I am your aunt, you might not be aware of me but I am family. I have seen you as a child, cradled you in my bare hands as you cooed, your mother was a delightful sister to me… I’m sorry for your loss.
We might not be familiar with each other but I want you to do a favor for me.
You must have noticed a purple box. Please open it as soon as possible and take care of it for me.
I’m sure you will appreciate it more than me…
I kept rereading the letter, looking for identifications of its sender. Who could this mysterious aunt of mine be? How did she know my address?
Curious, I grabbed the box as mentioned in the letter. Shaking it slightly, depicting what it could possibly be. There seemed to be air holes located all over the cardboard box that I delicately placed on the dining room table.
The letter mentioned that the content is something I need to care for.
A plant possibly? Seems easy enough.
I winced hearing scratching noises from inside. Something screeching for freedom.
“Hello?” I whispered, opening the flaps gradually. Keeping my distance.
I fell backwards as the thing flew out of its inclosed cage.
“Hey, watch it,” I turned around, trying to depict the voice.
“Who… said that?” I shivered, goosebumps appearing on my skin. I wasn’t much of a ghost believer but is it possible that…?
“...finally some fresh air…” I heard murmurs coming from under the table. I peeked, wondering who was talking.
“Ahh,” I screamed, running at the opposite direction. The bird flew over to perch on top of the coat rack.
“What are you?”
“Are you blind? I’m a myna,” It spoke… it spoke???
“Myna? How are you speaking?”
“What? Birds aren’t allowed to chat?” It narrowed its bulging eyes at me.
“No, no… I mean…” I shook my head. “I’m Kate, what’s your name?”
“Mazie,” It flew over to my shoulder, resting its body on me. I winced, but didn’t stop it.
“How are you speaking… Mazie?”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“You can understand me,” It rolled its eyes.
“That… thats impossible,” I chipped in.
“Well… how do you explain this?” It demanded, ruffling its black feathers.
“I’m not sure, maybe I’m dreaming?”
It pecked my hand carelessly.
“Ow, whats that for?”
“You asked for it.”
“No, I…” Was I arguing with a bird?
“So… um… Mazie, mind if I ask who sent you here?”
“Ok,” I awkwardly answered.
“You got food?”
“Um… bird food?” I inquired.
“Yes of course,” It sarcastically answered, “No… I prefer fresh fruits.”
“I’ve got an apple.”
“Works for me,” I walked towards the fruit basket, almost empty. Dad forgot to buy groceries… again.
I took our last apple, hopefully dad doesn’t mind. Cut it into bite sized pieces, throwing them in Nemo; my cats bowl.
It chirped, pecking on the bits.
I sat down on the sofa next to the bird, watching it with enthusiasm. Never did I think birds were so fascinating… and could talk… or I could comprehend them.
“So… what are we doing?” It asked, following my eyes with a curious glance.
“We are not doing anything… I’m going to read a book,” I left the annoying chatterbox, walking up the stairs, dragging my hand across the ivory railings. Sneaking looks back, seeing what the bird was up to in my absense.
“Wait up,” It hollered, darting up to perch on my shoulder again. I shook it off. But the bird didn’t leave my side, following me to my room.
“Can’t you leave me alone?”
It remained silent, in awe with my room. Cranking its small head in every direction.
“What’s this?” The bird pointed a wing towards a picture tucked inside my closet, a picture I didn’t want to look at.
“Nothing,” I kept my voice low, it broke… I bit on my lower lip in frustration.
“Doesn’t seem like nothing…. hey, this looks like you,” It added, staring into the women in the picture.
Such a stubborn bird, I sat on my bed, holding the pillow close to my chest.
“Thats my mom,” I finally spoke.
“Ohhh, can I meet her?”
I looked away, flushing.
The bird perched on my shoulder, rubbing its warm body against my face.
I smiled, wrapping my arms around my legs, rocking back and forth. Hot tears spilled from my eyes, I briefly looked back at the photo, it was taken the year mom… died.
Her brown eyes were stunning, I had the same replica of them. People would think we were twins instead of mother and daughter. Mom’s hazel hair covered parts of her face, her twinkling smile would melt anyones heart. She held my hand that day, the very last day we had together.
Keeping me close, I could smell her laundry detergent; Hawaiian breeze.
She’d kiss my cheeks, leaving marks of lipstick smudges on my face but I’d smile back anyway.
