Archive for December 12th, 2021

Advent 2021 – December 12

December 12 – Doug, Tim, and Ryan

“Look who’s here!” Drew and Molly turned as a familiar voice came from behind them. “I can’t believe we actually found you here!”

Drew’s cousin Doug, who was a teacher at the Daughter of Stars Middle School, was carrying his three-year-old son Ryan on his broad shoulders. Standing beside him was his husband Tim. All three of them were grinning.

“Did you think we would miss it?” Drew asked. “I think the only thing bigger this year will be the Snow Queen’s Ball.”

“True.” Tim looked over the crowd. “It’s funny, but you never realize how many people live in the  Cove until you see them at something like this.”

“Who’s next?” Jade’s voice floated out over the crowd. Doug looked at his husband.

“Sure,” Tim said, and the three of them went up to the front. Doug put Ryan on the ground in front of them and then knelt down and whispered in his ear.

Jade smiled at them, and Ryan smiled shyly back at her. “Do you have an ornament for us?” she asked kindly.

He nodded. “Star,” he said. “Christmas star.”

The ornament he held out to her in his chubby mittened hands was all white, and Molly realized it was crocheted thread in the shape of an intricate star.  “Christmas star,” Ryan repeated firmly. “For the tree. Like at home.”

When the grey cleared, Molly and Schrodinger didn’t immediately recognize where they were. It definitely wasn’t the Cove. They were in a small living room, with dark curtains on the windows, and the only light came from the Christmas tree that was in the corner. 

Where do you think we are? Schrodinger asked her.

“No idea,” Molly said, and then the door that they’d barely seen in the gloom opened, and a much younger Doug came through. “Drew? You in here? Mom says dinner’s almost ready.”

That’s when she spotted the boy sitting in a recliner, covered by a knitted blanket, holding something in his hands that he was looking down at. It was hard to see what in the gloom. He was only ten or twelve, she thought. This must be the first Christmas after his parents were killed.

Oh, how sad, Schrodinger said, his ears going back. 

“Drew?” Past-Doug said again, coming further into the room. “Are you hungry?”

Past-Drew shook his head, and his cousin went over to him. 

“Want to talk about it?”

Past-Drew shook his head again. 

“How about if I just sit here with you?”

The other boy shrugged, and Past-Doug sat down on the couch. For a few minutes, they sat in silence. Then Molly saw what Past-Drew had been holding: a crocheted star, all in white.

“Hey, you found the star!” Past-Doug smiled happily. “That’s good luck, you know.”

“Hardly.” The bitterness in Past-Drew’s voice struck Molly. “There’s no such thing as good luck. There’s just the world, and it doesn’t like you, or me, or anyone.”

“I know it seems like that now,” Past-Doug said. 

“Do you? Really? Because last time I checked, your parents were still around.” Past-Drew ran his fingers on the star. “All I have left of them is this. A few stars.”

“You have us,” Past-Doug said quietly. “You have the memories of all the days before they were killed. You have the stars that your mom made for all of us. And you know that they’re still watching over you.” He laid his hand on his cousin’s shoulder. “I’m glad you’re here, Drew. I’m glad you weren’t with them, and some day, these stars will be something we’ll pass on to our kids. They’ll be the symbol of the love of our family.”

Molly’s face was wet with tears as she watched Past-Doug take the star from Past-Drew’s hands and then take his cousin into his arms. “I can’t imagine how hard Christmas must have been to him that year,” Molly said. “I can’t imagine Christmas without my mom.”

You’ll have to, someday, Schrodinger said. It’s the way of things. Nothing lasts forever.

She wiped away the tears and when she looked up again, she was back in the Cove, watching Jade place the star on the tree. Beside her, Drew’s eyes were wet, and she knew he must be remembering those long-ago Christmases. She squeezed his hand, and he smiled sadly at her. 

“I never knew your mom made those,” she said. “I’m glad you put them on our tree.”

“Me too,” Drew said. “It’s as if she and Dad are watching us when we decorate the tree.” He shook his head. “I wish you’d gotten the chance to meet them. They would have adored you.”

“Me too,” Molly said. “Me too.”