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Stories
Friday, 27 July 2007

Now Playing: Christmas Heartache by Andrea MacEachern


The most peaceful time of year, for me, has always been Christmas.
When I
close my eyes, I can see my mother baking homemade sweets in the
kitchen.
I can smell the turkey cooking in the oven.  I can feel the tinsel
between my
fingers as my sisters and I carelessly toss it all onto our twelve-foot

tree. I can hear Boney M’s Christmas album blaring and the sound of
the
door bell ringing as guests pile into the front porch.

There were always so many people around, and with these people came
many
traditions. On Christmas Eve, after one of many Turkey Dinners, my
parents,
sisters, grandparents and myself would pile into my family’s mini-van
and go
for a long evening drive to look at all the Christmas lights. By
12:00 AM,
we were in church for Midnight Mass. I can almost hear the choir now,
so
peaceful. When we arrived home, we kids were ready to go to bed in
anticipation of Santa’s visit that night, but not after one last
Christmas
tradition. Everyone was allowed to open one gift that night, then it
was
off to bed to be well rested for the next day and another round of
holiday
visits, meals and presents.

Christmas in my family went like this every year, until the year 2000.
That
was the first year we spent without my grandparents. My grandmother
had
passed away suddenly the previous summer. After the shock of losing
her, my
grandfather’s health began to fail, and he was admitted to the hospital
in
October.

A few days before Christmas, we realized that my grandfather had been
confined to a hospital bed for too long, so we decided that we would
surprise him by taking him out for a few days so he could enjoy
Christmas
with his family. Everything was going as planned. The day before
Christmas
Eve, he was in high spirits when we told him he would be with us at
home the
next day. Dinner was already in mid-preparation, and we had a room
ready
for him at our house.

The next morning, my dad left for the hospital to pick my grandfather
up.
When he entered his room, he could sense that something wasn’t right.
Papa
was quite and withdrawn as he just stared straight ahead. I guess my
dad
sensed that Papa wouldn’t be leaving that hospital because he stayed
with
him until he turned around to look out the window one last time and
quietly
passed away. Christmas in my family would never be the same again, and
I
now found myself trying to make peace with god for having taken away my

beloved grand-father on the most peaceful day of the year. I spent
Christmas day in my room, weeping over my loss. I don’t remember going
to
sleep, but I remember waking up to a sound I hadn’t heard in a long
time. I
knew it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. It
was in
the room somewhere, and when I discovered what it was, chills went down
my
spine. The sound was coming from an alarm clock that my grandfather
had
given me years before. The eerie thing was that clock had not worked
in
five or six years, and the time on it was 11:30 PM. Immediately, I
knew
this was a sign from my grandfather because every year at 11:30 we are
making our way to Midnight Mass. I believe he wanted us to carry on
like we
normally would. As I walked in the newly fallen snow to the small
church on
the hill, I knew everything was going to be alright. I knew my
Grandfather
was there with me, and suddenly, I felt at peace.

_________________________________________________
____

Posted by liamet at 7:27 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007 7:35 AM EDT
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Saturday, 14 July 2007

Now Playing: Christmas Magic

 

 

“I invite you to my party on Christmas Eve. Will you come?”

 

Steven asked me one day.

 

“Thanks, Steven,” I replied, “I will certainly come!”

 

I was excited as this would be my first formal party.  Rebecca was also very happy, as this would be her first party as well, so we started making plans.  Rebecca was my best friend.  We shared everything together and she used to stay overnight at my home at weekends.  I would visit her regularly   too, but as she had to share her room with her two older sisters, we preferred meeting at my place most of the times.  Rebecca was Steven’s sister.  She was the youngest in the family, while Steven was the second child.

 

Steven had a lot of friends who visited him all the time so their house was always full of life and mischief.   Their parents were working all day away from home so the kids were free to make their own plans.  It was one of those busy social afternoons when I met Chris for the first time.  He was the same age as Steven, five years older than me, and he was one of his closest friends. 

 

“Hi, Lia,” he used to say, “What’s up?”

 

“Hi,” I replied, and rushed to Rebecca’s room to chat. 

 

Two days before the party Rebecca said:  “You know, Chris will be at the party too.”

 

“So, what?” I replied. I didn’t take this as a hint.

 

“Come on…,” Rebecca went on.  “I know you like him!  Will you ever admit it?”

 

I blushed.  I did like him.  But that was it as far as it could go. I had not the slightest idea how to behave to an 18-year-old boy if he ever started a chat with me. 

 

“OK, I like him a little bit,” I said   “No big deal!”

 

But Rebecca was not satisfied.  From that day on she started teasing me about Chris-you know how girls at that awkward age of 12 behave sometimes. I tried to ignore her remarks and, finally, the big day came!

 

“Hurry up,” Rebecca called me on the same afternoon.  “Come to help me now!  I need you!” 

 

I had promised her to be there very early, before the party started.  So, I put some rosy gloss on my lips, I wore my fancy bracelets and my new white shoes.  I arrived at Rebecca’s in no time and rang the bell.

