The One Who Got Away: A Christmas Flash Fiction

Hello, hello!  It’s almost Christmas, so I thought I would give you a little flash fiction that I’ve been noodling around with.  Feedback is always welcome.  This is just something I threw together real quick, so don’t expect perfection.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

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The One Who Got Away

By: Shawna Borman

Her voice had the sweet ring of silver bells and wrapped itself around the mind like garland around the tree. It drew people to her. Hanging thick in the chilled December air, her presence lingered long after she disappeared into the night with her prize. It kept the others warm and coming back for another chance. They never noticed that the ones who went with her never came back. At least, that was how the rumors went.

On Christmas Eve, I made the mistake of cutting through the park on my way home from my parents’ party. It was late and I was drunk. Alcohol was the only way I could stand the façade my parents required. I wasn’t who they wanted me to be, so I hid behind suits and ties when I was with them.

According to the legend, she should’ve been gone hours earlier. But there she was, singing to the crowd of men stupid enough to wander into her path. Singing to me. My eggnog-soaked brain vaguely registered the song, I’ll be Home for Christmas. It was a lie. The man she chose wouldn’t go home ever again. My steps faltered, steering me away from my path and right to the front of the group.

Men fell to their knees at her feet, tears streaming down their cheeks as they pled for her to choose them. Her pull was strong. I felt it somewhere deep in my soul, like a star being dragged into orbit. It was something I had never felt for a woman. Disconcerted, I took a step back. The star dimmed and her voice gained a jagged edge, like a broken ornament. I wanted to run, to break away from the group, but my feet remained frozen in place.

She turned her attention to me, causing the star to flare bright once more. I swayed, refusing the urge to sink down in front of her. Her fingers, icy cold, brushed my cheek and trailed down my arm into my palm. Green eyes, like holly, stared up at me. A mischievous smile crossed her poinsettia red lips.

“Let’s go home,” she whispered.

I followed her deeper into the park, down paths I never knew existed, until we came to a house made of snow. A door of bleached white bones stood ajar, exposing the inky blackness inside.

“You must come in and warm me up.” Her skin glittered blue in the silver moonlight. “We can be together forever. What more could a man ask for?”

The word hit me like a thousand reindeer. I was a man to her, to everyone. The suit suddenly felt like wrapping paper, hiding the gift inside me. It was a gift I believed no one would actually want. The tie tightened around my throat, choking me. I tore my hand out of her grasp and clawed the tie away from my neck.

“What’s wrong, my love?” she asked, her voice nothing but shards of broken glass. “Let’s go inside and talk about it.”

Her beauty melted away like snow revealing a muddied mess underneath. The vibrant hue of her eyes drained until all that was left was the same creamy shade of that evening’s nog. I wanted to scream, but only a whimper escaped.

“Get in the house, before you ruin everything, you bastard.”

She grabbed my wrist, pulling me toward the open door. Part of me wanted to let her take me, to let her extinguish the life of the man I was supposed to be. That was when I understood what needed to be done, what I needed to do in order to be happy.

I yanked away once more, shoving her across the threshold. She teetered, as if on the edge of a precipice.

“I’m a woman,” I said out loud for the first time in my life.

With that, she fell and the house collapsed into a pile of snow and human bones.

I left my small town that summer to transition fully into my new life as a woman, but I never heard rumors of the singing woman again.

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

Hello, hello!  Thanksgiving is over (though leftovers still remain), so it’s officially time to get into the holiday spirit.  In fact, just this past Monday, my minion (he knows who he is) posted on Facebook that people were talking to him and smiling at his job (apparently this is unusual behavior).  Our exchange went something like this:

Me: “It’s called the holiday spirit. You’re in for about a month of it.
Him: “Ack! Does it wash off???
Me: “No. And it’s highly contagious.

Later that evening, he and his family were supposed to join Dad and I for SMU’s Celebration of Lights.  The minion ended up having to work, so we kidnapped his kids and girlfriend and took them anyway.  ^__^

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Forgot the camera, so all of these pictures are stolen from the link above.

The Celebration of Lights was one of very few events I actually enjoyed attending as a student (and still enjoy as an alumna).  It takes place on the front steps of Dallas Hall.  People gather in the quad and sing along to Christmas carols.  President Turner reads the Christmas story (which I still think Linus does better).  And they light up the tree for the first time.  It’s just a really nice way to start off the season.  The free cocoa and cookies are a bonus.

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The performances all change a little each year.  Students and student groups volunteer to sing different carols, so things rotate as people graduate and new people enroll.  Some are better than others, but SMU has a decent music program, so everyone is (usually) pretty good.

However, I suppose my favorite part of the celebration is the fact that something always goes wrong.  Little things.  One year, the microphones kept cutting off.  This year, they were supposed to the flip the lights on after the first verse of Silent Night (like usual), but apparently the switch flipper wasn’t paying attention or they had technical difficulties, because the lights didn’t come on until the song was almost over.  Not to mention the fact that they always run just a couple of minutes late (it wouldn’t be SMU if things started on time).

Don’t get me wrong, all of that was entirely serious.  I go to this thing knowing that there will be something worth laughing about each year.  That’s why I enjoy it.  That sounds kind of mean now that I think about it, but it’s true.  The hiccups make it exciting, even though I’m sure all of the people who are “back stage,” so to speak, are freaking out about this stuff.

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All in all, it’s a nice way to open the holiday season.  Plus, the kids seem to have a good time.  It’s open to the community, so if you’re in the Dallas area next year, consider checking it out (or drive by some time between now and January 3rd while you’re out oohing and ahhing at all the lights to get a look).

I hope the holiday cheer finds you soon, if it hasn’t already!  See you next week.