This story was written for the Vocal+Assist Facebook group.
I woke up on Christmas morning to a home with no laughter or any sound that humans made at all. The only thing I heard was my old refrigerator making ice and the television in the living room that I forgot to cut off the night before; it was still on that boring ass Hallmark channel. I had entirely outgrown watching those repetitive, unoriginal “holimances” every damn year!
To be clear, a “holimance” is a combination of holiday and romance.
After a drink or two, I became even more uninterested, so I ripped open my one and only gift instead; it was a pre-owned camera that I purchased for myself as a gift from the local pawn shop. I knew if I hadn’t bought it, then nothing would have been underneath of the tree waiting for me that lone morning.
I hadn’t received a Christmas present in over a decade, and I only got gifts as a kid because my social worker would always sign me up for the “Toys for Tots” program. The toys were never anything expensive, but I thought it was nice that they cared enough about children like me to give us something to look forward to.
Now that I am an adult, perhaps it was just a tax write-off for the rich. Either way, it made a dark period in my life much brighter, and it made my heart a tad bit lighter; however, it was still not light enough to want to see other people fall in love in every Christmas movie. In fact, I had never been in love, so I couldn’t relate then, and I still can’t resonate with it in my adulthood.
I walked over to my tree and sighed at its miniature size and the dozens of lights that burned out. It also lacked ornaments as well. I still took a photo of it anyway, and then I marched upstairs to bed early on Christmas Eve night.
When the next day arrived, I wasn’t excited. I had only one present to open, and I had already opened it. I had no plans, and I wasn’t expecting anyone to pop up to visit. No one had ever came to my house before for any reason.
I slept almost naked, so I reached for my soft, fuzzy red robe to cover the single gift my father ever gave me. I exited my room without taking a shower, and I stomped down the steps to cut off the television and made a hot cup of black coffee; sugar is a killer.
The windows were fogged, so I wiped away the condensation rapidly in hopes of a white Christmas. To my surprise, snowflakes were falling delicately and snow had already piled up on the street. It had been a few years since it snowed in this town. In a few seconds, my day had turned around.
I asked Alexa to play the “Soulful Christmas” station and sang aloud. My phone rang, and I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t answer. It rang again directly after the first call, and I decided to pick it up to find out who was calling.
I didn’t say hello, because I wanted the person on the other end of the line to speak first, but nothing was said; I hung up and kept on celebrating.
I skipped into the kitchen to fetch the store-bought chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies. As I shoved a handful of deliciousness into my mouth, the door bell rang, and my phone received a notification that someone was standing on my front porch.
Immediately, I pressed on the application to check the surveillance footage, but no one was there. I wasn’t about to be spooked in my own home where I pay the mortgage, so I ran to my front door and went outside in my robe barefooted. I looked left and right, but I didn’t see a thing, so I went back inside to warm up my toes; my feet had frozen in that short amount of time.
Once I had shut the door behind me, I heard a second set of feet walking around my house and noises that only another living being could make. I hid a knife in between the couch cushions for the day something like this happened, so I grabbed it and headed towards the sound. It was coming from the extra bedroom on the first floor down the hall from the living room.
As I approached the door, I took a deep breath, held the knife in a defensive position, and pushed the cracked door wide open.
I screamed at the intruder, “What the fuck are you doing in my house?”
But, it wasn’t an intruder. It was my foster brother that I hadn’t seen in almost five years now. I thought the guy was dead!
“Did you miss me?” Francis asked with a smirk. He was skinnier than the last time I saw him, but he looked exactly the same in the face.
I put down the knife and answered him, “Of course I did. You were my only family. Where’ve you been all this time?”
He said while laughing, though I knew he was serious, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you Jeremy. Merry Christmas!”
And the bromance continued…
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