Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Christmas Card

Even though her eyes were failing, she had an inner feeling telling her today would be special. She had a rough year, especially since Harry had died six months ago. She sniffed back a tear when that thought flitted through her mind.
Everything she did now seemed to take longer to do since Harry wasn’t there to help her. Of course, most of the time Harry didn’t physically help her with the household chores, but he was always nearby. He would say or do something that would amuse her. With Harry around, it was almost impossible not to smile.
He would sidle up behind her, wrap his arms around her waist, and tell her that he loved her. She would lean backwards against his chest and smile. They’d stand that way for several minutes before he would kiss her neck and she would return to her chores.
Harry had a way of soothing her. One thing that Harry had taught her was, “No matter how hard the road, keep your feet moving. Eventually you’ll get to where you need to be.”
Since his death, that’s what she tried to do, putting one foot in front of the other and moving ahead one day at a time. She’d trudge up the steps to her empty bedroom every night and then she’d stumble back down the stairs to face another day. Without Harry, each chore now seemed mountainous but she managed to climb each one. Oh how she missed his arms around her, his chin nuzzling her neck, and his soft kisses.
The mail was in. She walked through the hallway to the front door. Harry’s jacket still hung on the coat tree. That was one mountain she decided not to climb. She wasn’t ready to sort and dispose of Harry’s belongings. His side of the bed remained empty and his side of the closet and his dresser drawers were untouched.
She paused when she came to the coat rack. Sometimes she would press her back against the hall tree and wrap the sleeves of Harry’s jacket around her waist. His scent lingered. She would pretend that he was still alive and had just kissed her neck. She shook herself free from her dream and the sleeves of Harry’s jacket before going to collect the mail.
She plodded down the walkway. She rested against the mailbox to catch her breath. Somehow the walk seemed to suck away all of her strength. She tugged at the door, the latch grating as it popped open. Reaching inside, she lifted out the contents. After pushing the door closed, she ambled back toward the house. Browsing the mail as she walked; electric bill, credit card application, advertisements, she saw only the usual mail.
As she neared the porch steps, an envelope fell out and fluttered to the ground. The envelope was tattered and much worn. She stooped down, picked it up, and turned it over in her hands. The ink was smudged. It was addressed to her, but it in was her maiden name. The post mark was Korea, October, 1952.
“Lands sakes, this letter was mailed almost sixty years ago.”
She sat, her legs suddenly felt weak. She pulled her glasses from her apron pocket and donned them. She unsealed and opened the flap. “It’s a card, a Christmas card.”
Removing the card from the envelope, she could see it was a white heart decorated with green holly leaves and red berries. With trembling fingers, she pulled its edges apart.
The inside read, “Merry Christmas, my dear. I’ll love you forever, Harry.”

No comments:

Post a Comment