Editor's Note: We hope you enjoy the series of short stories that the Daily Prism will feature for the next few days. Each story shows the good in us.
Christmas Short Story by RL Williams
“Fa-la-la-la-la … la-la-la-la,” echoes the family of four as they sing to usher in Christmas Eve on their walk home.
“Let’s sing some more,” young Joey beams.
“Ok,” Mom agrees as the four stroll down the city sidewalk.
“Dad, you start,” Joey’s sister Melissa suggests.
After a few more minutes of harmonious fun, the family approaches their small white wood frame house.
“Look,” Mom says as she points toward the house, “the front door is open.”
They cautiously walk up the steps to the partially open front door and notice the broken doorframe and busted door handle.
“Oh, no. Someone has broken into our house,” Dad concludes.
“Stay back,” Dad commands, holding out his arm as a barrier. “Go back out to the sidewalk in case someone is still in there.”
Dad proceeds slowly, pushing the front door to its fully open position.
He enters the small one-story house and quickly determines the burglars are not there.
“Honey,” he yells out, “come on in now. It’s safe.”
As the rest of the family approaches, Dad calls the police.
Mom, Melissa, and Joey walk in the front room and look at their house with dismay. Furniture and other belongings are strewn about and overturned. Drawers have been emptied on the floor.
Looking around the front room, Joey makes another sad discovery. “Our Christmas presents are gone.”
They go outside and sit on the front steps to await the police.
About an hour later, the police arrive and observe the remnants of an all-too-common burglary.
“Ma’am,” the police officer consoles, “sorry this had to happen to you guys, especially on Christmas Eve.”
“That’s OK,” Mom replies, “I guess things sometime happen for a reason. Don’t know what we are going to do to replace the Christmas presents though.”
Arms folded, Mom looks around and notices what looks like some glass on the floor.
“Oh, my goodness,” she laments on closer inspection, “my crystal heart. It’s shattered …”
She pauses as sadness envelops her spirit.
Dad approaches and consoles her. “Honey, I am so sorry.”
Her tears are impossible to keep back as she retreats to the bedroom.
Dad and the police officer look at each other.
“That crystal heart was given to her by her mother. It has been passed down from generation to generation. It was the one thing she really valued and cherished,” Dad explains.
“Sorry,” the officer empathizes, “the burglars probably knocked it over or just threw it to the ground out of meanness.”
The officer stoops down and examines the pieces of the shattered personal treasure.
“Would it be ok if I took the pieces?” he asks.
“Sure,” Dad replies, “it’s not worth anything broken.”
The officer carefully picks up the pieces of the heart and places them in a thick plastic bag.
“Well, my report is complete,” the officer notes. “We will be in touch if we find out anything.”
“Thanks,” Dad replies.
“Try and have a merry Christmas,” the officer says as he disappears into the night. Dad closes the front door and locks it the best he can, considering the damage that has been done to it.
The rest of Christmas Eve was a solemn and long several hours. The distraught foursome sat together in the front room attempting to muster some Christmas spirit but each try fell short.
“I think we should try and get some sleep,” Mom finally suggests as she gets up, kisses Melissa and Joey, and goes into the bedroom.
Soon after, Dad tucks Joey and Melissa in bed and then retreats to the bedroom to see what he can do for Mom.
“I put the kids in bed,” he sighs, acknowledging the sad reality of the evening’s events.
“This is the worst Christmas I can remember,” Mom says.
“Honey, I am so sorry about all this, and your crystal heart …” Dad pauses as he struggles to find the right words.
“And the kids too,” she comments, “what about Melissa and Joey. No presents for them.” Tears fill her eyes once again.
“I know,” Dad sighs, “I know …”
Melissa and Joey knock on the bedroom door a few minutes later.
“I can’t sleep,” Joey complains.
“Me neither,” Melissa adds, “I’m scared.”
All four huddle together. It seems like an eternity before they finally fall asleep.
The early morning hours finally pass.
“Ding-dong,” rings out, startling Mom, Dad, Melissa, and Joey into consciousness.
Dad sits up, glancing at the alarm clock that displays 9:17AM.
“Wow,” he thinks to himself, “we overslept … and on Christmas morning too.”
He jumps out of bed and puts on his robe as the doorbell rings a second time.
“Coming!” he shouts, approaching and unlocking the front door.
Opening the door, he notices a familiar face.
“Good morning and merry Christmas,” a voice proclaims. It is the police officer from the night before with a woman by his side.
“Hello,” Dad responds, “did you find out something about the burglary?”
“No, not yet,” the officer answers. “This is my wife, Veronica.”
“Hello, Veronica,” Dad replies as Mom joins them at the door.
“Won’t you come in?” Mom invites.
“Thank you,” Veronica acknowledges as they enter the front room carrying a large brown grocery bag.
Melissa and Joey have now joined everyone in the front room.
“Let me explain our visit this morning,” the officer starts.
“When I got home last night, I told Veronica about what had happened here, with the burglary, stolen presents, and your shattered crystal heart.”
The mention of the broken heart causes Mom to tear up once again.
“Well, we just couldn’t get to sleep and decided to do what we could to help out,” Veronica adds. “So, we brought some gifts for both of you and your two children.”
The officer reaches into the bag and brings out a new baseball glove that he hands to a smiling Joey.
“Wow,” Joey responds as his smile lights up his boyish face.
Veronica reaches into the bag and pulls out a large stuffed bear for Melissa.
“Thank you,” Melissa says as she hugs the bear.
After a brief pause, the officer reaches into the bag once more and takes out the remaining gifts, four small white boxes.
Veronica hands one of the small boxes to each family member.
Melissa opens her box and finds a crystal ballerina that she holds up to the light.
“Oh,” she says as she smiles, “it’s so pretty.”
Joey opens his box and takes out a small crystal sailboat. “Cool,” Joey approves.
Mom carefully opens her box and removes a beautiful crystal butterfly.
“Oh my,” she gazes in amazement, “it’s so lovely.”
Dad opens his box to reveal a small oval mirror base with four people figures mounted on it made out of crystal.
“That is incredible,” Dad comments, “such detail. A mom, a dad, and a little boy and girl … a family.”
There is a brief silence as everyone enjoys the happiness of the moment.
“It wasn’t necessary for you to go out and buy these expensive crystal gifts for us,” Mom says.
The officer interrupts, “you don’t quite understand. The four crystal gifts were made from the pieces of your broken crystal heart. My wife works with crystal and made them from the pieces.”
Mom, holding her new crystal butterfly, turns to Veronica, “it’s just incredible how you can take something shattered into so many pieces and make something so beautiful.”
Veronica smiles and replies, “within the pieces of something broken there are the seeds for something really wonderful waiting to be created.”
After a few minutes, Veronica notices the time.
“We best be going now,” she announces.
They all get up and head for the front door.
An additional thank you echoes from both Joey and Melissa.
Dad shakes Veronica’s hand, then her husband’s hand, offering yet another thank you.
“After last night, I thought this was going to be my worst Christmas,” Dad confesses. “But it has turned out to be one of the best.”
Veronica and her husband head out into the bright new Christmas day.
“Dad,” Melissa asks, “it was really neat how that lady was able to take all those broken pieces and put them back together to make these pretty gifts, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was,” Dad replies. “Sometimes broken things, like people, can be made better if someone is around to care.”
Melissa smiles, followed by smiles from Joey, Dad, and then Mom.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays