”

 

She steps out from behind the couch

Comes forward

Examines you closely

Her light blonde hair and its grey roots

Permanent scowl, crow’s feet

Mouth is neutral

But eyes dart around your body

still in disbelief

“Why do you look like this?”

 

Heart is hot

Melting through your binded chest

Plain for her to see

your real self

“I’m changed now, I hope you see.”

 

“Of course I see.”

 

You hesitate to say it

Your heart ahold of your throat

Glasses fog up

“Except I’m not changed. This is me.”

 

A sigh releases from her mouth

You shiver

She turns around

Picks up her glass

“It’s all fine and cute

As long as that’s all it is

But why now? Why Christmas?”

 

“I didn’t want to wait.”

 

Her icy stare

Your eyes at your shoes

Fireplace burns bright

Your cheeks the same

“The greatest gift you could have given

would have been to keep it in.

Just for Christmas.”

 

 

Saltwater drips down

Cools your glowing cheeks

Feet one step back

No words.

 

The wine glass is empty

“I can’t do this right now

Can we talk about it later?”

 

You nod

Of course not

but you nod

“I’ll go get my suitcase.”

 

You grip the doorhandle

Cool metal turned

Door opens

Blast of cold

Tears freezing

You step outside

Go to your car

Get your things

to unpack

 

Elly Baker is a student at Georgia Southern University and a prospective writer. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects including time, gender, pop culture, absurdism, and laser swordfights in space. She can be contacted for any inquiries at elly.baker@yahoo.com.

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