The Christmas Gift

      Oh God, another reason to hate Christmas, Jenny is gone?  I can't bear to read any more of the letter, that would mean the end, but I have to read it, a dated response is needed.  Just a few more drinks of liquid courage, then I will read more.

      Damn these memories, I wish they would go away. They fill my dreams, my every waking thought, reminding me of the wonderful days spent with her. I met Jenny 6 years ago at our office Christmas party. She was the sister of an employee and had agreed to be his date for the night.  I was instantly attracted to her.   She had a warm smile that lit up the room.  Her brother delightfully made the introduction and was soon on his way.  As we spoke her eyes sparkled with interest and I found it hard to not stare into them. I rambled on nervously, telling her my entire life story that evening. I dreaded knowing that the party was drawing to an end. I had to find out if I could see her again. I had to, because I knew I had already fallen in love. 

      We had our first date the next day, Saturday.  Taking a long walk in the park, and we built our first snowman together.  With Christmas soon coming she talked of trimming the tree and putting up the light.  I was not much on Christmas spirit with all the commercializing that has taken place over the year, but when she spoke, I heard the excitement in her voice and saw her eyes light up, my heart began to melt.  She soon brought out the child in even me.  She was wonderful, a strong woman, with a child's heart.  Walks in park would soon end in snowball fights or making snow angels.  I learned to love the snow, sledding was my favorite part, she would giggle with delight as we road the sled down the hill. 

      "Christmas was the best holiday," she always said.

      That first year, and the year after, we searched for hours until we found the right tree, then decorate it until dawn, everything had to be just perfect.  The next day was spent stringing lights outside.  Then that evening we had the grand lighting.  It was beautiful. Looking at her I could see the lights sparkling on the tiny tear that had formed in her eyes.   Dear God, I thought to myself, is it possible to love someone this much?  I will never be able to ever live or love without her.

      On Christmas morning her eyes sparkled like a child's, full of anticipation and joy.  The rest of the day was spent with an endless string of visits from family and friends.  The house was filled with such love I have never felt or ever dreamed possible. 

      I soon learned that every holiday, birthday hell everyday was wonderful to live.  Waking in the morning with her by my side started the day perfectly, and I dreaded leaving her to go to the office.  The day dragged on I kept myself as busy as possible, which was not too difficult to do in an established law firm.  I still found myself counting the minutes until we would meet for lunch, then again till it was time to go home, back to her.  I had no other wants or desires I just longed to be with her.  

      We planed to be married in the spring.  A small wedding held outside where we both love to be.  The park was the perfect place, down by the stream where we would meet for lunch every day.  In the spring we watched the flowers blowing softly in the breeze, loving the array of scent it carried to us.  I would laugh when she slipped off her shoes to wade across the stream to gather wild flowers for the office.  Yes it was the perfect place. God how I loved her, she was my life.

      Then her father, who lives in Dallas, was hospitalized after suffering a severe stroke, she had to go.  I hated the fact that I couldn’t go with her, she needed me and I couldn’t get away.  At the time I was a District Attorney prosecuting one of the biggest drug lords in the nation and new I couldn’t step down.  Months became years as we handled appeal after appeal until the final verdict came in, by that time I made excuses and wouldn’t get away.  People were counting on me and I was counting on Jenny to always be there.  What I didn't count on was Bill, the man she married two years after she left.  Why didn't I use vacation time to go and see her?  At the very least fly down over the weekend just to be with her, but I guess I was afraid I would lose something if I did.  I never dreamed it would be her. 

I could live with the fact that she married another, I guess I wanted her to wait but knew in my heart that she couldn't.  She needed to be loved, not from a distance, like I tried to make myself believe, but flesh on flesh, with real warmth.  What really haunts me is her death, she might not have been mine, but I still had the dream of her coming back to me someday, now, she never can.

      In the letter it said that she and her husband Bill were killed in an auto accident a week ago.  Someone driving drunk after a office Christmas party!  Again, I say, I hate Christmas!  The letter continues saying that upon the death of both her and Bill, I was to be notified of Connie, my 4 year old daughter.  Have I had too much to drink, am I reading this correctly, it says that I have a daughter!  Jenny had our baby and never told me, how could she do that?  Why didn't I know?  Why didn't I go to see her, I would have found out for myself if I had.  She will be arriving on the 22 of Dec unless otherwise notified by me.  That is tomorrow.  Why hadn't I read this sooner?  Oh God what should I do, could I stand to have part of her this close to me without breaking down everyday?  Than again, she is part of Jenny, living proof of the love we shared for each other, being sent to remind me that it was real.  A picture is enclosed.  Oh she is beautiful, just like her mother. 

      "I'll try my dear Jenny, try to love her and teach her of all the wonderful things in life that you have taught me."

      The airport is crowed with holiday travelers, I am so nervous, I hope the plane is on time, I don't know if I could stand for it to be late.  Does Connie know who I am and was she ever told anything about me?  I could be her Uncle Don for a time until she gets used to being with me.  God, here come the passengers, I will know that beautiful child easily.   There she is!   Jenny's lawyer, Nancy, is carrying her, she is coming right to me, I wonder how she knows it’s me?

      Connie reaches out her arms to me, taking her in my arms I begin to sob, wiping away my tears she said, "Don't cry daddy." 

      Daddy she knows I am her daddy!  I look at Nancy, but before I could ask, she explained that Jenny always let her know who her real daddy was, and that he loved her but could not be with her right now.  Bill was very understanding about this and was content being the daddy she knew.  My heart melted.

      As we left the airport, we saw the first snowflakes of the season as they lit gently upon the ground. 

      Connie's eyes sparkle, turning to me she ask, "Is this snow?" 

      Smiling down to her I said, "Yes Connie, this is snow." 

      "Mommy always talked about snow and how much she loved it, she said that someday she would bring me here to see it, and you." 

      We woke the next morning to a beautiful blanket of white.  Connie stood in amusement as she looked out the window at this new world of white. 

      Turning she said to me "Daddy this is beautiful, I know why mommy talked of it so much."  With a tear in her eye she added,  "Will you do with me the things mommy talked of doing?" 

      I knelt and held her, fighting back tears of my own I said,  "Yes Connie I will."  I lifted her into the air and as we danced around the room I said,  "Today we will make a snowman, go sledding, and I'll even show you how to make a snow-angel."  

      As I helped Connie dress I could barely contain my own excitement.  Soon we rushed out the door into the wonderland of white.  She laughed and giggled as we rode the sled down the hill, was delighted with the snowman and called him Mister carrot nose.  Making the snow-angels, I thought of Jenny, one seemed to have a special glow and I smiled in the memories I had to share of her.   We spent hours in the snow, then went inside for a cup of hot chocolate and to warm by the fire.  As I tucked her into bed that evening, her eyes showed of the excitement, and exhaustion of the day.  I bent to give the good night kiss and she wrapped her tiny arms around my neck and hugged me tight.  Then with a kiss, she was fast asleep.

      We spent hours the next day searching for the right tree.  We decorated it late into the night until she fell asleep curled up in the mist of all the holiday boxes.  Tomorrow will be Christmas morning, did I say I hate Christmas, never again, I love CHRISTMAS.

 

© 1995 BAHumbert

December 21, 1994

 

 

              

Creations by Beverly

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