Tuesday, December 14, 2010
A Secret Worth Keeping - Finale - Short Story
That Christmas Eve she met her younger brother and his wife at church. They were joined by their granddaughter, Elena Forester. Sophie had always had a great affinity for the child. She was a quiet, introspective girl with prescient serenity. They had been together at dozens of family gatherings and conversed about school, pets and books but they had never spent any length of time in deep discussion.
As the service began, a wail of dismay was heard throughout the congregation. A child was screaming with alarming vigor and a mother was heard threatening her in a whispered voice. “Be still child or Santa will not come tonight!”
Sophie couldn’t see the source of the emanation, but Elena quietly left the pew and eased herself toward the offensive mother. As other people turned and scowled in dismay, Elena fixed a petrifying stare on the woman and stayed just long enough to see her drop onto the pew in a heap of dazed confusion. Once the woman had gathered her wits, she was quickly ushered out of church with her child in tow. Her stupor was lifting as she approached the door and those in close proximity heard her say quite lovingly, “Come along little one. Let’s walk home through the snow and enjoy this peaceful and beautiful Christmas night.”
Elena slipped silently back into the pew. She hadn’t even been missed by her grandparents, but her Great Aunt Sophie had seen her leave and understood. They exchanged a brief, knowing smile, and in that moment Sophie realized her legacy would most certainly continue.
Sophie went home that night, put on her favorite flannel nightgown and robe and then slipped into the kitchen to brew a pot of chamomile tea. She sat on the couch in front of her Christmas tree and turned on a few of her favorite Christmas carols. As the strains of Silver Bells filled the room, she indulged in a buttery shortbread cookie. She sipped her tea and happily contemplated what had transpired that evening. She was looking forward to a long winter’s nap, but before she headed to bed she poured a second cup of tea and placed it on the hearth next to the remaining cookies. As she headed for the stairs she looked back at her cozy home and at the shimmering lights outside her window. All was right with the world (at least for one night) and her heart was full of peace.
She had, after all, always believed.