Angel of Midtown

By: Laura K.

Final approach! I cue up my Discman.  

A cold and wet December day, when we touched the ground at JFK…

Despite the jetlag I bounce to the tambourine. Passport control takes eternity.  

New York, like a Christmas tree

He’s not home yet.  I shower, disappointed. Shaving my legs I hear him singing, sounding bemused, annoyed. I redo my makeup.

Showtime. We pretend we don’t care about each other. I crash on the couch. 

Morning brings Advil, coffee, another flight, my parents, The Holidays.  I know he’s doing the same, but I can’t picture it.

Jesus Christ I miss you. 

Home for the Holidays

By: Laura K.

The sky is marginally lighter than the slush walling the streets. The air stings my nostrils. It’s a relief after yesterday, too many people and stories squeezed into that house; nineties Christmas albums; cookies and champagne at noon, wrapping paper and packaging everywhere. 

He’s divorced, now, no kids.  I made it here okay, not even skidding around Dead Man’s Curve, to his East Side walkup with a young lawyer couple below. 

It’s better than after-Christmas sale shopping would have been. 

Afterwards, we’ll attempt small talk. I’ll blast The Cure on the way home, just like before our lives stopped intersecting.

Not Exactly What I Had in Mind

By: Laura K.

“Here, take these to Nicole?” Mom hands me a dozen cookies, iced gingerbread and pfeffernusse, and a glass of eggnog (the boring kind). Mom is always super-sweet to them, like they’re not being paid thirty-one dollars an hour (Dad mutters) to be here.

Nicole (my favorite) works nights. She’s in the foyer of the townhouse (our third “home” this year) (fucking doxxers), pistol holstered on her hip. There’s a tree, but no ornaments (in storage). 

I am proud of Mom, but courage and feminism and stuff fucking suck, sometimes.

Nicole lifts the glass to me, a toast.  “Merry Christmas, kid.” 

The Jig is Up

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

At five and a half, my son came to me.

“Santa’s not real, right? It’s just you guys leaving gifts while we’re asleep?”
“Did someone tell you that honey?”
“No,” he replied, “I just thought about it.”

I couldn’t keep up the ruse. I sat him down and explained about the magic of Christmas, and how he could help us create that magic for his little brother. He was on board, excited to be a part of the whole thing.

Five minutes later he came to me again.

“Mommy, does that mean there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy either?”

The 3 Magi

By: Megan Cramer

Three wise people had swiftly followed the lights down the road for almost a mile. It was worth the shortness of breath and sore legs. They arrived at the park, awed with the twinkling and glowing orbs surrounding them and the wisest amongst them led the trio to the grand finale, where they traipsed the suspension bridge into the trees. Thousands of lights hung from the sky, and colors and spots popped and dropped and surrounded and spun and moved all around them while Flight of the Bumblebee and John Williams classics blared in their ears. O Holy Night, indeed. 

They Stood

By: Ed Dzitko

They stood, the three of them, staring at the stump.

“It’s a shame we’re going to have such a lovely tree, and we’re leaving this where it used to be alive,” one of them said.

“A moment of silence,” said another. And they stood, longer and quiet, the sun casting a long shadow amid their legs.

I saw one brush a tear from her cheek. I watched longer, as they stood longer.

“Time to go girls,” their Dad yelled. I could hear the collective sigh.

“OK,” said the one who hadn’t spoken yet. And off they went, home to decorate.

The Stand-Off

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

We had been dating just a month. It was getting serious, and important elements of life kept creeping into our conversations.

At lunch, he joked that maybe I could convert to Judaism. I laughed. He wasn’t joking.

He said he would never, ever want a Christmas tree in his house. He didn’t understand why anyone would want such a huge piece of the outside to be inside their home.

I probably looked horrified at the suggestion that I never have a tree again.

We married about a year later. And he carried the huge tree four blocks to our apartment.

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