Susan W. Hudson

Annie was baffled by her mother’s decision to make all the Christmas decorations blue this year.

Annie loved her mother very much. Annie knew that she was smart and pretty; she got that from her mother.

Annie’s mother, Marie, had year-after-year decorated the house and the tree with beloved ornaments from years past. The theme was always red, white, green, and gold. Many of the items were hand made by her children and had been lovingly preserved over the years.

After the mother abandoned all the traditional ornaments and replaced them with blue baubles, Annie came in to view the result. It was not abysmal, but certainly different.

One ornament caught Annie’s eye, and she couldn’t look away. The ornament held inside a young woman skating in a figure-eight configuration in a small rink, over and over. Artificial snow showered down on her. She skated on and on as long as the battery survived.

Annie thought that was the saddest thing she has ever seen. She stared incessantly at the ornament. 

On the far side of the ornament, a black dot appeared. As Annie glared at the ornament, the dot grew bigger until it was almost the same size as the young skater. It took on the form of a man, dressed all in black and wearing a black hat. Annie stared at the man, and the man beckoned for her to come inside. 

Being totally mesmerized by the scene, she did. She tentatively entered into the ornament. The man motioned for her to come closer. He took the skater by one arm and indicated to Annie that he wanted her to take the other. The man took one of the skaters' hands and Annie took the other. Together they pulled the skater from her monotonous route. The skater wobbled on her ice skates over to the other side of the ornament with them.

With the man taking the lead, they all went through the far side of the ornament, dusted off the artificial snow, and looked up. They were on Fifth Avenue in New York City. They made their way to a place with a huge sign touting the name Macy’s. They peered through the mighty glass windows. Almost everything displayed there was red, white, green, or gold. Annie spotted another blue snow globe with other skaters trapped inside. One was a woman and the other her male partner. “I hope I can help you someday,” Annie muttered to the skaters.

Annie shivered. The man was wearing a black wool coat over his suit. The skater was still wearing her white wool sweater, blue wool skirt, and blue scarf. Annie had left her warm home in just leggings and a lightweight shirt. Annie deduced that they would somehow have to get her a jacket. And, the skater was still wobbling on her ice skates, so something had to be done about that. 

The man clearly knew his way around New York City and this mammoth store. He buzzed through the store to the section that sold women’s jackets. Annie picked out a warm looking fleece-lined bright blue jacket. The man went over to the nice lady who had helped them find the item they needed. He whispered something in her ear, and the jacket was theirs.

Next on the list was something suitable for the skater’s feet. She was still hobbling along on the ice skates. She found a nice pair of blue boots warmly lined and just her size. She also picked out, with Annie’s help, a pair of popular brand sneakers.  

The man spoke to the clerk. The shoes were theirs. Annie and the man helped the skater into the beautiful boots and held her as she found her balance while getting acquainted with them.

Then they found a nice little blue wheelie-type suitcase, a pair of pajamas, several pairs of leggings, and tops and socks for the skater. And, of course, they had to find her just the right pair of jeans. The man again worked his magic and the girls packed the suitcase with casual-wear items for the skater. She was in awe of her new friends and her new wardrobe, but she carefully tucked her old clothes into the suitcase as well.

Led, again, by the man, they went back inside the ornament. He became smaller and smaller and finally waved goodbye to Annie and the skater.

Annie and the skater looked at each other. They grabbed the wheelie and burst through the front of the ornament.

Annie called out, “Mom, a friend of mine from school is here. Can she spend the night?”

“Sure,” her mother said. “What is her name?”

“Um, Macy,” Annie replied. “Oh, just like my favorite store in New York City,” the mother exclaimed!

“Mom,” Annie called out. “Yes,”  mother said. “This ornament is broken. Can I put it in the trash?”

“Of course,” her mother replied.

“Oh, Hi, Macy.” The mother said while doing a double-take. Macy and Annie could almost have been twins with their long blonde hair and blue eyes. They both had the small-featured valentine-shaped face.

The mother caught her breath and proceeded to explain that their normal theme for Christmas was red, white, green, and gold. “Something,” she explained, “just compelled me to change over to blue this year.” “Macy, what is your favorite color,” she asked.

“Blue,” the skater muttered. “Mine too,” said the mother. “Just like Annie’s eyes. She got them from her father who left us earlier this year.”

That explained a lot to Annie. She, too, missed her dad. He had been taken away by cancer way too young. Things began to come into focus for her. But still, her main concern was her new friend, Macy. She knew she had saved her from a life of boredom. But what could she do next?

When the mother went back into the kitchen, Annie took the ornament off the tree and placed it on the side table.

The girls took the wheelie upstairs and set it on the spare twin bed in Annie’s room. “You can sleep in that bed tonight.  I’ll get you another blanket in case you get cold,” Annie told Macy.  Annie and Macy headed back down the stairs just as the mother cheerfully sang out “dinner.”

The mother had set an extra plate.  The conversation was light. The mother immediately sank back into the depression that had engulfed her for most of the past year. Annie chatted incessantly. The mother asked Macy some mundane questions, and Annie answered most of them. 

“You’re awfully quiet,” the mother questioned Macy. Macy replied, “yes.” Then, again, Annie jumped in. “That’s what I love about her; she listens to me without giving advice or complaining.”

After dinner, the girls helped with the clean-up and settled down to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” - Macy for the first time, Annie, the 10th or so. The mother was still in the kitchen, making lists and awaiting the onslaught tomorrow of Annie’s twin older brothers arriving from their separate colleges.

The girls were tired and went to bed early. They were both tucked in by the mother and fell asleep quickly.

Annie slept late. She stretched and opened her eyes to sunlight.  Macy was not in her bed. She was nowhere to be found. The mother was excited and distracted by the arrival of one of the twins. The atmosphere was jolly. 

Annie went downstairs and went immediately to the ornament on the side table. The skater was back inside, dressed in jeans and a bright blue jacket. She was ensconced in her figure-eight route. She was wearing her blue scarf.

Annie looked around and saw that all the Christmas decorations were the usual and beloved red, white, green, and gold. She put the blue skater ornament back onto the tree. She ran to greet her big brother who had just arrived. Her mother looked almost happy.

September 18, 2020 19:10

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Merina Jacob
07:00 Sep 24, 2020

Thank you Susan for giving me another reason to love Christmas!!


Show 0 replies
Rajesh Patel
22:51 Sep 23, 2020

A lovely story. Thank you Susan.


Show 0 replies
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