“She… she’s not with me,” I murmured, trying to keep my cool.
“Oh… I’m so sorry,” She spoke silently, chirping next to the picture. A lullaby, I wiped my tears with the back of my hand, the stains remained intact on my heart no matter how hard I tried to forget.
“What are all these Christmas decorations tucked into the closet, shouldn’t you have decorated?, it’s almost Christmas,” Mazie reminded.
“I… we don’t celebrate… anymore.”
“My mom, she loved the holidays… I did too, but after she died… well I didn’t want to celebrate for a God that wasn’t true… or else he wouldn’t have separated my mom from me.”
“It’s no one’s fault Kate, it’s life.”
“NO,” Mazie flew over to the table in fear, keeping her head tucked in.
“I’m sorry, don’t know what came over me,” I rubbed my head, headache again.
She chirped, singing her lullaby again. Calming me.
“Still… don’t show your anger at the holidays, it’s meant for joy.”
“I know, but… celebrating it reminds me of mom, dad’s never big on celebrating, he’s always about money and work, those two words… never cared for either of us,” I explained, trying not to break down again, in front of a bird.
“Hmm, you’ll understand soon enough.”
I lowered my head to meet the brown eyes of the bird, my eyebrows crooked in confusion.
I heard shuffle downstairs, dad must be home. I didn’t realize time passed so quickly. Setting up my bed again; dad likes ‘discipline,’ and walking quietly to the door, indicating Mazie to close her beak shut for awhile as I closed the bedroom door, it slammed shut with a thump.
“Kate, is that you?”
“Hmm, did you make supper?” I rolled my eyes, dad was so old-century. He preferred the word ‘supper’ instead of dinner.
“Oh shoot, I’ll boil some potatoes right away,” Of course dad didn’t bother to help me, instead he went straight to his room. I heard the TV go on, soccer match cheers spilled the silent house.
“Mazie! don’t let my dad see you.”
“Let’s say… he’s not a bird person.”
Mazie’s eyes went wide.
“Don’t fret, I won’t let him see you,” I assured.
“I’ll be in your room… come ASAP,” She said, dodging my dad on the way. I shook my head; sneaky little bird.
I quickly wrapped up dinner, dad didn’t seem to have a clue about our new guest so I didn’t show any excitement.
He washed his plates, silently walked away to catch up on more soccer plays.
I sighed. I was used to eating alone.
I loaded the dishwasher, wiping the counters spotlessly and tiredly dragged my feet to my room.
“Night,” I called out on my way.
“Oh… good night Kate.”
I saw dad was engrossed with the TV again. Typical.
“Kate… finally you showed up.”
“Sleep,” She ordered.
“No… I’m not tired… yet,” Which was a lie, my eyelids felt heavy and droopy as I sat on the bed.
“Please,” She batted her eyelids at me.
“Oh fine, but tell me why?”
I pulled my weary body, tucking under the sheets and turning off the lights. Darkness surrounded me.
I opened my eyes again. The scenery was beautiful. Piles of snow fell from the sky, I opened my tongue, letting the small snowflakes melt in the warmth of my tongue.
The sky was cloudy, I smelled the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg waver in the breeze. Sucking me in deeper into this unknown world.
“Ahh,” I jumped back. My reflexes kicked up a notch.
“Calm down Kate, it’s me,” I started at the nearest branch, Mazie grinned, fluttering her wings to keep warm.
“What… how… where am I?”
“Your future specifically.”
“Kate… trust me… follow my lead,” She flew off, I struggled to follow with the ground covering my legs with snow. It slowed me down.
I glanced at where the bird pointed. A window. Mazie gestured for me to move forward, hesitant I did. The window was covered in thin ice. I wiped a circle with my shirt, wish I’d thought of wearing a jacket. My lips were blue from the cold.
I breathed warm air, the thin ice melted leaving the inside exposed.
A mid-aged women sat near the fireplace. She huddled closer as the cold picked up. Her face was gulm, she held a cup that seemed to comfort her. I looked deeper into the home, noticing that there seemed to be no Christmas decorations or anything related to the holidays.
The women turned, facing me. I quickly ducked down.
“She can’t see us,” Mazie whispered as I looked back up. Her face… it seemed so… familiar. Her eyes… the same chocolate brown eyes I’d grown accustomed to… her face resembled someone I knew. Was I in the past?
