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The Other Christmas Tree

The Other Christmas Tree

By David Sloma

 

 

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Copyright ©2015 by David Sloma. All rights reserved.   This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.  No portion of this work may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder. Short excerpts for reviews are acceptable.  Author contact: [+http://www.davidsloma.com+]  Published by Web of Life Solutions: [+http://www.weboflifesolutions.com+]
pre

 

***

 

 

“Why are you buying more decorations? You
already have enough for your tree!” Emily said to her new friend
Sue.

 

They were in the mall and it was really busy,
it being just 4 weeks until Christmas. They had just met in a yoga
class a short time before and had become friends.

 

But Sue still had some secrets of her
own.

 

“I might have some decorations, but I
need more,” Sue said. And I can’t tell you why, yet, Sue thought,
much as I’d like to.

 

“Really?” Emily blinked and watched the shoppers rush
past her. “Your tree looked just fine to me.” They had been at
Sue’s place the night before, admiring the job Sue had done with
her new, artificial tree that was set up in the living room of her
condo, sipping a lot of spiked eggnog. Emily still had a bit of a
headache from that.

 

“That tree is fine, yes, but I still have
another tree to decorate.”

 

“What? What do you mean? You’ve got two
trees? Sue, I knew you were a little loony, that’s why I like you,
but more than one tree is going a bit far.” Emily crossed her arms,
bunching up her knitted sweater and looked at Sue.

 

Sue searched the shelves of decorations. “I’m
almost done.”

 

“I want to get out of here, I’ve had enough
of this mall for one day!” Emily’s sweater was getting much too hot
for being indoors. She pulled it over her head revealing a
t-shit.

 

“You’re gonna freeze in that when we go
outside!”

 

“Naw, I’ll be fine.”

 

“We’ll see,” Sue smiled. She stacked the
Christmas tree decorations in her arms and headed to the
cashier.

 

Julie shook her head and followed.

“Whatever!”

 

Outside of the store, they stopped at a booth
in the food court. Julie stared at her friend with incredulity.
“You’re hungry now?” Julie asked.

 

“Not really. But let’s get some hot chocolate
to go. It’ll keep us warm and it might help you get in a better
mood,” Sue winked.

 

“My mood’s fine! I just want to know what
you’re up to.”

 

“You’ll see. It’s just…hard for me to talk
about is all.” Sue looked down, not making eye contract.

 

Julie could see that her friend was upset,
“Hey, it’s OK. I didn’t mean anything. I’m sure you have good
reasons for being mysterious like you are.”

 

Sue nodded and sipped at her hot chocolate
that arrived on the counter in front of them.

 

In Sue’s car, the two barely spoke at all. It
was a bright wintery day, with a little bit of snow on the ground
and a very blue sky. Julie drank her hot chocolate, wondering where
her friend was taking her.

 

“Look,” Julie said, “I know this time of the
year is stressful for a lot of people, what with all running
around, planning, and shopping—not to mention how much money people
spend! If you’re having a hard time with it all, it’s OK to slow
down and relax. And, I’m happy to do it with you,” she smiled.

 

Sue glanced at her, then back at the road.

“No, I’m fine, really. I do find this time of the year a little
tough, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. It’s got nothing to do with
all the crowds, and shopping, and expenses—though sometimes I’d
just like to get away from it all at some all-inclusive, ski resort
spa! No, you’ll understand, soon. I know we’ve become fast friends,
but there’s still some things you don’t know about me.”

 

“Now you’re starting to really worry me.”

 

“Relax. It’s nothing bad.”

 

Sue turned down a small street and stopped
near a park.

 

“This is it?” Julie peered out the
window.

 

“Yep,” Sue exhaled. She shut off the car and
they got out.

 

“If you wanted to go for a walk, all you had
to do was…” Julie saw the bag of Christmas decorations in Sue’s
hand. “Why are you bringing that? Are you feeling alright?”

 

“I’m fine. I told you, it’s for the other
Christmas tree.”

 

“In a park?”

 

“Yes. Where else would it be?” Sue marched
ahead, walking into the deeper snow of the park, her breath rising
in puffs in the cold air.

 

Julie zipped up her jacket tight and kept
after Sue, thinking her friend really needed some mental help. At
least I’ll be there to call the ambulance so she won’t freeze to
death, Julie thought.

