Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Man In Red

The Christmas after my father died, Mom, No, and I went east for the holidays to spend them with Mom's side of the family. We stayed at the home of my mom's younger sister, our uncle, and our cousins. Red and I are almost the same age and Yellow's a year or so younger than No (their older brothers are two and three years older than I am. The four of us were "the little kids").The night before Christmas, No and I and our cousins Red and Yellow were set up to sleep in Yellow's room.

I was in a sleeping bag on the floor, wedged next to a chest of drawers near the door, and Yellow, Red, and No were asleep. There was a storm that night so it was very dark in the room except for the shaft of light from the hallway. I was listening to the murmur of my aunt, uncle, and mom downstairs in the dining room. I couldn't hear what they were saying, just their voices. Suddenly the sound of their voices stopped. The next thing I heard was the rustle and crinkle of paper: The sound of wrapping paper rubbing against boxes and hands.

In the morning it was Christmas, and overnight it had snowed. We built a snowman, had a snowball fight, and the older cousins tugged us around on a toboggan in the backyard.

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