Today’s Tis the Season post is a short story by Corina Carrasco from at Wasted Days And Wasted Nights.
She was working late on Christmas Eve and again all day on Christmas Day. It was the third year that she had no family to keep her away from work and so she had volunteered to take the shifts that no one wanted so that others could be with their families. She considered it a gift to both her co-workers and herself. Her co-workers could stay home and celebrate their traditions with their families. She could spend the time at work and be distracted from the fact that she had nowhere else to be.
In previous years, she would not have missed family Christmas. She would not have given up the spirit of family being together, laughing and loving, even teasing and rolling their eyes at the words coming from the black sheep. She loved being with everyone else, in a house too full for stretching out one’s elbows but full enough to lock the warmth, both outer and inner, inside each person.
Christmas Eve wasn’t bad. A lot of people came into the coffee shop to relax after getting the last of their errands finished. Feeling accomplished, they would sit and enjoy that venti hot drink before moving on. There were smiles and holiday wishes. Other people would pop in to get that last minute Christmas gift that they had forgotten, or the one they would have on hand in case they needed one more gift. She sold a lot of gift cards that night and by closing time, she had all but forgotten that she was closing up alone and that she’d go back to her empty house to put on Christmas carols and have a cup of hot chocolate so she could sleep well and pop back into work at seven o’clock the next morning. It would be busy even though it was a holiday. She wouldn’t let her mind wander to the past. That was all over.
The next morning, she grabbed her locket and put it in her pocket before heading out the door. She was going to bring her family to work with her. They would be with her on this Christmas day. She headed out the door and before she knew it, she was at work, opening up the coffee shop. This day would, most likely, be filled with people going to or coming from their family Christmas celebrations. Most people would just use the drive-thru window and stay inside their warm cars. She put on her best “Merry Christmas smile” and started the day. It would be a long one because she had said she would be there all day, to cover for those that couldn’t come in.
As the day progressed, it was filled with happy customers wishing her a good holiday and handing her more than generous tips. It was a nice way to spend the holiday which would otherwise have found her alone and miserable. This was better.
Just after six o’clock, she heard the bell on the front door jingle. Customers were coming in. She had only had two or three venture inside all day. She finished the drive-thru transaction, smiled at the customer, then closed the window so the frigid air wouldn’t enter. As she turned to walk to the counter to take the order, she saw not one of her co-workers but FIVE! They each had a wrapped gift and a foil covered plate of food!
“Merry Christmas!” They shouted in unison. She was floored. Never would she have expected this. Her co-workers hugged her and presented their gifts and took turns covering the drive thru window so she could enjoy a mini Christmas celebration. There were warm gloves, slippers, a cute necklace, gift cards, and a book! They had brought her turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, biscuits, and other goodies from their own family dinners. There was laughter and hugs and the kind of family warmth she didn’t think she would ever have again.
Corina Carrasco blogs at Wasted Days And Wasted Nights. She is a former school teacher who has loved writing stories since before she could spell. A native California Girl, she currently lives near Portland, Oregon. She is the Nana to three beautiful boys and is awaiting the arrival of her first grand daughter later this winter. Corina is also home schooling her first grade grandson. She has always loved all things Christmas. She was born on Christmas day and it makes the whole season special; magical. Corina wishes all the readers out there a very warm and Merry Christmas!