 

“Hi, Lia,” Steven said opening the door.  He looked at me from head to toes and exclaimed: “What a gorgeous pink dress!  You’re a model tonight!”

 

I was flattered, and I liked it.  Before I had time to say ‘thank you’ Steven added:

“Chris will be here soon…you know, he’s interested in you,” and he disappeared into another room.

 

I stayed still.  I just didn’t know what to say or what to think.  Then I ran to Rebecca.

 

“Chris has talked to Steven about me…why didn’t you tell me?” I shouted in one breath.  “You are supposed to be my best friend!”

 

Rebecca laughed.  “Oh, come on!  I knew it!  Sit down, and let me explain,” she tried to calm me down.  “Chris is Steven’s friend, not mine.  And you know those boys, they do keep their secrets!  He won’t possibly tell me anything about anything!”

 

She did not persuade me but I had to take it easy-there wasn’t any time left, and I desperately needed time to think and be prepared for all this.  This strange feeling of excitement, mixed with happiness and anger all at the same time, was very new to me.

 

Just then I looked at the doorway.  Chris was there smiling at me.

 

“Hi, girls,” he said. “I’m a bit early, so, can I help?”  Rebecca and I replied in unison.

 

“Hi, Chris, and no!”

 

He looked a bit surprised at the way we reacted, but in a second he smiled back.  “Well,” he said, “in that case…”

 

Rebecca walked out of the room mumbling something like “I forgot to…” and I was now all alone with Chris.

 

He came close to me and I noticed he was holding something in his hand..

 

“This is for you,” he said slowly.

 

I was at a loss for words.  Then I replied:  “Oh, how nice of you! What a beautiful rose!  Thanks!”  I took the red rose in my trembling hands but I didn’t know what to do with it.  I just felt so uncomfortable.  For an everlasting moment I could only hear my heart racing from excitement.  Then the music started.  Rebecca reappeared in the room and Chris left abruptly saying: “I’ll be back later…please, don’t vanish!” He sent me a cute smile and I smiled back.

 

That evening went by like a dream.  Rebecca and I were the youngest at the party, while all the other guests, about thirty persons or more, danced and chatted loudly.  Chris was dancing with me the whole evening, chatting about everything he wanted to know.  I mostly replied with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but by the end of the evening I was at ease with him.

When the party finished, after midnight, he kissed me goodnight saying:  “I’ll call you soon!”

 

I stayed overnight at Rebecca’s.  We scarcely slept, we talked and talked for hours on end till our eyelids became heavy.  It was a magic evening and I wanted it desperately to last for ever.  But the next day was a new day, and I knew that the magic moments end somehow.

 

Chris called me many times since then but we never actually had a date.  My dad picked up the phone once and got really angry.

 

“Lia is too young.  Please leave her alone!” he told Chris. Then he told me not to see or speak to him any more.  “Wait till you get older,” he said, “you are only a child!” My mom agreed too, so I was not allowed to visit Rebecca any more.  She had to come to my house instead.

 

Well, my dad was probably right, and although I did not like it at first, I had to obey and keep away from Chris.  After all, I felt very indecisive and puzzled.

 

“Please, Chris, don’t call me any more,” I told him over the phone.  “My parents are very angry…and I think that it’s too early for me to …you know.”

 

He never called back.  I felt bad, and I kept thinking about him for a long time afterwards. I was full of doubts. Was I very insensitive?  But somehow, I knew that I had done the right thing. 

 

Years passed.  One day, just before Christmas, I saw Chris across the road.  We did not speak- I don’t know why.  Maybe we both felt uncomfortable.  Maybe he had forgotten this little magic of that time, who knows?  But I believe that that old Christmas magic hasn’t gone for ever.  I know that for sure, because I wouldn’t be writing these words now.  It’s still here, in my heart, and makes me feel like a twelve-year-old girl again!

 

 

Byline

Liana Metal is an EFL teacher, book reviewer and writer living in Greece. She is an MAEd (Applied Linguistics) holder and she has been working in the ELT field for many years.  She loves writing articles and stories in a variety of genres for publications worldwide.  For any questions or comments, you can visit her at http://lianametal.tripod.com

 

 

 

 

 


Posted by liamet at 1:24 PM EDT
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Sunday, 8 July 2007

Now Playing: Welcome to the Stories blog!!

Stories is an interactive story blog that is created by you!

All writers are welcome to contribute to this place.  Only true stories are accepted at this time.

Write your own story and submit it to the Stories blog.

You can also send comments to the other writers' stories.

Writers can send multiple stories and reprints. 

The authors retain the copyright of their stories. 

The aim of this blog is to offer authors exposure online.

Some of the best stories may be selected to be included in a new anthology of true stories that will be published at  lulu.com.  If this happens, you will be notified by email, so don't forget to add your link to the story you submit.

At the bottom of each story you can add your short bio and links.

No offensive language is permitted.  Stories cater to all the family.

 Thank you for your interest in true stories.

I am looking forward to reading your story!

 

Best Wishes,

 Lia Metal

Editor/writer

http://lianametal.tripod.com

http://Lianaskerkyra.blogspot.com

 


Posted by liamet at 7:43 AM EDT
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