She looked once again out of the window, surely it would snow, and it had to snow! It would not be Christmas without snow. Her Mother had told her earlier that day that there was snow clouds over head. But still there was no snow. She turned from the window, and looked at the room. Christmas decorations were in place, but somehow there was no sparkle, no Christmas spirit, it was as if the whole room was sad. As sad as was her Mother she thought.
At that moment her Mother came in the room, she tried to raise a smile to her daughter, but the sadness behind her eyes showed through instead.
"Still no snow Rachel?" she said, trying hard to smile.
Something she had not been able to do since that day 6 months ago, when she had received a letter saying her husband had been lost while exploring some small backwater of the Amazon or some such place. He was always off somewhere or other on his geographical surveys. But that had been the last she had heard, all these months now here was Christmas, and just her and her daughter.
"No Mummy." replied her daughter, wanting to cry out at the sadness, and hurt she sensed in her Mothers voice. Though Rachel was only 7, she had tried so hard to make this Christmas better, but she could never make up for the sadness of being just the two of them.
"Rachel dear" said her Mother "Can you go down to the store, and try and get some holly so we can decorate the front door?"
Rachel gave her Mother a hug and put on her coat and headed for the store. She looked again at the skies, "Please let it snow" she whispered, "Anything to make this Christmas special."
She entered the store, it was like entering another world, a fairy tale world of Christmas. The whole place was full of sparkling lights and glittering tinsel. Happiness filled the air. She sighed, thinking of the sadness in her own home. A smiling face toped by a red Christmas style hat greeted her. It was Mr Reggus, the owner of the store.
Rachel thought he must be related to Santa himself, so much did his smiling red face and bushy white beard, remind her on dear old Santa.
"Well little Lady," he always called her little Lady "What can I do for you?"
She smiled; Mr Reggus always made her smile.
"Mr Reggus, my mother would like some holly to decorate our front door please." She always tried to be polite.
Mr Reggus smiled "Certainly little Lady."
He went out the back of the shop, and soon came back with several sprigs of holly, which he carefully wrapped in paper, so she would not hurt herself. As he went to hand her the parcel, he stopped. "Hmmm you've got the holly, but what about the mistletoe?" Rachel gave Mr Reggus a quizzical look.
"What is mistletoe?" she asked.
Mr. Reggus laughed, and told her all about the special power of Mistletoe and how there was magic in it that opened to anybody who kissed underneath it. He winked and produced a sprig, which he added to the parcel of holly.
She ran back to her waiting mother, she looked up as she went into the home, still no snow.
Her mother took the package of Holly and started to make her decorations for the door. Suddenly she started, coming across the mistletoe. "What is this?" she asked her daughter.
"Mr. Reggus gave it to me." her daughter replied "He said it was Christmas magic."
Her mother turned away not wanting her daughter to see the tears in her eyes, if only she thought and let go a little sob. Her daughter went on, "Please Mummy, Mr. Reggus said we had to hang it above the door."
Her mother tried to smile and wiped away the tears. "Of course dear, we will put it above the door right now". She lifted her daughter and helped her pin the mistletoe above the door, the kissed her daughter under it. "There sweetheart, a magical Christmas to you."
The rest of the day seemed to fly by and soon it was time for her to go to bed.
Christmas morn dawned and she woke to find a Christmas stocking on her bed, full of toys and goodies. She rushed into her mother's room to show her what Santa had left her, but her Mother was not there, the bed was crumpled, but no sight of her Mother could she find.
Rachel went back to her room, got dressed and went downstairs, the lights were on and under the Christmas tree were a whole heap of presents. She wanted to open them, but was too worried about her Mother. It was Christmas, and she should be here to share it with her. She opened the door, and there under the mistletoe was her Mother, but not just her Mother, there was a stranger, a man, and he was kissing her mother. She stopped and her Mother turned, hearing her daughter behind her. A smile lit her face, something Rachel had not seen for a long time.
"Rachel darling," she held out her hand "come here, there is somebody I want you to meet." She took her daughter to a smiling man who only moments before had been kissing her Mother.
"Rachel darling" smiled her Mother "This is your father, he has come home." She sobbed this time in happiness.
Rachel's eyes lit up as she recognised the man, it really was her father, he had come home, gently he picked her up hugging her to him, and as he did so, soft showers of snow fell from his hair onto her face. These melted with the tears of happiness that fell from Rachel's eyes.
And so as in all good stories, it has come to a happy ending, and the magic that was Christmas really did happen.
Barry Eva 1999
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