Topic: Meet Charlie - a tiny yule-tide tale
I just wrote this, and figured I'd share it with you guys Enjoy.
At least a dozen houses line the moonlit road. No one on this road wants to pay for streetlights. That doesnâ€™t really matter on clear nights like this. Snow coats each yard like giant polar bear pelts, rough at the edges where water from drains and hastily shovelled paths cut their way through. The road is clear. Around here, the snowploughs work fast.
A few of the houses are black as pitch, with not even single strings of burnt-out bulbs to excuse the darkness. These houses are drab and boring. No wonder no one comes this way often. The other houses, at least, make an effort. But, even they only manage a wreath or two...and maybe some icicle lights on the gutters. All of the houses on this road are depressing. That is, all but one.
One house â€“ no, one home â€“ dares to break the mould. It has wreaths on every door, and handmade garland around every window. Rows of lights of every colour fill the roof. The two trees in the front yard are lit with brilliant combinations of red, green, blue, and yellow, and are topped with angels that turn and flash â€œMerry Christmasï¿½ in time with carols playing ever so softly in the background. A family of plastic reindeer stand together nearby, with a life-size wire-form Santa looking over them. The one who lives here knows the meaning of Christmas. In one of the windows, the curtains rustle, and a head pokes out through. The eyes shift back and forth, up and down the road, looking for something only they know. Then, they disappear.
This is Charlie.
He walks over to the fireplace and hangs up a stocking. It flickers orange with the light from the fire below. So do the others hanging beside it. There are four altogether, but only one person lives in this house. He watches the flames for a moment, then shuffles across the fading hardwood floor to the tree. Itâ€™s adorned with many decorations. They swing as Charlie brushes against the branches, leaning closer to get a good smell of the fresh pine scent. Everyone else has artificial trees. Christmas in Charlieâ€™s house just wouldnâ€™t be the same without the pine. He finds one himself each year, and gets his axe and chops it down. Then he ties it down on the back of his truck and smiles as he drives it back. He doesnâ€™t stop smiling as he hauls it inside and sets it up in an antique tree stand. The stand used to be a vibrant red, but the paint is flaking and giving way to rust. He could never throw the stand away, though. It was his fatherâ€™s.
Charlie still smiles as he taps one of the decorations to make it spin. Under the tree are a few presents, but, all of them, he got himself. It doesnâ€™t matter to Charlie, though. Christmas means more to him than getting presents from others. It means so much more. He shuffles across to his brown leather recliner and lays back, facing the fireplace. A glass of fresh eggnog sits on the table beside him. He has everything he needs. All of the other people on his street â€“ they have families, and expensive presents, and parties. Charlie has himself. He knows the meaning of Christmas.
He takes a drink of the eggnog, and some runs down his beard. He taught himself how to make eggnog. His is non-alcoholic. It runs red. He returns the glass to the table. He knows exactly where it was. Itâ€™s left a red stain in the wood. He would clean it, but heâ€™s always liked the added touch of a little blood. And he loves how it tastes. Each of the presents under the tree have "From Santa" marked on them. Charlieâ€™s getting exactly what he wants. One of them is stained, just like the table. It leaves a red mark on the floor. The decorations that hang on the tree are homemade. Theyâ€™re the fingers and toes of little children. More will be there next year. In each stocking hanging on the fireplace is an eye. Itâ€™s just too bad they could no longer see; they would be amazed at how much effort Charlie puts into the season. The stockings, themselves, are made of the softest skin. No, not fox skin, or rabbit, Charlie uses only the finest. For him, only cats and young children will do. He doesnâ€™t waste a thing. A blackened leg juts from the fire in the hearth. It gives a lot of heat this time of year.
Charlie knows the meaning of Christmas. Everyone else...theyâ€™ll learn.
Last edited by Chrizzy (2009-12-07 20:03:17)