|A Rat Rhyme||Next|
Marley was dead to begin with.
He doesn't really matter much in this story but to several people he meant something. It was not that Marley was a bad person it was just he was a number of holiday fatalities that year.
Marley was dead and Menlo "Lo" Granes had realized that this year was different from the others.
In the rapidly darkening evening. Sunlight growing heavy and crawling across the blue water of Venar's Point. to reach the window of the 2 story house. Inside the white stucco walls Lo Granes lies on a couching hearing the tired line of this Christmas might not be.
In the hazy darkness of the living room. Above the dim burning fire in the hazy of the flicking light a silver picture frame stands catching the purple light. The happy family in the frame, too content with the moment to care about the living room. A large vibrant room now being cluttered with a few pieces of furniture. The only light is that of a flickering tv set just within arms reach of the couch.
Here lays Lo. The house once full of life and smells of the holiday. Now only occupied by the poor figure remembering better years. Living with the happy families and remembering time past.
Just last year talking about college, laughing, embracing, and dancing. Then it ended. A rainy night and his parents were no more.
The Merry Christmas had been drained from the cards and instead replaced with the condolences of family and friends. It was tough to miss them when it had only been a while ago they were so proud of you.
There should be something to be merry about. This year shouldn't be a total waste. Lo felt he needed to get up and go somewhere. Find something to do that wasn't watching tv. He just couldn't think of anything. He wanted to be with his family and his family was gone. Beneath the want and the desire to be merry Lo was left with the reality that this was the first year he was going to be alone for Christmas.
Still he wanted someone to spend this year with but everyone seemed to move on. Everyone had someone to be with and only Lo was alone. There wasn't a single person he knew that wasn't doing something this year. He wanted to join them but wasn't invited. He felt no welcome from the various events around town and no comfort could be found from the cold weather.
As the night dragged on he couldn't find any reason for being merry. As sitcom turned to news then to syndication and finally to paid program Lo finally went to sleep. Beneath the gaze of his happy family he fell into a restless sleep.
The clock beeped out one.
A slight rustle began.
So softly and just distant.
Feet clothed in silk walking down the staircase.
The creek of old wood and then the door opening across the room.
Heavy footsteps woke Lo. He looked toward the door which was open and saw nothing there. Despite it being open there was no one in space. Lo turned and saw the empty pizza next to him.
"It must have been that pizza," Lo whispered to the darkness as he pulled the blanket closer, "The wind must be blowing too."
Still as Lo tried to sleep the sounds didn't stop. The footsteps moved around the couch. A heavier set moving behind and a lighter set moving in front. There was a pause and then Lo felt a cold sensation on his cheek. Lo leapt up and raced across the room. He huddled in a corner and there so slightly in the air he made out two figures. One close to his couch looked light his mother and behind it with its hands spread across the back was his father.
"Well Maddie you woke him up now our surprise is ruined," said Lo's father.
"Menlo doesn't mind dear. Do you?" Menlo's mother was talking in that same soft calm tone she always used when someone found out about a surprise.
"You two are dead!" Menlo trying to grasp the reality of the situation.
"Of course we are dear," began his mother, "But we also know our boy was in trouble."
"So Maddie tells me we have to go and make sure things are ok with you. Menlo you're a good kid but you know a little slow on things." His father interrupted.
"He's right, dear, you are taking this too hard. You need to relax."
"Go out with your friend... what's his name... Maddie you know the kid with the limp."
"It doesn't matter! Why are you hear." Lo interrupted knowing that none of his friends had a limp.
"See Menlo, you are going to visited tonight. By a few friends of ours, they're nice people and you'll like them. I'm not gonna ruin the surprise but you know one of them. Anyway honey they're gonna show you what you have to be happy about." said his mother eyes awash in happiness
"Yeah Maddie and I thought it'd be a good gift, seeing as you needed some support." He's father trying to hold back on the surprise.
"Great. Now I'm dreaming of Dickens. Ok, I'll go alone since this might be good, "Lo stopped and looked at the shades of his parents. They were smiling at his and he started tearing up, "I missed you both. It's a lonely year without you."
Both of them moved to hug him, their hands passing through him. Lo was blanketed by cold. He didn't care they were his parents. He wanted it to never end.
He knew it was going to and as he opened his eyes they were gone. He was still in bed but it was so cold in the living room. He pulled the blanket close and fell asleep as a news story on all the letters sent to Santa started playing.
© Sal Ponce 2001