 

There were many old trees in the park, very
tall and weathered, their strong branches bare of leaves but with a
dusting of snow. There were also young trees scattered around, some
with mounds around them, only having been planted a few months
ago.

 

Sue finished her hot chocolate and tossed the
empty cup in a nearby trashcan. Julie finished hers too, as it was
getting cold, then tossed it into the same can. The cups banging in
the bottom of the can, and their boots crunching on the snow were
the only sounds.

 

Sue walked into the area with the new trees,
looking at them closely. Julie noticed that some of the trees had
metal plaques at their bases, dedicated to different people.

 

Sue stopped at a particular tree and bent
down to wipe the snow off the metal plaque there. It bore the name
of Sue’s father, “In loving memory of…”

 

“You know this one?” Julie asked.

 

“Yes, we planted it for my father. He passed
away last year.” Sue looked down at the plaque and tried to smile,
but a small tear rolled down her cheek. “I like to think of it as
his tree.”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry!” Julie got down and hugged
her through their big, puffy winter coats.

 

“It’s alright. I’m pretty used to it by now.

But I still have trouble talking about it. It’s hard not having him
around at this time of year. Mom doesn’t like to come here, so I
come by myself.”

 

Sue opened up the bag and removed some red
ornamental balls and started to hang them on the branches of her
father’s tree.

 

Julie watched, finding that her own eyes were
starting to tear up. “Can I help?”

 

“Sure,” Sue smiled, handing her the plastic
bag that fluttered in the wind.

 

Julie pulled a silver garland out of the bag
and they both wrapped it around the tree.

 

They kept adding decorations to the tree
until the bag was empty. By the time they were done, it was the
most festive looking tree around!

 

“I like that. It looks nice,” Sue said. “I
think he’d like it, too. It would probably make him laugh, us
decorating a tree out in the middle of the park.”

 

“That’s good. I’m glad,” Julie smiled.

 

They stood looking at the tree for a few
moments, but the wind was picking up and the sun was almost down.
It would get even colder after dark.

 

“Ready to go?” Sue asked.

 

Julie nodded, her teeth chattering.

 

“Alright.” Sue smiled at the tree, then
looked up at the blue sky. “I knows he’s up there someplace,
watching over me. Merry Christmas dad, wherever you are.”

 

They walked back to the car arm in arm, their
friendship strengthened by Sue’s sharing.

 

There was a drive-through open and they got
more hot chocolate. It was going to be a good Christmas after all,
Sue thought.

 

End

 

 

More From David Sloma

 

Brainjob (novel)

Greyland:
D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military Bases) – Book 1

Oceandeep: D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military Bases)
– Book 2

Rescueplan: D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military
Bases) –
Book 3

Moonbase:
D.U.M.B.s (Deep Underground Military Bases) – Book 4

Deathsun 2012 (novella)
David Sloma – Short Stories Volume 1

Chewy, Gooey,
Fruit Things (screenplay)

DEATHSUN 2012
(screenplay)

BOI MEETS GRL – a
vampire screenplay

ONE JOURNEY (short
screenplay)

The Cask Of
Amontillado (a modern screenplay of the Poe classic)

KHAOTICA
(screenplay)

A Conspicuous
Medium (poems)

Nonfic 1
(nonfiction collection)

Robot Town
(novella)

Saving My Rotting
Cactus (a guide)

Cyber – Parts 1 to
4 (short story series)

Taken Away – Parts 1 to 3 (short story
series)

MIB Files: Introduction – Tales of the Men in
Black

MIB Files: Strange Dreams- Tales of the Men
in Black

MIB Files: Movie Time Tales of the Men in
Black

MIB Files: UFO in the City – Tales of the Men
in Black

 

 

Plus, several other short stories.

 

 

[*The author’s email
newsletter*] (subscribe for discounts on new
stories!): http://eepurl.com/PH44z

 

Find out more at:
http://www.davidsloma.com

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Other Christmas Tree

A very short Christmas story to warm the heart, free as my gift to you for the holidays. If you like it, please take a look at my other titles. Merry Christmas!

  • ISBN: 9781311261182
  • Author: Web of Life Solutions
  • Published: 2015-12-04 03:20:07
  • Words: 1493
The Other Christmas Tree The Other Christmas Tree