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Nisaa Byrd

Walking With Christmas

It was snowing outside. As the cab drove past all the lit up stores getting readying the Christmas spirit. There was snow on the ground – still fresh and crunchy; as people walked over it that’s all you heard; the crunch under their feet. She sat in the cab and watched the stores put up their light’s with their tensile. Christmas tunes coming through the small crack in the window. The slowness of the cab allowed her to remember the past memories of her childhood during Christmas when it was still something of magic and when jolly ole’ saint nick was still able to sneak in undetected to deliver presents. This was before she had to learn the harsh reality… Christmas wasn’t magic … Santa wasn’t real & that crunchy snow on the ground was just that… Snow.

Ending her trip down memory lane – her cab came to a halt. Steadying her boots into the ground she climbed out of the cab and looked at her apartment building. Some windows flashing Christmas lights and over sized stickers and decorations. Other windows plain with nothing inside but the shadow of the person that lived inside. Not too long ago she used to be one of the people that had the best Christmas parties and had the most presents with the biggest tree and the brightest lights. But now it’s the other side of the coin where now she only has Christmas movies on her TV because that’s all they really seem to play now a days at least until the day strikes and there is no more of a reason to play them again for another 365.

  As she knocks off her boots to get the snow unbounded from between the creases, she walked up to the front security desk. “Hey Sam, any Christmas miracles appear while I was gone?” Sam smirks, moving his pen from his newspaper and points towards some boxes left at the end of his desk. “Yea actually, cause those 4 boxes are for you. Maybe the Christmas spirits got to lazy coming to people’s houses at 12:00 in the morning and started sending out packages instead.” She chuckled and walked over to the boxes; taking two of the lightest ones into her hands while pushing the button to the elevator. She kicked the other two boxes to the front-left side of the elevator. Far enough so that it doesn’t block anyones way getting off but close enough so that she can push them onto the the long annoying ride up to the 17th floor. Sam looked over to see if she would need any assistance but she didn’t. She managed in her own way – like always “hey, do you need any help? I can always help you carry them up. I don’t mind leaving my station for a moment.” She turned around and shook her head, smiling at sam very innocently “No, it’s only 4 boxes maybe if it was 5. But I can manage this way, I’ll see you later.”

 

*Ding*

 

The elevator has arrived. Slowly pushing the boxes onto the elevator floor.

It’s been some years since she smiled whole heartedly. On the way up to her apartment she just watched the numbers light up and fade away one by one. Thinking to herself … “It felt nice smiling like that, I fake smile all day at work but it’s become such an autopilot kind of thing that I haven’t even noticed it” … * DING*  The elevator has come to a jumping motion, slowly kicking the boxes off the elevator to her front door. Placing the two boxes into one arm, she punches in the code to her door. To greet her is a hyper little chihuahua running in-between her feet as she tries to dance around him & push the boxes into her home. Meanwhile on the couch is a cat sitting on the arm of a recliner watching and waiting for her head scratches. She closes the door and greets her two loving housemates. Placing the boxes into the corner of the apt she walks away not paying them anymore attention than what she already had. She walks to her room beginning to undress thus beginning to get her shower ready. Her shower last 1 hour, washing away all the grim and sweat that was created from the day. Drying her hair and putting on her house clothes. She makes an order for some Chinese, since cooking seems to be too much of a hassle for her to deal with. Finally resting on the couch, she turns on the tv with her two housemates resting besides her. Flipping through the channels looking for a movie to watch; channel 341 IFC seems to have never failed, Die Hard was on. One of the best Christmas action movies Bruce Willis had ever starred in. She could never go a Christmas without watching it. Glancing at the clock it read 11:05 Pm December 24th, only a couple of minutes till Christmas. Now glancing over to the 4 boxes that sat by the front door. Thinking back to what Sam said downstairs “Maybe he was right about the Christmas spirits being lazy” she chuckled to thought of ghostly figures mailing off presents to prove a point, maybe they have fallen to the evil of technology or maybe even worse everyones losing their faith the same way she has. Even so Christmas was coming and another year has been proven that Christmas no longer had the same feeling that it used to some years ago.