“Who… is she?” I weakly murmured. My hands were frozen in the cold.
“You… well older you.”
“W… what?” My teeth chattered with unison of the wind blowing against my face.
“Yes… this is what will happen if you stay isolated, never to be invited to special occasions, leaving your family because of your inner pain.”
“I… what have I done?” I wined.
“Take my wing.”
I nodded, gripping her feathers. It warmed me up instantly. I closed my eyes again.
“Kate… sweetie,” I opened my eyes to see mom. Her eyes shore no more than affection for everyone.
“Mom,” I whispered, trying to reach out for her figure only to see that my hands came empty, mom was translucent.
“Like I mentioned… they can’t see or hear us.”
“Oh,” I focused on mom again. My memories triggered my heart to beat faster.
“Kate, come and hang the Angel.”
I saw a younger me run to mom. They touched noses, something we did when I was little. Dad wasn’t in view, working perhaps.
Mom picked me; little me up and helping me place the Angel on top.
Little me laughed. I couldn’t help but smile at how happy I’d been years ago.
“That was fun mommy.”
“Of course, the holidays are meant to come together and celebrate, no matter what.”
“Yup, I’ll never miss a holiday.”
Mom laughed, kissing my forehead. “That’s a good girl.”
The image began to fade. I held my hand out again, “Mom… don’t leave me,” But she were gone… forever.
I jerked up awake… Mazie stood where we had first met.
“Mazie… I’ll… I’ll do it.”
“Yes, can’t let these things get in the way.”
Mazie’s face was overjoyed as we went back to my room.
“But… tomorrow’s Christmas, I haven’t even done anything,” I complained, wishing I’d realized earlier.
“Oh… we’ll see.”
“My pleasure,” I didn’t know if I imagined but I almost saw a tear drop from Mazie.
I shut my eyes, this time I fell asleep. I saw mom smiling face, her warm hugs. How happy we’d been.
“Bye Kate… I love you,” I heard the feeble voice from the background but I didn’t stir up.
The sun reflected off the windows towards my face. I yawned, rubbing my eyes. My room seemed normal… I was back at the present.
“Mazie?” I was worried, why didn’t I hear her chatter, driving me crazy already.
“Kate, come here for a sec.”
I got off the bed, slipping into my shoes.
“Ya dad…?” My eyes were in for a treat, my mouth wide open. Our house… it was… indescribable.
Bows and ribbons all over the place, reefs decorated the front door. Our very own Christmas tree! My Angel on top! The same one that I’d placed every year.
“How did you…?” My dad started, his expressions bewildered.
“It wasn’t me.”
“Um… no one.”
“Oh fine,” I recalled everything, the letter, my expression towards a speaking bird, our adventures.
“Mazie... huh,” Dad seemed thoughtful, “That’s your mom’s nickname.”
My eyes went wide, my heart seemed to have stopped.
“Mackenzie… Mazie… mom?”
Dad left to explore our home while I remained baffled.
“Oh mom… it was you, wasn’t it.” Tears of joy spilled from my eyes.
“Hey Kate, take a look at this.”
I ran over to dad, he held out another letter.
Dear Chris and my Kate
You will probably figure out my identity soon enough
Chris remember that I love you always, please take care of our daughter, I’ve left her in your custody
As for my pumpkin,
Please don’t feel upset anymore, cheer up… I want you to know that I’ll always be in your heart
I looked up to see dad tear up, I was shocked; dad wasn’t much of a emotional person.
“Kate… I’ve been a terrible dad… will you forgive me?”
“Aww dad, of course,” We hugged, tears rolling down my cheeks.
“Come on kiddo… let’s celebrate.”
I placed the letter with the photo of mom and me, now the center piece of my room.
“I love you mom,” I could almost hear her voice in my head.
“I love you with all my heart Kate…” Mom’ll always be here… in my heart.
Thanks for reading everyone! This story is dedicated to Kate Reynolds for being such an amazing friend! Do check her out:)
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
Varsha, I'm being completly honest, I can see your story being published into a real book. I can imagine, flipping the pages of the book "True meaning of Christmas" by Varsha Vimal. That's how awesome this story is! I mean, your title is really true! The way you portrayed Christmas in your story is really surprising and just...amazing! Please do keep continuing to write more awe-striking stories! :)
Aww thank you sooo much Haripriya! Gives me so much joy that you think that way! Your stories are amazing as well:)
You are so welcome!!! :D
:)Thanks for being such an amazing friend!
