A Christmas Story- of Sorts

My hand is shaking as I dial the numbers, balancing the little spiral-bound directory on my knee. Jane picked up on the second ring, “Hi Tracy…!” I jumped a little, always startled when caller ID betrays me. I was born at the wrong time. “…How are you!?” Jane is always cheerful, despite having seven kids and an array of stray pets brought home by her veterinarian husband.

“Hi Jane” I choke out, the tears clogging my throat and getting stuck somewhere in my mangled greeting.

“Are you okay? No, I know you’re not okay, I’ll be right there.”

Gratitude wells within. Grateful for someone cheery who talks a lot and doesn’t need me to fill in the yawning gaps. My life is full of yawning gaps. Everywhere I step, the ground is thin, fragile like a crust of ice on snow that’s frozen overnight. Looks are deceiving. Looks don’t mean anything.

“I’m coming to get your kids- I’ll be there in five minutes.”

My eyes sting from the running make-up, and I swipe at them angrily with the back of wrist. Setting the phone down near the pile of dishes on the counter, I go in search of the boots and coats and gloves for the kids. They won’t be where they’re supposed to be. They never are.

Read the rest of this story at bycommonconsent.com
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