It’s been 4 years since her Christmas was a magical one.  Totaling in the amount of years that she’s had a spectacular Christmas; 4 years shouldn’t be that bad. She was 24 with her dream job, dream apartment with her dream dog. And yet, the thought that Christmas wasn’t a place in her heart anymore was a depressing one but around this time it always brought back one specific flashback like clock work. It’s the reason why there’s no Dream person she hopes for anymore.

 

 

 

                                             11:15Pm

 

On December 20th at 7:00 Pm, she lived in New York City, Chinatown. She lived in a small overpriced studio apt with her girlfriend, her girlfriend of officially 2 Years & 4 Months. Her girlfriend the fighting kind of person; someone who was an upcoming UFC fighter, and her who was an upcoming writer. On this night of December 20th. She walked up those stairs as she had done for 4 months now like clockwork, but something was different there was a smell traveling around her stairs that wasn’t her’s or her girlfriends. Fruity, sweet …. Different. Slowly trailing up the stairs the door was open but only slightly, as if someone had forgot to close it all the way. She opened the door there was rose petals following into the bedroom. She had slowly walked to the bedroom door and opened it. On the bed was her girlfriend but she wasn’t alone. She wasn’t waiting for her ready to tell her some great news about her career , she wasn’t inside the room ready to do something OVERLY romantic. Just cause. But instead trailing to the bed was two sets of clothes scattered across the floor … the sounds crying out of the girl who had been gripping at the new sheet’s she had just put down before she left for work… the same place she had laid her head to sleep next to the person she loved… the girl who had been making love with the woman she had grown to truly love.  She stood there eyes wide – scattered thoughts, the girl who had been gripping onto the new clean sheets opened her eyes and in shock started to scramble away from what was now another unknown person inside of her home. Laughing the new stranger looked up at her new found pleasure and saw the distress on her face she was pointing at the slow moving person walking towards the closet who began packing her clothes. The new stranger looked at her and spoke her name with shakes in her voice. “ Sakura” and that’s all she heard was her name as she packed her clothes into duffle bags and suitcases. The stranger began scrambling to get out of bed and grab onto her to make her understand. She picked up her bags and started for the door. She heard sounds but no words, she saw shapes but no figures, she felt alive but she knew she was dead. A stranger had grabbed her hand causing her to drop her purse onto the ground, she looked and didn’t know exactly who was touching her, she no longer knew who this person was. She picked up her purse; turning around eyes dry, smile wide and words just like sharp blades “ It’s okay, everyone gets tired of their relationship sooner or later. Thank you for the years you’ve spent with me & I hope you guys make it farther then we did. Oh I’ll send someone for the rest of my things and they will return the key to you so dont worry about seeing me. You can keep the apartment & furniture I just want the rest of my clothes. Bye.”

She walked down the stairs & felt the eyes on her back, she didn’t turn around. She walked out the last door & placed her things on the frosted sidewalk. But the moment she pulled out her phone to call someone on this wintery night tears that felt like Ice cubes rolled down her cheek, breathing became harder with each gasp but between each of these fatal attempts to gasp for air she was able to send out a text to her friend. And this is where the flash back ends.

But each time she remembers that feeling she has to grab her chest to remember that it was just a bad memory from her past. But now no one is allowed to use her name, not her parents ,not her friends… at this point she’s forgotten her own name. She lives nameless. Hearing her name brings out her PTSD. Her subconscious has locked away its self to protect her ego & will not allow it to escape because of that one moment in her life. It’s taken over a part of her but she was still able to refocus her self and fit back into the “normal” world.

 

The only thing is … You can never say her name till this day.

