Babes in Toyland

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Charlie sat on the couch staring at the TV. Unlike the ubiquitous Yule Log which would make its yearly appearance in the Donatti household next month, the movie that was just about to air was a bittersweet reminder of a childhood he wished to forget but recalled every day. He went to grab the remote when his cell phone buzzed.

“Oh…yeah… Mommy’s favorite….I …..It’s on….yeah…. love you too. Happy Thanksgiving.” He clicked off the phone and tossed it on the cushion beside him.

“Was that Kev?” Nonee called from the kitchen.

“Yeah… he wanted to remind me.” He pointed to the screen as the movie had scrolled past the credits and was already into the washed-out computerized color of what had been a black and white classic.

“We don’t have to….you don’t have to do this.” Nonee walked into the living room and sat down next to her husband, handing him a mug of coffee.

“No…it’s alright. The bogeymen don’t come around much anymore, and it’s ….” His face was already stained with tear-tracks, and he turned to Nonee in a shamed silent plea.

“It’s okay….. I can’t…. I don’t pretend to understand, but I still love you, and that’s all that matters,’ she practically whispered while rubbing his arm.

“But….” He went to continue and she placed her finger on his lips.

“I mean it…. She’s…. she’s part of you, honey and that has to be enough.” He frowned at the last word, but she smiled and put her hand on his heart.

“More than enough.”

A short while later the movie had reached the part that at one time served as a sad reminder of all the things he had never been given in the midst of receiving what no child ever receive. But that was then, if still all too recently, and this was thankfully now.

Go to sleep….slumber deep…little one oh sleep while thy watch I keep….
Dream and rest at its best ‘til you hear the morning song from bow and nest….

“I can see why she means so much to you. She’s so vulnerable….” Charlie winced at her words; feeling all too much like the description. She touched his arm.

“But like her, you were brave….”

Nonee blinked back tears. The girl on the screen was just a part of a dear old story. No one in the family ever knew just what she had meant to the middle child. Charlie didn’t quite understand for a long time, but gradually, as much as the girl on the screen seemed more real, each year brought the understanding to the Charlotte inside the man. And now, there was a protector. Not a young man armed with a bravado and tenor, but a mature woman blessed with a love and a dulcet alto. She grabbed the remote and muted the movie. He turned to her in question. She stood up.

“Come with me,” she said as she grabbed his hand and led him into the bedroom. …

It was of course a time of love, but innocent and restful. Two figures lay face to face in the large bed. Stuffed animals and dolls surrounded the pair; soft sentinels to keep away the dark. Clad alike; cotton-lined satin ivory nightgowns as one woman stroked the cheek of the other. A peace had crossed the faces of both even as Nonee wiped away Charlotte’s tears while shedding her own; singing softly and sweetly.

Go to sleep….slumber deep…little one oh sleep while thy watch I keep….
Dream and rest at its best ‘til you hear the morning song from bow and nest….

To my hero Charlotte Henry

Happy Thanksgiving!

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This story is 632 words long.