(It’s better to give than to receive, right? Well, since it’s Christmas and all–have one more re-post on me. My favorite Christmas story I’ve ever written. Originally posted December 10th, 2016.)
It’s getting cold even here in Florida, so I thought I’d write something a little joyful and a little warm.
I call it:
Being Happy In The Morning
Too early to do this, Charles concluded. Too early in the morning. But Charles would not have it any other way.
The wrapping: silver. The shape: a hard rectangle. He felt the spine underneath his fingers. Too easy. Did not matter if he was tired, he could tell this shape in his sleep.
“So, it’s a book, but which one?”
“Just open it,” Carry said, sitting cross-legged. “Then you’ll find out.”
Charles stroked through the wrapping paper, trying to trace the raised edges on the surface of the dust jacket. He’d asked for three new best sellers, and this was clearly a hardcover copy, so those were the most likely. But he’d asked for a lot of books.
“I think it’s probably God Heathen, but it could be Daff on My Skull.”
Carry chuckled. “You’ll never guess.”
“You’re right, but I’m taking the guess anyway and saying God Heathen,” Charles said, and tore the paper along the spine, using only a single finger to make the indent. The wrapping fell away to reveal a golden cover, with an ornate series of symbols, and a raised surface of the author’s name.
Charles stared at it for a moment, and his mouth hung open slightly.
“Merry Christmas,” Carry said, unable to keep the grin from her face when his stare turned to her.
“You…this is…? When?”
“It came in the mail from your agent around a week ago. I emailed him so he didn’t call. We thought it would make for a great surprise.”
Charles took a second to process this and then snapped open the book and read from a random page. His finger tracing the words, the edges, almost like the book was one of brail.
He sniffed, and it smelled like a real book.
“So, do you like it?”
He didn’t answer right away, still gripping the novel. Brushing his fingers against the edge of the paper and flipping to more pages.
“Do you like your present, Charles?”
Carry flinched when his arms encircled her but was already with the program when his lips found hers. The book laid off to the side, carefully, where it would not get hurt.
It was way too early for this. But that was fine. Because they didn’t get to the rest of the presents for a little while after. They were busy with other matters. Busy, and happy, and warm, on Christmas morning.