A typical Christmas eve

Submitted into Contest #178 in response to: Write a story about an unconventional holiday tradition.... view prompt


Holiday Romance

Right next to the bed, my water bottle sits patiently waiting for me. I let a quick sigh, as I recall what I’m missing before heading out. James glances at me, he can tell just from the sigh of my breath that I’m about o ask for something. My eyelids widen and my pupils expand, I’m putting on my best face.

“What?” he dreadfully asks.

 “I left my water bottle upstairs” I reply.

“ you mean this,” he says, as he pulls it out from his backpack.

His light brown eyes meet mine, I can’t hold the smile back. It’s always the little things he does that make me feel special. His chin tilts up, with a wide grin on his face.

“I thought you would forget something so I double-checked everything,” James says.

a humbling blow from James, he knows how to bring me back to earth. I shake my head in disappointment, as I put on my winter mitts. I snatch the water bottle from him and stuff it in my bag.

“thank you,” I say as we lock the front door to partake in our annual Christmas tradition. James checks his smartwatch, as we stretch our legs by reaching for our toes with straight knees, toe-touches.

“It's 11:30” he announces, as he reaches his toes with ease, if that’s not enough he pushes it further and uses his palm to touch the floor. while I on the other hand struggles to get my middle finger to graze my toes. feeling looser as I stretch, I let out a sigh. My warm humid breath visible in the cold air, reminding me that it’s Christmas eve and winter has truly begun. In sync, I and James both turn on the running app on our smartwatches.

It was around this time four years ago we both met. I was single, 26, and all of my friends were out of town. This time of the year was gruesome for me because my dad loved the holidays. He simply loved any reason to shoot fireworks. Usually, most people shoot fireworks on the 4th of July or other much warmer holidays. Not my dad though, dad would bring fireworks to birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas. There was this one time he brought fireworks to my little brothers, soccer tournaments in case they won, they didn’t, but he still shot them though. I inherited his love for them, and although maybe not as crazy for them as he was, fireworks still lit up my heart with joy. I had finally just moved out, and although I had plans for Christmas, Christmas eve was lonely, usually, my dad and I would sneak out to light some fireworks, but he wasn’t there anymore. I thought I would shoot some fireworks for him but a snowstorm ravaged outside. I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to light the firework with my cheap lighter, not that an expensive one would fix that. After finally convincing myself to go outside because the weather wouldn’t stop my dad and I wouldn’t let it stop me. I braced myself up with a sweater and my thick cozy winter jacket. Tied my snow boots extra tight, and protected my neck with a scarf. A light bulb shone brightly in my head as I stared down at the umbrella. My game plan was simple in theory but, harder in execution. I would use the umbrella to cover the firework so the snow wouldn’t kill the fuse, and right before the firework ignited I would pull the umbrella back and enjoy the show.

With the garage door open, I grabbed a roman candle, a simple firework that shoots one at a time and doesn’t burst into more stars. A favorite, my dad and I would hold them usually, without my mom she would lose it. sometimes I would even shoot them at him, and he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot them back, although I wouldn’t recommend that because we heard of a kid who went blind from it. immediately my plan was foiled by a slippery driveway, as I laid back on the snow with a broken roman candle and eyes bubbling up with tears. The reality was that Christmas and life were just lonely. all of my friends were busy, and I had just moved out so I was lacking a lot in the social department. As I laid back on the snow that reality I tried to run from, became all the more obvious. I hear footsteps crunching through the fresh snow at rapid snow I quickly sit upright and there James was. My knight and shining armor burst out laughing, in a sweater and some running tights as he reached out his hands to help.

“what are you doing?” James asked.

“Umm, what does it look like?” I replied.

“It looks like you are trying to shoot fireworks in a snowstorm,” James answered.

“Exactly, what are you doing in this storm” I inquire.

“Well I was going on a run, then I saw you slip and basically yea,” James said.

His answers were so simple they were funny, he said things how they were almost oblivious to the situation. It seemed like he was blurting words, and he still does that. The tears were all of a sudden gone and I grabbed his hands tight as he pulled me up.

“Do you need an extra hand with the fireworks?” James asked

“I’d really appreciate that,” I replied.

He kept his hands steady on the umbrella, stopping any snow from even seeing my fireworks. I got down on one knee and started trying but my fingers were having a hard time flicking the lighter. They were too cold and I couldn’t feel them so I couldn’t muster the coordination needed for the task.

“Switch?” James asked.

“Sure” I replied with a sigh of disappointment in myself

“Also, how were you going to do this by yourself?” James asked as he flicked the lighter on his third attempt.

“When there’s a will there’s a way” I reply.

He ignites the firework, and I keep the umbrella until the fire travels down the fuse. I had lit too many fireworks with my dad and instinctually had a timer in my head. I pulled back at the last second and our heads tilted up as we watched fireworks light up the sky on a snowy Christmas eve. Four years later here we are again, and we’ll do it next year hopefully, we moved the destination from my house though to a park nearby, and James’s love for running has rubbed off on me so we decided to run there instead of drive this year.

“You ready?” James asks as he flicks the lighter on at the desolate park.

“Of course,” I reply with a bright smile.

December 31, 2022 04:55

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