September 22, 2013
Note: The italics in this entry are a memory of Leah’s from the past, not an event currently happening.
I stumble out of my makeshift bed and into the bathroom. When I return, I stop at the window for a moment. The night is dark, but a quiet wet snow falls, illuminated by the street lamps. The flakes melt before they hit the ground so the snow doesn’t gather, but instead leaves a slushy mess. Across the street in another apartment building, I can see the glowing blue and red spots from a Christmas tree.
A noise from a neighboring apartment startles me and then quietly “Silent Night” starts to play. A glance at the clock tells me it’s past midnight, Christmas now. What a cute little Christmas scene, I think sarcastically. I look out the window again to see a couple walking by holding hands. They stop to kiss and I look away. Like a lightening bolt, a memory hits me so strong that I have to sit on the couch.
The grandfather clock downstairs chimes midnight and I crawl from my cozy bed wearing new flannel pajama pants and a sweatshirt. I slip my shoes and hat on and grab the package beside the door before scurrying downstairs and outside.
We expected the rain that is falling lightly, so we meet in the forest, under a canopy of trees that keeps us mostly dry. Still, a large drop of rain gathered from several branches drips onto the back of my neck and I shiver. Sam notices and wraps an arm around my waist, warming me up.
“Hey, beautiful,” he says as he kisses my lips gently.
“Merry Christmas, Sam,” I whisper even though there is no one else around to hear. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
“Merry Christmas, my Lee-lee. I got you something.”
He passes me a package and I hand him mine to free my hands. He watches as I unwrap the paper, stuffing it in the pocket of my sweatshirt. A white box now sits in my hand and I slit the tape with my fingernails to open it. Inside is a wooden bangle that’s been carved from driftwood. I take it out of the box, bringing it closer to my face to see that it has our initials carved into it inside a heart. On the inside the words ‘Always and Forever’ are carved lightly in Sam’s scribbled handwriting.
“Thank you,” I say as I slip it onto my wrist and kiss his nose.
I watch as he opens my present for him; a bottle of cologne that I picked out the scents for when I last went to Seattle with Emily. There is a small store there where you can make your own custom perfumes and cologne’s. He takes the bottle from the box and opens it.
“I picked out the scents,” I tell him. “It fits you, don’t you think? The ocean, the forest, and rain.”
He nods after bringing it to his nose. “Yeah, it sure does. Thanks, Lee-lee.”
I smile and he takes my box and puts them both on the ground, pocketing the cologne, and then pulling me close. I wrap my arms around his neck and he kisses me, his lips lingering a moment longer than usual.
“I love you so much, Lee-lee. Merry Christmas.”
“I love you, Sam. Can I see you tomorrow?”
“Should be able to. I’ll meet you at your doorstep, when all the lights are out,” he promises.
“Okay. Merry Christmas, Sam. I’d better go—Seth still wakes everyone up at the crack of dawn on Christmas.”
Sam laughs. “Sleep well, Lee.”
Sam picks up the boxes and watches me walk out of the forest, back onto the lawn and go inside.
Tears fall down my cheeks like the snow outside. My silent crying turns into sobs and I bury my face in my pillow, desperate to escape the music from next door and the memories stuck in my head. “All is calm! All is bright!” Like heck. All is not calm—not at all. Not in my world.
I struggle to fall back to sleep, to forget how that memory was not yet a memory, but the present only a few years ago.
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