Red Ribbon Christmas
By: The Sacred Fox
The first year my boyfriend couldn’t come home for the holidays, I couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm to celebrate Christmas with my family. When anyone asked what I wanted for Christmas, all I would say was “Anything with a red bow is fine.” I knew my family was worried, but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I just wanted the season to be over.
Christmas Day rolled around. My family and I sat around the tree passing out presents, children first, adults last, until nothing remained under the synthetic pine. I could only blink as I realized nothing was passed to me. I looked at each smiling face and felt my mood drop faster than the Lex Luther ride at Six Flags.
It hurt to think my family had done nothing for me that holiday. And with my boyfriend out of town, it was like a brick to a beaver dam.
I started to cry.
My parents looked the most shocked. A couple of the younger children took my side and cried with me, but over all no one seemed to know what to say.
That’s when I heard it: a knock. Over the crying, I heard my father shout at my brother to answer the door. I didn’t look to see who strolled through the tackily lit portal or stop crying when someone draped their arms over my shoulders from behind.
A kiss on my cheek. That’s what it took to stop my crying. I looked at Mom and Dad, my brother and sister, and blinked at their grinning faces.
My stomach did an odd somersault as I turned and met my boyfriend’s soft gaze. Dark circles lined the underside of his eyes. Even still he managed a smile and straightened the tie beneath his chin.
I glanced at my family who only mouthed two words. “Merry Christmas.”
A smug look curved my boyfriend’s lips as he opened arms and I stepped into them.
“Your boyfriend must be a pretty bad guy to make you cry like that,” he said. “Good thing you have great parents.”
“I have a great family.”
I never had a doubt. It wasn’t in red ribbon, but I knew this was a gift I would treasure.