‘Twas The Night After Christmas: A Short Story

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Christmas was probably my least favorite time of year. They say that depression kicks in around this time. But that wasn’t my case. I was just typically unimpressed by the entire thing, the Christmas trees, mistletoe, carols, gifts, and definitely the snow. This year wasn’t much different. The one thing that was, was him. This year I wasn’t alone. I had a reason to celebrate and a reason to decorate my home. He never celebrated Christmas growing up and this year, he wanted it to be special. He had just gotten home from war. He didn’t have much family, just me. So, I wanted to make this day special for him. After all, it was the day after Christmas. His flight got delayed so he wasn’t able to make it for Christmas, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t normally celebrate anyway. Better late than, never right?

I had to pick him Romeo up from the airport at noon. By 11:00, I had completed the meal for us to eat, decorated the Christmas tree and wrapped his gifts. I was at the gate waiting for him at 11:45.

“Yo!!!! Lisa!!”

He seemed so excited to see me.

“How long has it been? A year?”

“Probably longer. You know you don’t know how to come see a brother.”

“Whatever Romeo. Ready to go?”

“You know it. I hope you got dinner ready.”

“You do realize that it’s only noon, right?”

“I do, but I’m also hungry. You know they only feed us peanuts and water on the planes now. I’m starving.”

“Don’t worry about it. Have I ever let you down?”

“Maybe that one time back in high school. But that’s a conversation for another day.”

He drove us to the house. I remember when we were in high school, he never let me touch a steering wheel. He said as long as he was around, driving was the least of my worries.

After what seemed like hours in traffic, we made it to the house. He grabbed his bags out of the trunk as I walked to unlock the door.

“I keep forgetting how beautiful your home is.”

“Thanks! I guess my interior decorating skills come in handy somewhere.”

“What do you mean somewhere? You’ve been doing this for years. I’m sure you just take extra care while decorating your own home.”

“You’re right. I love it. With everyone else, it’s almost like going on a first date with someone. I have to learn things about them to make sure that whatever I put in the house is a direct reflection of them.”

“I understand that.”

He walked into the living room.

“Lisa, you didn’t have to put up the tree.”

“What kind of Christmas would it be, if I didn’t?”

“A great one, because I get to spend it with you.”

“Well aren’t you sweet!”

“I try to be. But about this food. I’ll go put my bags in the guest bedroom.”

I was reheating the food when he walked into the kitchen.

“So, what did you make?”

“Seafood dressing, baked macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, and kale.”

“That sounds delicious. I can’t wait.”

“It’ll be ready shortly. The table’s already set. Go through my albums and see if you find anything you want to listen to.”

Just as I was taking the food to the table, I heard Nat King Cole “The Christmas Song” playing over the loud speakers. I couldn’t believe that he remembered. That was my absolute favorite version of that song and I loved Nat King Cole.

“Dinner’s served, Romeo.”

“Everything looks great, Lisa! I want to thank you again for allowing me to spend a few days with you. I would have been in a lonely hotel eating take-out if you hadn’t.”

“Well I happen to love take-out.”

“I’m sure you do. But thank you anyway.”

“You’re welcome. Now let’s sit down and eat.”

We spent the next thirty minutes, eating and talking about old times. Romeo and I met in high school. I had a crush on him. But he liked someone else. So instead of making a big deal about it, I decided to just be his friend. That was probably the best decision I made, because he was the best friend that a girl could request. He did everything that you would expect a boyfriend to do. He set the bar so high that it was hard to find a guy worth my time. When he joined the military after high school, I didn’t want him to leave. But he had to do what was best for him and his son.

“How’s Jr. doing?”

“He’s great. Growing every day. His mom sends me pictures all the time. I’m going to try and see him before I leave the city. They’re visiting her family for the holidays. Hopefully, they’ll be back in town before I leave.”

“I remember when you started dating his mom. I just knew you two would get married.”

“I thought so too. But you never know how things will turn out. I actually thought about you a lot while I was overseas.”

“Really? What were those thoughts exactly?”

“We have a lot of history, Lisa. I really wish we had stayed in touch more over the years.”

“It’s okay. We’re back at it now, right?”

“Yes, we are. Want to watch a movie?”

“Sure, why not. What did you have in mind?”

“I haven’t seen ‘The Preacher’s Wife’ in years. Probably since high school. What about that?”

“I love that movie. I guess you are in the Christmas mood huh?”

“You know it.”

“Wait, before we do that, I got you something. It’s wrapped under the tree.”

“I saw that. I just knew that it was yours.”

“Well you’re the only one who celebrates Christmas the next day. I opened my few gifts yesterday. Just open it.”

He opened the gift and immediately started to cry.

“Why are you crying?”

“I can’t remember the last time I got a Christmas gift. Thank you.”

