Excerpt of Marie Visone Roy's
"Are we getting a Christmas tree this year?" Zachary squinted up at her, his three foot five inch frame fidgeting beneath her struggling fingers. His large brown eyes remained fixed on her face as he waited for her answer.
When she realized he actually expected a response from her, she stopped pulling at the stuck zipper. “Zach, where’s your mind at? Have you forgotten we’re only into July?" She resumed the yanking trying not to let his words distract her from the task at hand, which was to free the damn zipper, and promised herself that his next raincoat would contain only snaps and no zipper.
"I know that!” He rolled his eyes. “But last night I dreamt that you and dad were fighting over which tree to cut down. At least I think it was Dad. Maybe it was an angel. I saw a movie the other night at Tommy’s house. They had a bunch of angels playing baseball. Do you think Dad will come down here and play baseball with me? I bet if we get a tree, he’ll even help us decorate it. I want to have Christmas here this year, instead of going to Gram's house. Dad said we should stay here for Christmas."
“He did, did he? And when did he tell you this?”
“Last night. In my dream. Aren’t you listening? We have to stay here for Christmas. Dad wants us to stay here,” he emphasized. “He said you can make those gingerbread cookies you always used to make for us.” His eyes took on a look that could make her feel sad along with some guilt.
“Look, Zach, Gram will be disappointed if we don't go visit her at Christmas. She looks forward to us coming down. Besides, we don’t have to do what our dreams tell us. They’re only dreams, they’re not real.” Their life had become more surreal than not with the passing of her husband five years before. Since then, each day had become a reminder of that void. Zach was determined to keep his dad alive through these dreams he kept having every night.
"Why can't Gram fly up here instead? At least we get snow up here. It’s never going to snow in
. It never feels like Christmas down there. It’s not the same." Florida
"I thought you enjoy helping Gram put up her tree," Lacy reminded him, hoping he would agree and they could end the discussion. At the same time it made her wonder why they were even having this conversation what with summer having just begun.
Zachary glanced toward the end of the driveway. "Yeah, well…” He turned back to her. “Why does it always have to be at her house? It's just not the same having it there!" He glanced down at his toe and dug the tip of his sneaker into the soft rain soaked earth until the top turned a muddy brown. He stared at it. Then he looked back at her. "Besides, Christmas trees aren't supposed to be all white. And Gram puts on those dumb pink bulbs. I never get to throw the silver stuff Dad used to like."
Lacey sighed brushing a stray lock of hair from her forehead. Five years should have helped ease the pain so that there wouldn’t be any more of these arguments. The distance between her and Zach widened when they found themselves at odds with each other and returned to where emotions refused to become buried in the past along with Charlie.