This is a work of fiction.
The house is quiet.
The room is full of light.
I walk over to the wall where all the stockings are hanging.
One of them has my name on it.
When I was a kid, I used to wish for mountains of presents.
I walk across the room, my footsteps echoing on the marble floor, and look behind the tree.
On the wall, there’s a bunch of electrical outlets, many of them occupied by plugs for lights.
Christmas came, but there were only the presents Mom and I could make for each other. I would save bits of twine and pick up things people threw away, and make bracelets and necklaces for Mom.
She’d make me clothes that needed to last for the next year.
She wore my handmade jewelry, and I tried not to get the clothes dirty or outgrow them.
Back here, there’s a door, and Dylan’s mom has given me the key.
Does anyone in Dylan’s huge family even know what Christmas means?
I doubt it.
They’ve never been cold like the baby Jesus.
One winter, we couldn’t pay our electricity bill. It was either that or no running water, so we piled on the blankets and ate out of cans.
This room is a mockery of Christmas. Gold without wisdom, light without meaning, and gifts without love.
I get teh cart and begin to take down the stockings.
When it’s full, I open the door and push the laden cart out into the night.
The cold air in my lungs makes me feel sure that I am doing the right thing.
Jesus suffered for all of us, and the man I thought I loved knows nothing about what Christmas means.
In the garage, I see how old and rusty my truck is compared to the other vehicles parked there.
I unload the cart and go back to the house.
After I’ve put the last gift into my truck, I get my big flashlight and roll the empty cart back into the house.
Carefully, I unplug all the lights, and then I leave, making sure the door locks behind me.
Back in the garage, I notice there are some cans of gas. My tank is almost empty, so I fill it.
I get into my truck, start it up, and press the button to open the garage door.
Once I’m out, I press the button to close the door, and then I get out of my truck.
I walk back into the garage through the regular door, put the key on a shelf, go out, and make sure the door locks behind me.
As I drive away, I wonder what Dylan and his family will think when they open the door and find the Christmas room dark and empty.
Maybe they’ll understand, maybe they won’t, but the deed is done, and now it’s time to go home and get some sleep.
To whom it may concern:
This is Elaine. I took everything out of your Christmas room on Christmas morning and have thrown it all away.
Enclosed, you’ll find a check for an amount that I believe is equal to or greater than what you paid for all of it. It made such a big dent in my bank account that I won’t be able to finish college, but at least you might now have gained some miniscule understanding of what you are mocking with that room full of gold and expensive gifts.
Oh, and Dylan, it’s over.