Jingle bells. Jingle bells.
Judith thought, If I hear one more Christmas song, I will scream.
Music was blaring out of bars as she walked down the street.
Christmas Eve, and I am alone
Still, being alone seemed preferable to being one more minute with her brotherīs family and his spoiled kids.
December 24th. Almost a year since she had made one resolution. I want meaning in my life
, she had written on an index card.
What the hell does that mean? What prompted me to write such drivel
Last Christmas Eve, she had a miserable evening after parting with Chuck. He told her, "Honey, you know I want to be in bed with you, and drink Christmas cheer, but I have to make an appearance at home. Not for Ellen, but for the kids. Next year will be different. Promise."
Funny, Chuck had said the same thing the year before, almost word for word.
Two days into the New Year, she had sent him a text at work to pick up his stuff at her place and to leave the key. She had put the emerald bracelet, his Christmas present to her, on top of his paltry stack of sweat pants, tee shirts, and aftershave. She made plans to work late that evening.
If he pleads with me and makes promises, I know Iīll cave
When she returned home, half expecting him to be there, he was gone, with his things and the bracelet. No doubt, he could recycle the emeralds to Ellen.
Meaning in my life? Well, I am no longer an adulteress, a home wrecker. I am lonely, but for what? Not Chuck. Anyway, isnīt everyone a bit lonely on Christmas Eve?
Her brother and his wife seemed a bit strained as they indulged the brats with every imaginable toy and gadget.
She continued down the street. She could go into a bar for a martini.
No, I might look too pathetic. What if it is all couples with a lecherous single man or two?
Now it was beginning to rain. She saw a diner and crossed the street. The couple at the counter looked familiar, or was it just the familiarity of sad faces? Sipping coffee. Not looking festive. Somehow, their unhappy faces looked appealing to her.
The other customer was Santa Claus. He didnīt look so happy either. Probably had a rough evening making house appearances to families who could afford his hourly rate. Humbug.
Santa, if you are for real, please give meaning to my life.
She pushed open the door and went in.