His Last Christmas
She held her hand out to me indicating it was time to go. This was the woman I fell in love with when we were kids playing in the back yard. Her unmatchable beauty never waning in all the years we were together. Did I think she was beautiful when we were kids? Yes I did. Over the years she became even more of a beautiful woman who had no competition. Hers was all natural. She didn’t need anything out of a bottle to enhance what God had blessed her with. Over the years some of my friends told me their wives were jealous of her natural golden blonde hair. She always wore it long. It reached to her shoulder blades when it was wet. The natural curl to it pulled it back up to her shoulders. If Venus had been, mortal she would have been outclassed by my wife.
The old man laying in the bed looked…, well he looked used up. The body aged and wrinkled, sagging skin on his arms and legs where strong sinuous muscles once bulged. He was a shell of what he had once been.
Every year, for the past twenty seven years, our kids asked me what I wanted for Christmas. My answer was the same as the first one twenty seven years ago. “Please don’t get me anything besides a Christmas card and your love. There is nothing I need. What I really want isn’t in a store.”
Twenty seven years earlier when they invited me to their homes for Christmas it was a bloody disaster for all of us. I ruined everyone’s Christmas. When I walked into our son’s house they had the full blown Christmas spirit. Decorations hung on the mantel, over the doors, Christmas cushions on the chairs, and a Christmas tree reaching to the ceiling with enough lights and decorations to make Macy’s jealous. The table was crowded with an overabundance of holiday food we don’t normally eat any other time.
After walking in I started unloading the Christmas presents I had brought, making several trips to the car. As we shared hugs it became progressively harder for me to hold it together. This was the first Christmas my wife, their mother wasn’t with us. Brenda was Christmas, and Easter, and Thanksgiving, and Forth of July, and everyone’s birthday. She made everyday special with her overflowing enthusiasm and boundless joy. How I could have ever been so lucky to have her in my life and our kids mother, I’ll never know. She had so much love for every one, no one was slighted or left out.
The summer she was diagnosed with cancer I knew she would beat it. Brenda was a fighter among all her other gifts. When she died on her birthday that year, I fell apart. She was my rock, my life. When Christmas came that year, I tried, I really truly tried for her to share the happiness with the kids. Twenty minutes after arriving, I was in the car crying my heart out. The kids would come out to check on me every once in awhile. I knew I was ruining their Christmas. Walking back into the house, through the tears I told everyone I had spoiled it for everyone and was leaving. They tried to get me to say but I couldn’t. Not without Brenda there to make it Christmas.
Looking at my wife, I was so in love it hurt. “You are so beautiful, I love you with all my heart and soul. I’m sorry for what you put up with after you married me.”
“Jim, I never stopped loving you. When I told you I wouldn’t stay with you if you went though with it didn’t mean I stopped loving you. I didn’t understand. It was a shock to me to hear what you wanted to do to your body.”
“I understood why. If things had been reversed I might have felt the same way. The emotions, the feelings, the drive just never would go away no matter how hard I tried to push it out.”
“Seeing you dressed like that certainly didn’t help. I didn’t tell you I was kind of jealous. It made me mad.”
“You’re the most beautiful woman ever born. You couldn’t be jealous.”
“Well, I was. You looked pretty hot. It made things even worse. I hated to think I could be one of those kind of people who loved….”
“You can’t love me now can you?”
“Darling, I’ve lost all that prejudice the past twenty seven years. Personally, I think you’re quite attractive. If possible I love you even more not because of what I see but because of the angel she has become. Now it is my turn to say I’m sorry for not understanding what you were going through. I didn’t understand which is not an excuse.”
“I’m wondering how this happened to me? Did you have a hand in this?”
She giggled. I swear she giggled. “Sweety, remember when you made that trip once before? People would ask you what Heaven looked like and you would say…?”
“It is whatever you want. I don’t think anyone understood.”
She really did giggle. “And?”
“If you still love me then Heaven really is perfect.”
Brenda wrapped her arms around me and smothered me with kisses. She was holding my hands as she backed up to look me in the eyes. “If there is any doubt we will work on it. Although I hugged you many times. It broke my heart to see you on the floor on your knees crying your heart out. Now come on, I’ve waited twenty seven years to hold you in my arms again. We’re wasting time.”
“I thought time was eternal in this state?”
She tugged on my hand even harder. “It is and we are wasting it. MERRY CHRISTMAS”
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