'Twas The Night Before Christmas (A Short Story)
Darien stood outside in the cold looking up at the one light on in her house. Her living room.
‘Twas the night before Christmas and the only thing stirring were thoughts of how he had been such a fool. This certainly wasn’t how he expected to spend Christmas Eve. Maybe that had been the problem all along – his expectations.
He shivered in the cold and plunged his hands deep into the pockets of his coat. It had been snowing all day. A white Christmas. This was the only time most people tolerated snow, on Christmas day and not one minute longer.
She, on the other hand, loved the snow. She said a fresh blanket of snow had a cleansing and beautifying effect that made you forget how annoying it was to drive in or shovel. He was in the latter camp and had never looked at a snowy landscape from her perspective.
She also loved Christmas. For her, it wasn’t about the gifts, tinsel, lights, and overindulgence. It was about acknowledging something bigger than ourselves, the kindness strangers showed to one another that seemed to be reserved for this exact time of year, and of course, the romance of the season. Again, more things he never thought about, until her.
Before her, the holidays had amounted to nothing more than a giant pain in the neck. Getting the end of year reports out at work, suffering through office holiday parties that turned normally rational people into drunken, annoying idiots, shopping for gifts for people who already had everything, and the feeling of racing toward some bobbled, tinseled, and brightly lit finish line that left him feeling exhausted, irritated and relieved when it was all over.
But not this year. This was the first time as an adult he could remember looking forward to Christmas, and it was all because of her. She was that special.
Then why am I standing out in the cold looking like a stalker?
He was a guy. A real man (whatever that is). Real men don’t surrender their hearts without a fight. Do they?
She had called, inviting him over to binge on cookies, popcorn, pizza, and Christmas movies. He had hesitated, making up excuses, and eventually tentatively agreeing to come over “if he had time”.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. He wondered why his brain had turned to mush as his heart struggled for control. Of course, he wanted to be with her eating pizza, watching Christmas movies, and reveling in her magic.
Who was he kidding? Darien smiled and shook his head. There was no fight nor had there ever been a need for one. He loved her because she made it so easy to do so.
If he was fortunate enough to spend every Christmas for the rest of their lives together, that would be the perfect gift.
Walking up the path to the front door he took a deep breath. He gave three quick knocks.
She opened the door and smiled. He imagined his heart growing like the Grinch’s did in his favorite childhood movie. He felt just like a kid on Christmas morning and he knew nothing would ever be the same again.
When he leaned in to kiss her he smiled. Her Christmas t-shirt read “May All Your Days Be Merry and Bright”. As he closed the door to the cold and on all of his doubts, he knew a truer proclamation had never been written.