The remains of the day slip away as she sits alone in the ember lit glow of her childhood home, the end destination on a well trodden festive pilgrimage.
She stayed away for a year. The first full twelve month abandonment in thirty-five years. And how the landscape has changed around her. Old ways would have given her pangs to return too soon, wounds still gaping. Now a stranger amongst old friends, she knows she needed this detachment to move forward. She no longer calls this place home.
After a tragic end to 2014, it felt like none of her hopes and dreams would ever come true again. The snow was deep, drifting. Yet here she finds herself another year older, another child richer. A new house in a new town. For that she is thankful and proud. The world just kept turning and she clung on tight. She survived.
Yet, she’s restless. Thinking a lot about lapsed religion. Perhaps it’s the time of year making her nostalgic about childhood teachings and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. All the classic trappings.
The cross below the spire in her new town has been adorned with coloured lights of late. Her eyes are drawn to it daily. She wonders if she feels a pull to enter. To feel a higher presence. Him. She likes the idea. But she is afraid.
She walked today through the woods of her childhood. A trail tacked daily for seven years. Once a magical place, now skeletal and haunted with memories. No longer a playground, a frayed noose replaces the rope swing where the tree houses were built. There’s rot in the air. The death of innocence.
Thoughts turn to the year ahead. There’s little doubt that she will return to write in this armchair again. But whose reflection will she see staring back through the frosted glass? Loves and hates shall persist with fervour. And some passengers in her life will end their journeys. She’ll wait cautiously to see who, what, when and why.
The muffled bell tolls, bringing her back to the here and now. The baby monitor buzzes briefly. A reminder that it’s a time to rest.
Outside, her world sparkles with crisp promise. Winter’s tale can be both bleak and beautiful. So what became of her playmates, beyond those glossy status update? Do they star gaze too? She wonders without any real desire to find out the truth.
Merry Christmas friends.