Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Christmas Eve - Under the Mistletoe
Under the Mistletoe © Megan Loughlin
The house was ready for Christmas. Mr. Stevens had put the yard decorations up the day before, and it was covered in fake snow, kitschy Nativity scenes, and giant inflatable snow globes, snow men, and at least twelve different Santa Clauses.
Inside the house, every square inch of space had strings of berries, garlands, popcorn, banners wishing visitors a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and every spare plug had an air freshener that smelled like cookies baking. But what really stood out was the mistletoe. It hung in great clumps from the ceiling. It wound itself around the bannister, it cluttered in the doorways. Every where you stepped, there was mistletoe hanging overhead.
Mrs. Doretta Stevens was in the kitchen baking a batch of Christmas cookies. She hummed 'Rudolph The Red nosed Reindeer' as she pressed the cookie cutters into the pliable dough. A large pile of cookies sat on the counter, covered in green and red sprinkles in anticipation of the night to come. There was also a pile of candy canes in all different flavours.
Mrs. Stevens popped the latest batch into the oven and went into the living room. She took a deep breath and fanned herself, then looked around at the decorations. Everything was absolutely perfect. She checked her watch, smiling. Almost time.
The front door opened and Mr Edward Stevens, clumped into the house“Is everything ready, Peaches?” Mrs. Stevens nodded, smiling.
“Yes, of course it is. Cookies are all baked, the house is all decorated for Christmas, and I've remembered to send out the invitations. They should all get here soon.” At that moment, 'Silver Bells' rang through the house. Mrs. Stevens went to answer the door, smiling at their neighbors. “Mrs. Carman, how wonderful to see you. Do please come in. Mr and Mrs. Gump, you're both looking quite festive this evening. There's
cookies in the kitchen and a big old pot of Christmas fudge on the stove. Help yourselves.”
By nine o'clock, all the guests had arrived and were milling about, admiring the decorations and munching on Mrs. Stevens' delicious fudge. When the clock struck ten, Mrs. Stevens spoke. “My husband and I want to thank you all so much for coming to our party. We were certain that our little...accident last year would mean the end of Christmas for us. But now we see that's not the case. Thank you so much for coming.”
The guests applauded politely, sweating under the hot Christmas lights. Mr. Stevens went to stand by his wife, a large smile on his narrow face. “Now, every year since the accident, my Doretta and I hold a party for all our closest neighbors We both thank you.”
One of the neighbors, an elderly woman, wiped her forehead. “My goodness, it's so hot. Why is it so hot?”
Mrs. Stevens smiled. “Oh, I am so sorry, Mrs. Carman. Ever since we died in that fire,
we've needed the heat.”