Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: DAYDREAM (12/08/16)
- TITLE: Christmas Eve
By Dennis Gallemore
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Family and friends had begged him to spend Christmas with them and, at first, he had decided to do so. At the last moment, the siren call of past Christmas Eves spent with his beloved wife proved too strong. Early one cold December morning, he found himself loading the pickup with supplies for a short stay in the cabin. He was half way on the three hour drive to the cabin when he realized that he had left his heart medications behind. Glancing in the mirror, he slowed down, preparing to turn around. Slowly shaking his head, he had continued on toward the cabin.
Glancing out the living room’s solitary window, he noticed that night had descended on the valley the cabin was nestled in, reminding him of the holiday tradition that he and Jillian had secretly shared. Every Christmas Eve, when the sun had set, they would sit by the fire and imagine what a Christmas Eve celebration would be like in Heaven.
For twenty years, their vision of a Heavenly Christmas Eve, their shared Christmas daydream, grew until it took on a life of its own. Closing his eyes, he slowly slipped into the daydream's beginning. He stood in a gigantic hall, the ornate golden ceiling towering over impossibly high. The walls, sheathed in rich dark wood, glowed from the light of a thousand lamps. Tapestries depicting stories from the Bible hung majestically from silver and gold rods. Covering the floor of the hall, banquet tables, each a hundred feet long and covered with royal red table cloths, stretched as far as the eye could see. People of every description sat at the tables eating a thousand different foods and drinking from golden chalices. Others stood in groups to the side, laughing at friends’ never ending repertoire of anecdotes from their lives on Earth. Still others, playing musical instruments the likes of which he had never seen, sang while their audiences merrily danced.
Turning, he saw the gigantic Christmas tree that their combined imaginations had created. Towering fifty feet over the hall’s floor, it was covered with ornaments of every description, illuminated by flickering candles.
Walking closer to the tables, he recognized dozens of family members and friends, long gone, but never forgotten. Strolling over to the Christmas tree, he stood gazing up in wonder. The daydream was almost, but not quite, perfect. Jillian, normally standing beside him in their shared vision, was nowhere to be seen. Sighing heavily, he willed himself to end the daydream.
“Merry Christmas, Jason!”
Spinning around, he came face to face with his wife. “Jillian!” She was radiant and, strangely, looked many years younger. He pulled her close. “I’ve missed you so much, honey, so very, very much.” Tears rolled down his face as he smelled the floral scent of her favorite perfume. He marveled at the richness and depth of the daydream. Mesmerized, as always, by the intensity of her amber eyes, he, ever so slowly, tilted her chin up and kissed her, the moment stretching into eternity.
Pulling back, he managed a slight smile. “As much as I would like to, I can’t stay in this daydream forever Jillian. I have to wake up and get on with my life.”
Her replying smile was radiant. “This is not our daydream, my love, this is Heaven. You didn’t slip into the daydream in your recliner; you passed to here. This is your, and my, reality now. Welcome to Heaven, my love.”
Speechless, he stared at her. Remembering the forgotten medications, he slowly nodded. “I died, didn’t I?”
Her smile growing wider, she nodded. “You did. Oh, there's someone standing behind you; someone you have wanted to meet all of your life.”
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