Fiction Story: Aunt Beth's Christmas Treasures

A fiction story about a recently divorced woman's experience spending her first Christmas without her husband and children.

| December 6, 2011 (Oct., Nov., Dec. 2006 issues)

The countryside sped by as Anne Morgan Davidson – Mrs. Matthew Davidson until six months ago – watched her reflection in the window of the train, a picture superimposed on the snow-covered scenery. An oval face just barely etched with lines – a testimony to years flitting by. Or maybe just to the last year, which hadn’t been a very good one.

Her reflection showed an attractive woman with chestnut-colored hair, and eyes as green as the countryside in spring. Her eyes reflected intelligence, as well as sadness. As she studied her face and the wintry countryside, she let her mind wander.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have taken the train. If I would have flown, I’d have been there by now. Maybe I shouldn’t have agreed to this trip at all. Am I being ridiculous, trying to recapture some of the excitement I felt as a child spending Christmas with Aunt Beth? So far, it isn’t working. 

    I can’t seem to rise above the sadness and disappointment that Mac and Jennie, my own kids, decided to go skiing with their dad, instead of spending Christmas with me. Good ol’ Matthew Davidson. I can always depend on him to make me unhappy. At least he’s reliable on that score. I’m sure the kids will have a great time with Matt and his new wife, Deirdre. 

It was two days before Christmas, but Anne felt none of the joy emanating through the train car where she was seated. She was oblivious to the bright-red garland stretched atop the windows and the wreaths decorated with shiny silver balls that hung over the doorways on either end of the railway car. None of the festive air surrounding the other passengers even touched her as she observed happy couples with their freshly scrubbed, overdressed children.

    Enjoy it while you can, folks, because when the bloom is off your marriage, the kids will go wherever it’s “fun,” and they won’t give a second thought to your happiness. 

12/24/2011 6:42:13 PM

Thank you for a lovely story! I too have collected ornaments every year for the past 30 years and when I put them up on the tree they hold so many memories. This is the first year we have done something different for our tree and reading your story brings back the specialness of the memories I have. Thank you.

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