There were children on her mind, beautiful children running through the house giggling and laughing. The little boys chased after little girls whose pigtails flew out behind them like tails on shooting stars. They all streaked by in a blinding glow of excitement, thrilled by the prospect of Santa and reindeer and presents wrapped in shiny paper and curly ribbons. They would occasionally stop and see if they could spot a gift bearing their name. Shrieks of excitement rang out.
She closed her eyes and inhaled the scent of a fresh Christmas pine. It permeated the great room as well as did long awaited aromas from the kitchen; aromas of rich foods enjoyed only at this special time of year. There was pumpkin and cinnamon, ginger and molasses and peppermint. What else? Oh, yes. Turkey roasted to a golden brown stuffed with bread and herbs and spices. Sweet potatoes in brown sugar and mashed potatoes in butter and rich dark gravy.
Flames from the candles on the mantel danced in competition with the crackling fire below and the lights on the tree filled every dark corner of the room. It was warm. Familiar voices swam in and out of her head, voices of loved ones here and gone. Everything sparkled.
She rubbed her fingers together and caressed the soft velvet of a dress and the smooth cool satin of ribbon. She stood in front of a mirror. A child smiled up at her with wide eager eyes as she finished tying the ribbon in the back of her dress or in her hair. Maybe it was both.
The dog barked and barked. There was the sound of jingle bells, sleigh bells, and door bells. The telephone rang. It hung on the wall in the kitchen. One could never hear herself think in that kitchen, let alone talk on the phone. She smiled at the memory. “Hello?” she would holler. “You’ll have to speak louder. I can’t hear a thing.”
It was almost as good as being there. She sighed. A smile lingered on her lips. She kept her eyes closed to lock in the memory. Opening them would be the same as releasing a butterfly. She wasn’t ready to watch the beauty of it all fly away.