"It is on the light side, soft to the touch, I would suppose, the best things always come in wee packages," said Maebh thoughtfully. "You could even say it’s fluffy! Could it be a scarf?”
Wearing a beige sweater and some cozy snow pants of the same color, the box she tore apart revealed a matching scarf of a more faded red. After a pause, she stretched it out gently before her and wrapped it about her neck. “What a gem of a gift. That’s proper mint, that is! I’ve been wanting a little something extra to warm myself with all day! I do believe he and the little people granted my wish just right. Oh, I can’t thank you enough, Santy. I’ll love it forever.” Maebh, not wanting to ruin it for the kids that believed in the jolly man in red, thought it wise to address the giver by another name, a more magical name so as to keep the Christmas spirit alive.
The wind brought in some snow from the skies, and the nippy cold bit her nose, what with the door wide open for her to see, inspired her to move away from the fireplace for some fun elsewhere like that one tree-decorating contest.
Speaking of, a few trees started to glow up thanks to the string of lights and elaborate Christmas ornaments, and like an aimless wanderer she almost floated past them with silent admiration. She felt as if he could hear the bells clinking from the branches, the voices of the choir folk filling her heart with song and wondered if she was just being corny.
She could not help herself to touching the prickly ends, the scent of pine overwhelmingly glorious to her nose. Maebh knew she couldn’t linger too long, not wanting to distract the hardworking artists from their very important tasks, so she decided it was best to make like a hummingbird and find the next flower to interest her.
She flitted over to the carolers and just watched them, purely awed by the sight. They looked rather stunning with their puffy earmuffs and fuzzy apparel, that she wished she could have had the time to be part of something so wonderful. Then again, she hardly knew if she could sing or not. She never really tried it out for herself, to be honest.
"I’ll be home for Christmas," sounded the angelic crooners; "you can count on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents by the tree.”
She silenced her thoughts, and becoming quieter, fiddled with the tail of the scarf that settled between her thick mittens and smiled with tears in her eyes. She most definitely wore her heart on her sleeve and didn’t bother to stop the embarrassing redness that consumed her face like a wildfire, not daring to move or speak until she could at least swallow the terrible knot forming in her throat. "I am quite proud of my pa’ and my brothers," she said to no one, gazing intently at their heart-felt performance, a tune both sad and true, "and no Christmas ditty can make me bawl quite so much like this one.”
“Christmas Eve will find me; where the love light gleams. I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams!” Sang the choir, sounding less and less human by the minute and seeming almost spiritual and too perfect for words.
“Especially that last part,” she almost wailed, her blubbering caused a person more to cringe or two, and even one moved away to give her some space. “It’s as though there is no guarantee they’ll be comin’ home to the missus! They can only dream about it. Innit just awful?”
The small few that heard her ramble on about it were thankful to find a change of tune. The musical folk had decided to move onto something a little less dreary, which was the pick-me-up she was hoping for. But she wouldn’t stick around to hear the rest of the ever popular ‘White Christmas’, for she really wanted to take part in the ugly Christmas sweater contest.
Speaking of ugly sweaters, she overheard the competitors tell their rivals that they wanted to give their creations away to a loved one and then surprise them with the fact it was homemade. It seemed to her that the idea was truly brilliant as she found herself wanting to make two for the twins to wear as well.
She smiled at the mental image of the boys. She imagined they would wear it to appease her and then frown with noticeable discomfort whenever she turned away to do something other than dote on their brand new style. She used pure imagination to assume their reaction, so it might have not been the most accurate. She stopped mulling over it for a second, and was suddenly aware of one small troubling factor. They would only allow a sweater per person, not two. But now she also wanted to make three because of Ma’ too. What a pickle of a situation!
As she left the warm haven, where the event took place, Maebh weaved through the snow and looked round the night and the blankets of white. Her eye fell on a pair in the distance, two fairly tall men heavily bordering somewhere on familiar, a reason to cease all activity. Yes, that would be enough to do away with her on-the-move attitude. Their figures had perhaps served as a fair resemblance to something or someone pleasant from her past. Now it was too hard to tell what it was that triggered that stillness for her, made worse by the distance itself—something told her to come closer and yet she feared being disappointed.
What the fire was to the moth, she walked in their same direction. Her eyes would adjust to their forms and the clearer they were to her; the faster and longer her strides became. The duo would find a ball of warmth hurtling towards them with no signs of stopping. And yet her faint cries would still get louder and louder. It was like witnessing the calm before the storm, only under these circumstances it might have been more welcomed.
Once she was within close proximity of a hug she jumped, and for a moment lost most of her sanity as she sprinted away from them at full speed screaming her head off, the true vision of shock and surprise all over her face. Accidentally running into a snowman was all it took to get her to see, to really understand that what she was envisioning was very real. They weren’t phantoms, they were the genuine article. She didn’t know whether to apologize to the fine family that built it, or indulge in the source of all her happiness tonight.
“Pa’! Mr. Aries! I hadn’t the foggiest idea I’d be running into you like this, or the poor snowman for that matter.” After a bit of flailing she was rushing back to them with eyes of glass. She bit down on her bottom lip to repress all the ugly-sounding sobs that threatened to pour from her lips, not unlike projectile vomit. She tackled her father like a football player on steroids, the strength of her hug quite gruesome. “I’m so very happy; I could cry you and Mr. Aries a grand ocean to swim in.”
As for the other treasure of her heart, the respectable Sir Aries, she wasn’t forgetful of his presence as she was sorely convinced she could hug them both at the same time. And so she tried, stretching out her one pitiful arm to try to reel him into her rather full embrace.
She just had to release her father first. But what if she wanted to hug them both at the same time?