‘Twas the night before Christmas and Beverly was cursing her in-laws. There they sat, in the living room with their feet up and coffee cups in their hands while she continued to toil away baking cookies in the kitchen for show. She hated cookies, she hated Christmas and above all, she hated them. Curse her husband for inviting them each and every God forsaken year! She was glaring into the other room while beating dough with a rolling pin when a glass was shaken off of the table and shattered on the floor.
“Everything ok out there, Bev?” called her mother-in-law, Bambi, in that sickeningly phony voice.
“Yes, Mom, everything is grand,” replied Beverly, just as phonily.
As she was on her hands and knees picking up glass shards, she overheard Bambi tell her husband that she didn’t know how he could stand being stuck with such an unfit wife for all these years. Beverly was better than to make a scene on Christmas Eve. She placed the tiny shards into the dustpan and emptied it into the batter. Ever so gently she stirred the dough, whistling “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
“Mommy I want that one,” whined Patricia, pointing at the large stuffed clown on the top shelf.
“Well that’s just too bad you little brat,” stated Mommy. Patricia started to cry. Suddenly, a clerk walked by, staring. Mommy said, “Don’t cry honey, I’ll get it for you.” The clerk walked on. As Mommy reached up to grab the stuffed clown, Patricia repositioned himself in the cart and lit another cigarette.
He laughed quietly to himself as he saw her fall. It was cold outside and he was standing in his front room window watching passerby’s slip on the carefully tended ice patch in front of his house. Typically, people wouldn’t fall; they would just slip and then regain their balance without taking a tumble. This woman was different. Her hands were full of grocery bags and she was down for the count. She wasn’t getting up, either. He watched as she lay motionless. Maybe she had a concussion, he didn’t know. He slowly opened the door and tiptoed out to the sidewalk. He crept up to her and looked down. Suddenly he heard someone coming. He darted back into his home carrying a loaf of bread.