Running around all alone wasn’t exactly what Julia had in mind for a fun winter’s night. It was Sunday, Christmas Eve, and like so many other holidays, Julia spent her time trying her hardest to keep her family together.
The pinnacle of her motherly sigh came to a head every weekend when, it seemed, plans were broken due to a schedule that always managed to get away from her. It made no difference that it was the weekend before Christmas. Work. Children’s activities. Errands. Chores. Repeat. Her life was a never-ending record of responsibilities, except there was no pause. There were dance lessons, there were meetings. There were piano recitals, there were lectures. But nowhere in her life’s song was her husband.
As she strolled through the town square, the pep in her step was unmistakable. It was subtle. Just as the lights and the sparkling shimmer of the new-fallen snow warmed the brisk evening, Julia faithfully believed that this Christmas she’d get her wish.
The crunch of her boots on the snow drummed a beat to the thoughts that danced around her head as she bounced from one shop to the next. It had been months since she last had an evening with her husband.
She remembered the touch of his fingers on her neck, the way his eyes engulfed her, his firm embrace. One foot in front of the other, thought to thought, shop to shop, she reveled in the passion, and wished more than anything that this Christmas they would get their time together.
A slight breeze blew a wisp of Julia’s hair in front of her face as a smile overcame her. Her cheeks glistened in the blue light of Christmas decorations that lined Main Street, and into her thoughts she fell.
That’s when a car pulled up beside her and slowly crept along at her pace. The man behind the wheel rolled down the window and called to her from across the passenger’s seat.
“Why hello there,” he sang.
The smell of his skin. The wrinkle of his forehead when he was upset. The small freckle on his cheek. The way he always used to dress up as Santa for Christmas.
“You need a lift?” he yelled, determined to get Julia’s attention.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, as the memories in her head stopped and the reality set before her once again reappeared. She glanced to her left and blushed.
“No, no,” she exhaled triumphantly, finally looking into his car. “I make it a point to avoid random men who try to pick me up in their cars on Christmas Eve. Thanks, though.”
“Is that so?” he said, matter-of-factly. “Well, that’s good to know. I’d hate to find out that a beautiful woman like yourself got in the car with a stranger on Christmas Eve.”
“How thoughtful,” she shot. “Handsome and smart. Who knew?”
“Ooh! Snappy. I like it—”
“Don’t like it too much. My car’s right here and I need to get home. My husband’s waiting for me and I’m sure he has something amazing planned for us.” Even as the words came out of her mouth, she wanted more than ever to believe.
“Sounds like you’ve really got yourself a winner,” he beamed at her.
“He’s not half bad on most days.” Julia smiled bashfully before continuing softly. “Do you need to get back to work soon?”
He gleamed at her. Heat warmed the cold that kissed her soft skin, passion welled under the cover of composure. “I had a free minute,” he replied.
The two of them exchanged warmth that could have melted the snow, but how tragic to fan too soon a gently kindled flame.
“See you soon,” she called as she slid into her car and exhaled an arousal so missed from her hectic schedule. And more than anything, she wanted her husband.
Not fifteen minutes later, Julia pulled into her driveway and parked her car in the garage. She sat for a moment, quietly, thinking of him.
She got out of her car and went inside where she was greeted by the smell of pine and a halo of warmth. She loved being home, and she loved the holidays.
The house was calm, with her children upstairs tucked into their beds by her mother hours earlier. Alone, Julia roamed the halls of her huge home, the price for which she and her husband paid far exceeded money. They had come a long way since the days of working two jobs to make ends meet, but success had had a price neither of them had anticipated.
One room after the next, she checked them off on her nightly list. The house was clean, immaculately even, with portraits and decorations of a picture-perfect family reminding her of why they did it all. Yet, she’d give it all up in a heartbeat to be with him again. Career, cleaning, kids, Julia could do it all, but she couldn’t stand not having her husband.
Julia walked into the living room and sat beside the Christmas tree. Though everything else was pristine, her tree was a treasure of homemade ornaments and color, a time capsule of the humble life she’d lived. She sat back in her chair and looked out the front window to watch the snow fall steadily from the sky. And again, she thought of him. Julia was prepared to give it all up to have him back. The dance lessons, the meetings. The piano recitals, the lectures. Nowhere in their life was there time to be together.
The wood floor creaked behind her and a man entered the room. Julia didn’t turn around, but lavished in the warmth that overtook her. Slowly, he crept to her side and she looked up. It was him.
She stood and approached her husband, draping herself over his chest. Into his grasp she fell. The smell of his skin melted her composure and out poured a fountain of desire. The touch of his fingers on her neck. The way his eyes engulfed her. His firm, firm embrace contrasted with the soft velvet of the Santa suit under her fingers.
“You haven’t worn this in forever,” she beamed. “I missed you. You said you had to work!”
Joseph smiled. “Not anymore. There have been too many broken plans lately.”
He reached up and brushed Julia’s messy hair out of her eyes. Julia watched Joseph as he scanned her face and pulled her close, so so close.
Slowly, the lovers began to dance, there by the fire of their living room. They were alone, just the two of them. And just like that, Julia’s wish finally came true.