Based off this week’s prompt
I used to think that the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” was a happy go lucky kind of song. Once I listened to the lyrics. “I’ll be home for Christmas… If only in my dreams.” The speaker knew he wasn’t going to be home in time, but he had to reconcile with that. He made himself content with living his dream in his head.
Well, that is much like me this year. I’m a budding journalist for the New York Times. I enjoy covering everything all over the world, but my dream job has its downfalls. This year, two weeks after Thanksgiving and two weeks before Christmas, a violent gang war broke out in Brazil. Guess who was assigned to travel to Brazil and cover the story indefinitely?
Any other time of the year, my co-workers would have jumped at the opportunity. But this was Christmas. My fellow journalists had Christmas balls to host, benefits to attend, children to look after, and extended family flying hundreds of miles to be with them. I, on the other hand, had no children, no siblings, and my parents had died years ago. I spent Christmas with my husband, and spending time away from Aaron was my one regret of this assignment. This story appeared out of nowhere, and I, the one with the least family ties, was chosen to go spend Christmas thousands of miles away.
And that is why I’m here on Christmas Eve, sitting alone on my tiny Brazilian bed in my tiny Brazilian hotel room. I’d already spent all day writing updates on the gang and drug war, and it was time to sleep. The sun set hours ago, but the people in the streets are far from quiet. It’s almost midnight, almost Christmas morning really, but I can’t sleep.
I stare out the window. There is no snow, and no Christmas trees to be seen. I float down memory lane to when my parents were alive and when we’d set up a Christmas tree together. It was always a real one that we’d chop ourselves – none of that plastic tree nonsense. We made homemade ornaments and hung strings of colored lights around the branches. But that part of my past is over now. Now my family is Aaron. Aaron. A twinge of homesickness pinched my heart.
I would get no sleep thinking like that. I finally fish my Ipod out of my travel bag and set it to play “I’ll be Home for Christmas” on repeat. Bing Crosby sang the song dozens of times before I finally drifted off.
Christmas morning I awake to a strange sensation of light upon my face. I understand what sunlight feels like on my face, and even before I open my eyes, I know this light is different. It appears to be a dappled kind of colored light..
“Good morning, sleepy head.”
I shot up right in bed at the familiar voice. “Aaron?”
He was sitting on the chair at the end of my bed, and beside him sat a real and decorated tree. He smiled so big his whole face seemed to glow. Before anything could be said, he attacked me with a hug. I grinned into his shoulder.
“How on earth…? I thought we said we couldn’t afford this,” I questioned, still not letting go.
He shrugged. “It was a Christmas miracle of sorts. I got desperate and found a friend who had frequent flyer miles he wanted to give away.” He paused and pulled away. “You like the tree?” He asked. “You have no idea how difficult it was to find an evergreen here.”
I chuckled. “What about the lights?”
“Those are our lights from home. Airport security thought I was crazy.”
I thought I’d never make it home for Christmas, but I simply had to think about it differently. Home had come to me.