 

 

 

                                             11:20Pm

 

A knock at the door pulled her out of thought, her dog barked alerting her that someone was at the door. Assuming it was the Chinese she takes her wallet off the counter and runs to the door, without looking through the peephole she opens the door quickly. Instead of the Chinese food it was a random stranger. Tilting her head to the side she opens her mouth but before she could say anything the stranger begins to speak “ Sorry to bother you but I’m your new neighbor and I wanted to introduce myself to you. I’m sorry I decided to do it so late but I dont really see you around much. I saw you downstairs getting on the elevator so I thought why not.” She looked at the new neighbor and said nothing. To the left walking down the hallway was the delivery guy, looking at the receipt to find the apt number. She begins to gesture towards the guy to show him who he was looking for; “Apt 318?” She nodded and handed him the money “Keep the change.” He smiled as he walked away, swinging the food in her hand – she looks up at the new neighbor that was still standing in front of her “Do you want some” as she points to the food swinging on her first two fingers. She turns around and begins to walk inside leaving the option for her to either leave or come in for a free meal. The new stranger takes the opportunity and walks into her apartment. Placing the food on the table she glances at her new neighbor. It’s a woman around 5’5 or 5’6 , nice length hair, pretty with a cute smile; she caught herself on that last thought she hadn’t had a thought like that in a very long time. She goes back to putting food onto the plates. “Hey, any food restrictions. Didn’t know I was having company.” She asks. She looks up at her pretty new neighbor. Her neighbor looks over and shakes her head at her, while she walks over to the kitchen table “ My name is Erica, by the way. Whats your’s ?” She looks up and hands her a plate while she turns around for a fork she just simply says “Don’t got one” she turns hands her a fork and just shrugs.

Erica looks at her in confusion “I’m pretty sure your parents gave you a name.” She looks at her with her fork in her mouth “nope”. She looks back down and sighs “I had a name a long time ago but due to certain circumstances I was a left without one. I’m really just called she, her or by my apt number. To be honest it’s just a long story that I dont feel like going through .” She again looks up at Erica who’s expression was a bit confused but she understood. They ate for a moment in silence.

 

                                               11:35Pm

 

As time ticks & food’s been finished. They broke through the awkward silence and have landed on the fact that she watches actions movies for Christmas, but no longer celebrates Christmas. She looked at Erica “So where’s your partner?” with a small bit of anticipation in her eye’s, there was a something about talking to Erica that made her just the tiny bit hopeful again. Something about Erica made her want to try to find a person, it lit a flame that was put out a long time ago. Erica simply answered “Don’t got one.” She chuckled.

 

                                           11:49pm

 

They sat and talked about everything and anything that seemed the most and least bit important. Within the short time there has been laughs, some tears even some rage. But looking at Erica always brought her back to calmness. She was different, the air around her was so sweet & when she smiles it was so bright like the sun when it hits fresh snow. When she touched her hand she didn’t feel butterflies because she didn’t feel nervous, what she felt was at peace and comfort. What she felt was that she belonged right there on the couch with her. Sitting and talking , happy and understood. But mostly she felt … Safe… she hadn’t felt that from someone in a very long time. Safety & Peace decided to stand in the same room that night and it felt right. Time needed to stand still so they could stay like that. She didn’t want it to go anywhere.

 

                                            12:00Am

                                         Christmas Day

 

Around this time most people would feel like they over stayed their welcome and would tip their hats and be on their way. But instead on the couch was her and Erica asleep. It’s been awhile since she had slept next to someone.

                                             2:50Am

 

The night was still laying around outside, snow still falling, presents in the corner still unopened. She looks up and saw that she fell asleep on Erica’s lap who had been sound asleep as well.. Instead of waking her up she gets up and walks to the 4 boxes on the floor. Quietly she slowly sits on the floor and stares at the boxes. Picking up one she opened it and read the card “ From your parents, we love you. Please remember that.” Inside was a box of jewelry custom made by her parents. She smirked and put it to the side. Next was a box from her best friend on tour around the country with her comedy. The card read “Saw this and couldn’t stop thinking about you, hope you love it… Cause there’s no returns. Lol love you.” Inside of this box was a tribal Dream Catcher. The two bigger boxes were next, she was a little cautious – suddenly there was a hand on her back. Turning around it was Erica rubbing her eyes, “i’m sorry I didn’t know I fell asleep, I’ll be going. But before I go are you okay?” She looked up and grabbed her hand “dont leave , please. I’m … I dont know, these last two boxes kind of make me feel uneasy. So can you stay at least until the sun comes up.  Please.” She looked up at her and saw Erica smiling “I’d be glad too.” Erica sat on the floor behind her and pulled her into her lap. It was undeniable the energy they shared between each other was strong enough that sitting on her lap was as safe as she had felt in a long time. 

