Welcome to Flash Fest December!
I have a few author friends who have joined me in this challenge and are contributing to the prize baskets!
Congratulations Alina K. Field!
This week’s prize basket:
- $5 Amazon gift card
- ebook for Red Wine & Roses
- ebook of Protected By His Grace by Grace Augustine
This is how the prize giveaway will work:
Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post. The winner can contact me on Facebook or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I apologize for not getting it posted on Monday, it’s been a rough couple of days.
The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me, my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!
Merry Christmas, Darling!
Merry Christmas, Darling!
by Grace Augustine
Leftover put away…check. Dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher…check. Cup of hot herbal tea…check. Pen in hand with Christmas cards and address book on lap…check. Cheesy Hallmark movies on television…check.
The four of us walked to the church in the gently falling snow. It was only a couple blocks away and, of course, the boys ran ahead of John and me, but waited at the Narthex doors so we could enter as a family.
The Christ candle of the Advent wreath was lit, the ageless message was spoken, and the candles were lit as we sang Silent Night. That song always stabs my heart, this year more so than others.
Things with John haven’t been good for a very long time. The kids have picked up on the tension between us, so they’ve been a handful both at home and at school. It’s difficult pretending nothing’s wrong.
With a smile plastered on my face, I hugged several on the way out of the church. I greeted Pastor Iverson and his wife and nodded when they suggested we all get together after the holidays. The boys, one on either side of me, grabbed my hands and pulled me toward the door.
John never likes to hang around to visit. He impatiently waited outside. The cold hit me as I opened the door and we walked out to meet him. The short walk to our house was in silence. It was still snowing, and the silence was deafening.
I’d made a crockpot of hot chocolate, so it would be ready when we returned. It was tradition in our home to open presents after church. They boys hurried upstairs and put on their pajamas and giggled their way back to the living room, sitting as close as they could to the tree and the brightly wrapped boxes.
We didn’t have much money. Even though John and I both worked a forty-hour work week, there never seemed to be any extra. I hated that I couldn’t get more things for the boys for Christmas, but two presents each would have to do.
Thankfully, they were happy with the toy selections. John was happy, too, when he opened his new electronic gadgets…and me—well, I got a new pair of socks and a flannel nightgown.
I picked up the wrapping paper and took it to the trash in the kitchen before filling my mug with more hot chocolate. I secretly wished I had something strong to put with it! I walked back into the living room and sat down. The boys were tired. They were whiney and biting at each other. It was close to eleven o’clock… time for bed.
John continued messing with the stereo speaker enhancer. As usual, I was on my own getting the kids calmed down and ready to sleep. I chased them up the stairs to their respective rooms, but they wanted to sleep together tonight, so I figured there was no harm in that.
They both climbed into the double bed and I grabbed ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas from the bookshelf. The longer I read, the sleepier they were…three-fourths the way through, both were fast asleep. I kissed each forehead and counted my blessings as I turned on the night light and closed the door.
My mug was lukewarm, but I wasn’t going downstairs to heat it. The last person I wanted to spend Christmas Eve with was John. I grabbed the cordless phone and went into the bedroom. I’m not proud of what happened after that.
You see, with the problems between John and me, and being overwhelmed with work and the kids, I’d reached out to anyone who showed me the least little bit of attention. I was in a chat room online and met several wonderful people. Some of us remain friends today. One person struck my fancy…and I did his. Doug.
Doug was a real estate mogul from Denver, Colorado. He’d been my saving grace more times than I care to count. He listened. He didn’t judge me on my feelings, or lack of, where John was concerned. He seemed to truly understand. He was divorced, and we’d developed quite a thing for one another. We’d talk to each other by phone a couple times a week and send countless email messages. We even met during a lay-over at Denver International Airport.
All I knew was that I needed to be anywhere but where I was tonight. That meant a phone call to Doug. I put my Carpenters Christmas CD in the player and punched his number into the phone. He thanked me for the peanut clusters I’d sent him for Christmas and we talked about church, dinner, his kids, my kids, how we wished we were together walking in the snow, sharing the quiet, magical night.
“Someday. I believe it will happen, someday,” he’d always say.
Tonight. I wanted it to happen tonight. How could it, though, when we were hundreds of miles apart?
“Merry Christmas, Darling. We’re apart, that’s true…but I can dream and in my dreams, I’m Christmasing with you…” The familiar words rang through my heart as I listened to Doug’s voice mixed with the words of the song. In that moment, it became our song. I began singing them as the music played. To my surprise, Doug joined in. There was a long pause in our conversation when the song ended. I didn’t want this moment to end. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened to his rich voice.
“Merry Christmas, Darling. Someday. Someday.”
About the author: Grace Augustine
Editor and award winning novelist, Grace Augustine, grew up in Montana. Her work career has taken her from title and abstracting to administrative assistant church work to co-owning a small town weekly newspaper to her current profession as a floral designer/jewelry designer/writer, and most recently, painter.
Grace thinks of herself as a “Jill” of most trades and is not afraid to learn new things. “If you can’t learn something new each day, there’s something wrong,” she says.
The ideas for her Acorn Hills series stem from her growing up years as well as the issues she has had to overcome along the way. “I’ve developed a new romance category…for the over 50 crowd…I’m calling it the salt and pepper genre. My books deal with real life issues, overcoming adversity, maintaining a positive outlook, and so much more. Just because we are 50 yrs old or older doesn’t mean that life stops. We all still want attention and affection and adventure! We want to experience all life has to offer. We use our age as wisdom to share with those around us. We are sexual, sensual, and sensible,” Grace explains.
Augustine was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July of 2003. Her thoughts on that “It may slow me down, but if I can at all do it, I will. Sitting and feeling sorry for yourself isn’t the answer…living your life with an open, joy-filled heart is.”
Romance with a Touch of Grace
OTHER BOOKS BY Grace Augustine can be found on her Amazon author page:
Write on my friends, write on! Don’t forget to leave a comment!