Aww, no problem!!!! Also, you're an amazing person too!
Aww, thanks so much!!! Your one of my besties:)
wow! i love this story! your a very talentied author! also part 3 to my story is up!
Aww, thank youuu! Yay, I'll read it soon!
Hi Varsha. I was asked to read and comment on your story as part of the weekly Critique Circle and it was a pleasure to encounter your writing for the first time. This was a sweet story, responding to the prompt to 'Write about someone who is given a bird for the holidays but doesn't know how to take care of it' in an interesting and unusual way. you took the idea of the unexpected gift of a bird but then used the bird to show us some of your protagonist's backstory, weaving in the theme of 'The true meaning of Christmas' which was your ...
Thank you so much Jane! Wow, can't believe I never noticed those things. I love to get constructive criticism so thank you for pointing those out! I can't edit anymore though because it was already accepted. But thanks for correcting. Would you mind checking out my other stories? Have a wonderful day:)
Hi Varsha. I'll have a look at some of your others - do you want to check out some of mine too? I haven't been on Reedsy for months until about a week ago, but I think you'd like an earlier one I wrote called 'Grandma's Secret'. Always happy to proofread for spelling and grammar as well as offering constructive feedback on the story as a whole. Jane PS I think you are supposed to read my story 'An Eventful Evening' as part of the 'Critique Circle' and leave feedback on it as I was given your name and one other person's. I really enjoy doin...
I'll love to check them out Jane! Thanks again:)
Amazing story, Varsha! I loved the dialogue and portrayal of thoughts. Kate relationship with her dad was showed well. Nice job!
Thank you Maya!!!
Of course! :)
Wow!! I loved this story!! The idea, the plot and the creativity were simply amazing! Waiting to read more of your works, Varsha! :) I just noticed a few spelling errors, though..."That… thats impossible"; here Thats" should be replaced with "That's". Similarly, for what's and cat's.
Thank you for the correction! I'll try to fix it!
Hello again Varsha! I actually read this one, forgot to comment, and then liked, so sorry if your notifs say I didn't like, I actually did a couple days ago! As for this story, it has a nice emotional ending which tied it all together quite well, but I do think that it has some issues. I'm just nitpicking, of course - please don't take this a criticism, just constructive criticism. I think the descriptions could be amped up a bit, and the main character could be a little more developed, but my main problem with this story is that the bird ta...
Thank you Maya for your advice. I didn't think of that... I totally agree about the bird not speaking. And thats fine if you don't celebrate Christmas, I don't either but I think its a wonderful way for people to come together:) Thx for reading!
Of course! I hope I wasn't too rude, haha.
No no, I love to hear everyones thoughts... good or bad. We all have flaws, we just need to embrace it:) Thx once again!
Wow Varsha! It was such a touching story, and I loved the uniqueness of your storyline! :) It was very creative and sweet that you dedicated it to a friend! You conveyed the holiday spirit and the true meaning of holidays (Christmas, in this case) so nicely! Great job! Keep writing!
Aww, thank you Akshaya!
Nice story and the meaning was so good. The message was well written in the story. Your story line was on point. Keep writing. I would love your feedbacks on my story too.
Thank you!!! And I'll def check it out soon:)
Omg! This was such a beautiful story Varsha!! I just started reading it and couldn't stop till I got to the end! It was really heartwarming and beautiful! Everything fell into place! I don't really have much to say about it cause the story speaks for itself. But this was truly amazing!! ~Lots of Snow, Ugochi!
Aww, thank you Ugochi!!! I'm so happy that you enjoyed this:)
I'll def check out ur stories:)
You. Are. AMAZING! This perfectly captures all the emotions of love and looks and Christmastime. I need a purple box to be sent to me.
Aww, thank you Emmie:)
TYTYTYTYTYTYTYTYTYTYTYTYTYTYTY FOR DEDICATING IT TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHH THIS WAS SOOOO GOODDD!!!!!!!!!!!! IT WAS SO EMOTIONAL!!!!!!!!! I loved the holiday sprit!!!!!!!!!!!
Aww, of course Kate! Your so sweet that I had to include you! And same:)
:D I would totally dedicate my next story to you but the main character is a little... well you'll see lol But I def will dedicate something to you!!!!!!!
Aww, your so sweet Kate:) Thx!