She begins to open the biggest box it was from an old friend who wanted to rekindle the old friendship, the card read “I miss you” inside of the box was some of her clothes and a book they had loved from when they were kids. And the last box was the one that worried her the most only because the scent that seeped through the box was an old one but it was still something recognizable, memorable and terrifying. She looked up at the clock is read 3:30AM, time was flying by. She looked at it and began to open it. The card said,

 

“It’s been awhile and I wanted to apologize for everything that happened & for having you find out the way you did. I just wanted to let you know the love I had for you was real but there was things in the relationship that I didn’t appreciate or like. Even though I went about it the wrong way, I do hope you forgive me one day and allow people into your heart again. Because knowing you this destroyed you and it wasn’t what I wanted to do to someone I love. I hope you can find happiness the same way I did.”

 

Tears began to roll, the fire in her began to burn and the feeling of nothing but disgust began to bloom. Inside of the box was her sweater that she had brought her ex. It was the sweater that she gave her as a gift so they could be cliche and match sometimes  & in the pocket of that sweater was the bracelet she had took from her, another bracelet she had brought called a Distance Bracelet. She stared at everything seconds after realizing what was sent she placed everything in the box and crushed it ,picked it up walked to the kitchen and threw it into the garbage.

 

                                          4:00 Am

                                      Christmas Day

 

She stood in front of the garbage and said nothing. Erica had read the card that she left on the floor; after reading it got up and threw it in the garbage with everything else. Moving her aside Erica pulled her garbage out she walked out the front door with garbage bag in hand and put it in the garbage chute. Erica walked back in taking her in hand and  leads her back to the couch – she stayed so still and quiet. Erica walked back to the kitchen then begins to wash the left over dishes from last nights dinner, replaces her trash bag, cleans up the boxes and puts the presents to the side. She walks over to her and squats in front of her , takes her hands in hers “if you want to be alone I understand. I’ll be back later to check on you.” She stands back up and begins to walk away slowly as her hand is released from her’s she feels a small squeeze “Please dont leave…” Tears slowly began to roll down her cheeks again. Erica sit’s down and pulls her into her lap and holds her, “i’m right here for you.” It’s now 5 in the morning on Christmas Day. She laid there in Erica’s arms, slowly she asks “Can we walk outside, I cant be in here right now.” Erica looks at her and shakes her head. They get ready and hand in hand walk out the front door together into the dark morning sky, the snow was falling lightly but it stuck together. They said nothing but their hands never let go of each other.

As the snow fell they stopped on a bridge, Erica opened her mouth as air came out in small clouds “ it’s been less than a day but I know for a fact that I wanna be with you. I want to stand by you and hold you even in the darkest times. I like you… Alot” she laughed “I know it sounds childish but I do, you already feel special to me. It’s weird.” She looked up at her, Erica took her hands and placed them on her red cheeks – her hands were cold and yet still so warm at the same time. Erica kissed her and it sent a roaring fire through her body. Everything about her was perfect & at that moment all she wanted was Erica. Erica pulled away and smiled at her, she tilted her head while laughing saying “you know technically we cant be together because I refuse to call you Her or She and i’m surely not calling you by an apt number. How about I call you ..” She moved in closely so it was only a whisper and the only feeling she could feel was her cold breath past her cheek and feel her cold words walk into her ear“how about I call you Christmas.”  Erica pulled back and smiled, “even though you cant stand Christmas you bring me joy and it kind of works for you.” She smiled and shook her head ,They laughed. Instead of leaving her when her past came back to haunt her, she re-named her and it was one of the most beautifulest names that she could come up with. All because it was a new start.

 

As they walked back to the apartment building, Erica looked at her and said “hey look, I’m walking with the spirit of Christmas Future. Get it cause you’re in my future.” Christmas  looked at Erica and started laughing.

 

“This is the best Christmas ever. Thank you.” 

 

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