Little Emily stood in the large bay of the living room window staring out at the Stars that twinkled in the clear Sky.
A snowfall earlier that afternoon had refreshed the white blanket that covered the gardens, and now Jack Frost ran around waving his Wand making the ground glisten and sparkle.
Dark shapes shuffled along the pavement, some tipping their hats in silent greeting, cautious of slipping. The hollow bark of a Dog sounded through the dark still evening. A sleigh drawn by two Horses black as coal drove through the cone of light under the Gas Lamp.
The log on the open fire crackled sending orange sparks dancing up the chimney. Emily could feel its warmth on her back and see its glowing image waving to her in the window.
She could also see the reflection of the Christmas Tree, its branches draped with golden beads, and hung with glass baubles that returned the fire’s glow. Chocolates and candy stripped walking sticks for the Children, were fastened to the green-needled branches with red ribbon.
It was Christmas Eve, but why was Emily so sad?
She was sad because only three months earlier, her twin Sister Judith had died of Polio. Her beloved Grandparents had also passed away that Summer, leaving a massive hole in Emily’s heart. She missed them all so much. Even now on the threshold of Christmas Day, as she stared up at the Stars, she wept. A teardrop escaped and ran down her cheek, leaving a watery trail for the next one to follow.
Emily stared at the silver slither Moon, her lips quivering with emotion, more tears, silent tears, escaped.
Suddenly! A Shooting Star crossed the inky Heavens slashing the black canvas like a sharpened blade.
Make a wish – make a wish! Thought Emily.
Speaking out loud Emily made her wish. “I wish Judith and my Grand Parents were here with me.”
A shriek of child’s laughter pierced the air, causing Emily to spin round so fast that her pigtails whipped her ears. Her eyes widened and her mouth fell open in disbelief…
There on the burgundy Chesterfield was Gran and Grandad and squeezed between them squirmed little Judith, trying to escape Grandad’s tickling. The room was filled with the sound of playful laughter.
Beaming with joy, Emily ran and threw herself enthusiastically at her beloved Kin wrapping her arms around them. She sobbed tears of happiness into Grandpa’s jumper. He smelt so good. They were all good! The emotions could be held back no more, the four hugged each other tightly, laughing and crying together.
The living room door was flung open with such force that the large brass handle thudded against the wall. Shocked, Emily lifted her face from Grandpa’s jumper and peered over his shoulder… it was Mommy. She hurried into the room, her right hand holding her long dress so that she didn’t trip over it. She rushed past the sofa without so much as glancing at it, and went straight to the bay window, where she fell wailing beside the body of a young girl. Holding the girl’s head to her bosom, she rocked back and forth crying.
Emily’s expression changed to one of shocked concern. Her little hands tightened on Grandad’s jumper and she tugged.
“Grandad, who’s that little girl Mommy’s holding?” Emily enquired.
Grandad’s kind eyes peered over the thin-framed gold spectacles and met Emily’s panicky stare.
“Why that’s you, of course, Princess. – you’re dead!”
Categories: Burning the Midnight Oil