Abigail's Christmas, a short story
Excerpt from Abigail's Christmas:
The following takes place on Christmas Eve. Abigail has just met Scott who helped her find a Christmas tree for her new apartment.
“This is it,” she said when they finally reached the big old house.
“You live here?” he asked, incredulously.
“Only in a small corner of here. My flat is upstairs. Up many stairs.”
Hoisting the tree further up on his shoulder, he said, “Lead on.”
As they entered the house, Mrs. Flannigan opened her door. “I wondered what all the commotion was. I see you’ve found a tree. Be sure you get the needles off the carpet after you drag that thing upstairs. It’s never going to fit you know.”
“Good evening Mrs. Flannigan. Merry Christmas.”
“Humpf.” The door closed. Scott and Abigail looked at each other and burst out laughing.
Inside the flat Abigail said, “I’ll make us some mulled cider while you try to get the tree into its stand.”
Scott examined the small room. “Just where did you think this would fit?”
“If we move the table and chairs it can go there, against the wall.”
“It’s a least a foot too tall, and the branches will take up half the room.”
Abigail looked at the tree, at the ceiling, and at the man who stood there trying to prop it up in a space for which it was clearly too tall. “Oh, dear. I did so want a big, full tree. We can move the table and chairs over, but I don’t know what we can do about the ceiling.”
Scott smiled and shook his head. “I’m afraid we can’t do anything about the ceiling, but maybe we can take a foot or two off the bottom of the tree. I don’t suppose you have a saw?”
“Do I look like the kind of girl who’d have a saw?”
“No. I didn’t think so. I’ll go downstairs and ask Mrs. Flannigan. Is there a Mr. Flannigan?”
“I think so but I’ve never seen him.”
A few minutes later Scott was back with a small hacksaw, and soon after that the tree was standing securely if slightly tilted to the left in its holder. Abigail handed Scott a mug of hot cider and the two stood admiring the results of his labor.
Abigail studied the tree. “Is it a little off center?”
“Not if you lean a little this way when you look at it.”
Abigail laughed. “I haven’t had so much fun in years.”
He stopped what he was doing and looked at her, suddenly quiet and serious. “Neither have I.”
For a long moment they stood simply gazing at each other. It was Abigail who, embarrassed, turned away to start unpacking the lights. She handed them a string at a time to Scott and he began stringing them around and through the branches.