“It was nothing. I just saw it and thought of you. I’m glad you like it.”

“I love it.”

“Okay enough of the waterworks. Let’s watch this movie.”

We spent about an hour watching the movie before he fell asleep on the couch. I was lying in his lap. When I looked up, his head was tilted backwards. I woke him up when the movie was over.

“You fell asleep on me Romeo.”

“I’m so sorry. That trip drained me. Maybe I should hit the hay. Hang out tomorrow?”

“Most definitely. There are some clean towels and things in your bathroom already in case you need to wash some of that flight off.”

“I think I may. Thanks again for everything, Lisa.”

“No problem. I’ll see you in the morning.”

I got up, cleaned the kitchen, put the leftovers away, and turned off the tv. If he was going to sleep, I would spend the next few hours reading until I fell asleep.

After a few hours I still couldn’t go to sleep. I remembered when I was in college, he would come to visit me in my on-campus apartment. He would be sleeping on the couch. I could never sleep too far from him when we were in the same place. So, I would get up from my cozy bed and sleep with him on the couch. It was a comfort thing. He never seemed to mind it. But we never talked about it either.

Instead of a couch, he had an entire bed. I made my way into his bedroom. He was dead to the world. I gently pulled the covers back in order not to wake him. I curled up beside him with my head on his chest. Before I could get comfortable, he wrapped his arm around me. As I started to doze off, he kissed me on my forehead. I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep after that.

By the time I woke up it was one in the morning. We did fall asleep early. I looked up at him and he was awake, watching me.

“Hey sleeping beauty. You still having trouble sleeping huh?”

“It only seems to happen when you’re around. I sleep okay most nights.”

“I was hoping you would come sleep with me.”


“Yes, really. That was always my favorite part about coming to visit you”

“Well, since it’s another day, I have a question for you.”


“You said I let you down in high school. When did I let you down?”

“I can’t believe you waited to ask me that.”

“I was curious and wanted to know.”

“Well if you must know, you let me down the day that you decided to only be my friend.”

“But you liked Ashely. What was I supposed to do?”

“You were supposed to fight for me. The reason Ashley and I broke up was because she thought we were messing off.”

“You never told me that.”

“I didn’t want you to stop being my friend. I knew that if you thought you were interfering with my relationship in anyway, you would’ve disappeared.”

“You’re right, I would have.”

“After all of those years, I have yet to meet anyone who cared about me as genuinely as you.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want your face to be the first face I see when I get home from deployments. I want to enjoy home cooked meals with you. I want to travel with you. Tell me that you feel the same way.”

“I must admit that picking you up from the airport felt natural. Everything about to day felt natural except for us sleeping in separate rooms.”

“Well let’s fix that. Marry me, Lisa.”


“Wait, I know that I said I didn’t get you anything but that’s not completely true.”

He reached over to the nightstand and pulled out a ring box.

“Lisa, will you marry me?”

“Yes, Romeo. I will.”

Then came the tears. But this time, they were mine.

We spent the next year planning a wedding that we never expected to have. Who would have known that celebrating Christmas a day late, would make me a bride to be. From that moment on, Christmas had a different meaning. It meant more to me than Christmas trees, mistletoe, carols, gifts, and definitely the snow. It meant that love existed right in front of me, I only had to pay attention and maybe fall asleep in his arms.


No More Settling

People say that I’m picky when it comes to who I date. That would explain why I spend so much time being single. I must say that I don’t completely agree with being picky. I just have standards. I have been in relationships where I settled because I hadn’t met anyone that could meet my standards. As I have gotten older, I refuse to settle. There are some things that I just won’t compromise on.

One thing that I refuse to compromise on is my God. I am very open about my faith. My spirituality means more to me than anything. If the guy that I’m dating can’t meet me on a spiritual level, it would never really work. I need a guy who can pray me out of a situation. If something is going on and my faith is lacking, I need him to uplift me in scripture and in prayer. I can’t deal with both of us folding under pressure. At the same time I want to be able to lift him up as well. Encouraging him to continue to follow God’s path and everything else will fall into place.

Another thing that I can’t compromise on is family. I love my family so much. After losing my dad, my mom and sister became my everything. I have a new niece. She’s all sorts of awesome. They mean the world to me and I want to be able to share that with whomever I’m dating. I would also love to meet his family. There is something about getting to know the people who helped mold him into the man that he is.

Ambition is another thing. There has to be some sort of goals that are in place. I’m full of all sorts of dreams and goals. I can’t be in a relationship with someone who is stagnant. There is always room for growth. Intellectually, I want to be able to connect with him. I want to be able to share my dreams with him. His excitement would make me all the more joyous. I love to share my visions with people, especially when I see them right in front of me.

He also has to be my friend. I should be able to talk to him about any and everything. Something amazing happens when you can be best friends with your mate. It helps you to understand them on a completely different level.

All of these things could be difficult for some, but others not so much. However, they are important to me. So the moral of this story is: No more settling for anything less than I need. I’m sure that guy will come around soon enough.



A Graduation worth Praying For

Disclaimer: I’m extremely late posting this. So the first paragraph isn’t accurate. I am not currently where it says I am. I actually wrote this about three months ago. But nonetheless, the sentiment is the same.

So… I’m sitting in my cousin’s apartment. It’s 7:35 am and I’m patiently awaiting my trip to Murfreesboro. My cousin whose apartment I’m not sitting in is graduating today. It’s been a long journey for him. I’m slightly emotional for a lot of different reasons.

Let’s start by explaining how close we were. We were in the same homeroom for years because in our school district classes were arranged in alphabetical order. We did everything together. He was the first person to introduce me to the baked potato. I had no idea they were so delicious. He also taught me how to build a salad. We weren’t allowed either of those until we reached the fifth grade. This was “adult food” I guess. He was also the reason that I got into plenty of trouble. He did most of the dirt and I just took half the blame. I was a good kid, so you can imagine how this affected my reputation. 

Eventually, we grew up and we grew apart. He moved to another city and I stayed in the same place. We later, both went off to college in different cities as well. We kept in touch through Facebook but I hadn’t seen him in years.

He was in a car accident our sophomore year in college. He fell into a coma. He had swelling in his brain and the doctors thought he would be in that coma for months. I like to say that he was sleeping. I use to say that he was having a conversation with God while he restored his strength and healed his body. This was the most difficult time for me. I don’t think I’ve prayed so much in my life. He had to get better. I hadn’t seen him in years and I was going to see him again, alive and well. My mom wouldn’t let me drive to see him in the hospital, which made me angry. She said there was nothing that I could do but I felt so far away at school. None of my schoolwork mattered because I had him on the brain. I found myself going into bathrooms to pray for him. My friend (his best friend) kept me informed on his progress. In the meantime, I posted statuses on his Facebook page telling him how much I loved him and that he better wake up soon, to stop being stubborn and to come back to us.

He woke up and tried to escape. You would’ve thought he was in jail, the way he was acting. My cousin!! I love him so much. My faith grew so much during this time. It made me realize that if you’re going to trust God then you need to wholeheartedly trust him, not just a little bit. We had no choice but to put complete trust in him, there was nothing that we could do but wait. There were prayers going up from all over. I was constantly in prayer during this time. I think everyone was. Our mutual friend, his best friend gave me updates on his progress. I remember when she called to tell me that he woke up. I had a roommate at the time. I left the room and went into the bathroom. I had a praise break. I was so excited. I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. I was so thankful for his life and for God’s faithfulness in his life.

This one event brought us closer again. It also brought me closer to God. I’ll always refer to that time as a renewal for me. I rededicated my life to Christ that year. I also got baptized for the first time. Things were looking up. I served a God who was faithful. I had witnessed James 5:16 first hand “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” I was and forever will be grateful for his life. Also, I will forever be grateful for a new life in him. I may not be in a perfect place, but I’m definitely far from where I use to be.

I love you J!!


Father’s Day Minus 1

I had a conversation with my AACB last night and he mentioned his father. He talked about today being father’s day and their plans. Just that small mention got me thinking.

I started thinking about my dad. Today is father’s day and I haven’t celebrated this holiday in quite some time now. See, my dad passed away when I was eleven. That seems like forever ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the times that we spent together and the impact that he had on my life. I don’t like to talk about missing him too much because it puts me in this funk. I loved my Dad and I still do. He was the epitome of what a great man should be. He also loved me very much. I was his baby girl. There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about him and wish he was here. There have been times that I wanted to call him for advice or just needed to lay in his arms and cry over some boy who had broken my heart. However, I seem to have managed to do okay. Now relationships, those are a different story.

I seem to look for traits of my dad in the men that I date. My dad had qualities that seem to only come once in a lifetime or once in a generation. So I’m looking for the Paul of my generation. A man who ‘s loving, kind, spiritual, caring, giving, and funny. A man who takes care of his responsibilities even when things don’t look so bright. A man who takes care of his kids and marries a woman who loves him dearly. A man who treats his daughters like princesses and reminds them that they are beautiful and any guy who doesn’t think so can kick rocks. He truly was the almost perfect man, since no one is perfect. He came pretty close though. I couldn’t have asked for a better dad.

I’ve said all of that to say this….. Cherish your father, not everyone has the opportunity to spend time with theirs. Spend time with him while you still can. I also want to say Happy Father’s Day to the men who rightfully wear that title. Father’s day is a wonderful holiday.

But for me, it’s a Father’s Day minus one…..

R.I.P. Dad!! I love and miss you every day.