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Author Name: TrialAnn 2 Comments
Date Added: December 13, 2005 17:12:39 Average Score: (Needs 2)
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Category: Short Stories Add To Favorites | Text Only
Tokens (A Christmas Tale)
Theresa stared out at the snowflakes that were gently falling from the grey December day and exhaled slowly. Her eyes fell to the skateboard leaning against the wall near the front door and she ached to just hold it as she remembered the summer and autumn days. She would fly up and down Main Street with her best friend Devon and the other kids who wove in and out of the pedestrians. It was a thrilling thing and made her feel more alive than anything in the world. It was better not to think about it anymore. Shaley Green, the skater kid from the next town over would be by to pick it up in a few minutes. She was getting $50 for it and it was worth, it she surmised. Her eyes fell to the stickers she had accumulated on it over the last four years and then shrugged. It needed new wheels one of these days and she’d get another one next spring, once she did some babysitting. It had cost her a hundred bucks back then, and she had been envied by everyone for a while. She had taken good care of it and she smiled as she thought of all the miles she had put on that board.

That fifty dollars was a necessity. She needed to buy her sister a Christmas gift. There was no compromise. She and Sheila had been through so much in the last few years together and she loved her more than any other person on earth. She knew it would be that way forever. They were buds and they were unconditionally there for one another. Barely a year and a half apart in age, they had struggled through their parent’s divorce with one another and she owed her so much more than she could give for Christmas. She knew that the one thing that her sister wanted for Christmas was a set of seven sterling silver buttons for her vintage suede coat that had belonged to their grandmother. Sheila had a sense of style that was unique and every detail of her life was meaningful in the way she expressed it. Theresa loved the way she showed her style and she had been looking at those buttons for the last year, sitting there in the antique store window downtown. The price tag was $60, but Mrs. Thompson told her she’d let her have them for $50 if they didn’t sell. They had been there that afternoon and tomorrow was Christmas Eve, so the time was right. Theresa knew that her sister would love them and that made it all right. She heard footsteps on the porch and averted her eyes from her skateboard as she went to open the door.

Sheila hurried to the sports store after school got out. It was a good thing they got out early from school. She went to the skater section and her eyes zeroed in on the wheels as soon as she turned the corner. Theresa would love them. That board was her life and she knew that the wheels were long overdue for an overhaul. She hoped that mom wouldn’t be getting any more calls from the constable about Theresa riding on the sidewalk at rush hour. Her sister was such a renegade at times and when the constable called last time, she mimed his pointing finger and fierce tone as mom sat there apologizing profusely to him, swearing it wouldn’t happen again. They all giggled a bit after she hung up, but there was no guarantee that Theresa would stop. If that was the worse thing Theresa did in life, riding on the sidewalk at rush hour, then she might have a pretty good life overall. Sheila loved her sis and just the sight of her sailing up the driveway a few minutes late for dinner and making a grand entrance was one of her endearing points. Sheila paid $48 cash for the wheels and stepped out into the calm but cold afternoon. She shivered a bit, but pulled her sweatshirt a little closer. She would need to find a jacket somewhere next week. Mom had a couple of older coats around until then. Her breath caught in her chest for a minute as she thought of the moment when she handed the suede jacket over to Mrs. Thompson. She hadn’t wanted to do it, but she could always buy it back some day soon after she got a job when the holidays were done. Sheila smiled with anticipation at the look that would be on her sister’s face when she saw those wheels. It would be awesome. She got into the car and drove home. She’d need to wrap these before morning.

Christmas morning dawned crisp and clear and the girls woke to the smell of bacon and coffee. Theresa reached up and threw a stuffed animal at Sheila.
“Wake up sleepyhead!”
Sheila groaned and rolled over and then Theresa felt the same stuffed animal hit the back of her head as she opened the bedroom door. Mom was making breakfast and Theresa gave her a hug.
“Merry Christmas Mom.” She received a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek and in her usual fashion wiped her hand over her cheek in an over exaggerated expression.
“Not the cheek. Not the cheek!” Her mother swatted her and handed her a piece of bacon that she wolfed down.
Sheila came out and yawned, heading straight for the coffee.
“Merry Christmas you two.” She hugged her mother and gave a kung fu kick at Theresa who promptly karate chopped her leg and twirled around. The two ended up in a hug and then breakfast was on the table.

Theresa and Sheilas’ eyes both turned to the tree more than once and the gifts underneath. There weren’t that many, but they both knew that they were the ones that counted and that they were all together for the holiday was the biggest gift of all. Finally the dishes were done and they decided to go open their gifts. Their fingers fumbled at the packages of underwear and socks, a board game for each of them, some clothes and perfume and other small odds and ends. Theresa and Sheila reached for their final gifts from each other and opened them at the same time. Theresa could feel the heft of the wheels and knew, just knew that her sister had given her the one gift she wanted two days ago and her heart fell. Sheila saw the glint of the buttons as she tore the package open and felt tears welling up in her eyes. The two looked at one another unsure of what to say.

“Girls. There are two more presents I was saving for last. Why don’t you take these.” Mom was standing there with two large presents she had gotten from the bedroom. Theresa opened the large box half-heartedly and when she removed the lid stared at the contents unbelievingly. How could she have known that I sold this? Sheila tore the paper from the suede coat that she had been wearing only yesterday. She turned to her mother and saw that her mom had tears in her eyes. The three of them silently moved to hug each other. There were no words necessary to describe the best Christmas morning.

Author's Notes:
Repost for the holidays..a modern version of Gift of the Magi...happy holidays everyone!
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Comment By: PremiumMary Lou Allen on December 15, 2005 05:41:09 PM Report
Now, see, this is the way O Henry should have done it. Very well done, Ann. ML
Comment By: FreeBarbara Demasson on December 14, 2005 01:08:33 PM Report
Ann, this is so very touching, I am moved by this for it really has captured the sincerity of the characters and the love they have for one another. This is the true spirit of giving and receiving. I have tears now as this was so beautifuly written and presented.

I love this Ann! Excellent, excellent, excellent!!! What a treasure this is!



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