Ghosts of Christmas Yet to Come*

Holidailies 2006

They say that if you want something to happen, even if it’s the merest wisp of a dream, you have to own the idea. They say that you should begin each day with affirmations of your best qualities, and declarations of what you will achieve.

I write. I write. I write.
I will publish.
I will publish a successful novel.

I’ve been working on a series of short stories. I put them aside for NaNoWriMo, but they were what was speaking to me. I do that a lot. Make bad choices. Shoot myself in the proverbial foot.
But the stories are still whispering. I wanted them finished for Christmas. There’s still time.

I want a child.
Just one.
A girl.

This is a newer dream. For years I swore I would never get married, swore I’d never have a child. I like my life, I’d tell people. I’m too selfish to share that way.

Except I’m not, really. Selfish, I mean. And I enjoy our nieces so much, and even our nephews, even if we never get to see them for very long, and even if they terrify me a little. It tool me a long time to admit it, but I do, now. I do. I want a child.

Here’s the dream. It’s 2013. Fuzzy and I are in San Francisco, at one of our favorite bookstores, and our five-year-old daughter is wearing a red shirt and a plaid skirt, tights, mary janes and a hat. Fuzzy’s got a suede jacket. Chocolate brown. A red shirt beneath it. Me? I’m in green, rich stonewashed silk in forest green, black slacks, heels with subtle silver trim, a green fedora. We’re not shopping, I’m there to read.

Everyone I love is there with me. Friends include the ethereal counselor who designed my perfume –all natural and brewed to enhance my best qualities, the successful writer/actor/powerhouse who is currently running an avant-garde sketch show broadcast from San Francisco, the other friends who run a home-based arts and crafts business in the Midwest, and led the movement that knit together gay rights once and for all, the friends who live in Colorado with their dogs – their children are bilingual, of course, my parents, though my stepfather is nearing 80 at that point.

We toast the night with coffee served in red ceramic mugs, laced lightly with amoretto or kahlua. There is hugging and the sparkle of digital camera flashes. The local NPR station has sent a representative – the next morning, I will operate the digital optical aquaphone as author-in-residence on the 2013 edition of West Coast Weekend (other guests include Jason Robert Brown, Kathleen Norris, and a former improv troupemate who is one of the country’s hottest comedians).

But that’s tomorrow, tonight, I’m sitting in a red leather wingback chair, brought from my house as a tribute to my grandfather, who held me in his lap and read me stories. I’m not reading from the new book just yet, I tell the crowd. First I want to share a piece from my first collection…it’s about a woman who buys a café, and ends up fostering a group of street gypsies in their various personal and artistic endeavors.

I want a child.
Just one.
A girl.

I will publish a successful novel.
I write. I write.

*This entry inspired by Sky, who lets me babble, and proofreads some of my worst drafts.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Ghosts of Christmas Yet to Come* by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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