(This is student work submitted as part of the Youth Voices collaborative project.)
by Carly Langan, WUHS 10th Grader
I wander down the streets decorated in tinsel and light, as I search for something that I haven’t felt in a long time. Sadness seems to be the only thing I had been feeling in a long time. Last year, when I was at home for Christmas for the first year since my dad died, I yelled at my mom for walking in on me wrapping her presents. For such a small thing like that, I yelled my heart out saying “What’s the point of Christmas if you know everything you’re getting, where’s the surprise?” She looked sad at the time, but I figured she would get over it. I was mad beyond belief for something so minor, so insignificant. I finally came to my senses, and went into her room to apologize, only to find that she had died in her bed with tears in her eyes. Ever since that day I can’t seem to sense what joy is. I don’t know why I think these small and numerous lights will make me feel any different, but somehow that seems to be the only thing that I can think of. Maybe it’s because my mom used to take me caroling when I was young, and she would always point out how beautiful she thought the lights looked. Every year she would say they looked better than the last, when I thought they looked the same every year. She was the same with the stars in the night sky, always taking awe from the stars that shone brighter than the rest. In her eyes, it was the lights on the trees and the stars in the sky that made Christmas magical. Small, twinkling beams of hope lighting up the darkness with their inner beauty. I don’t know exactly what she saw, but I knew that was something I wanted to feel; hope. Hope that wherever my mother was, that this Christmas she would forgive me for what I said. For until I had her forgiveness, I could not forgive myself. I found nothing in my walk along the streets, so I figured I would go the church this Christmas eve, and see if I could find refuge there. As I neared the church I saw a dove in the sky above me, flying from tree to tree, taking pleasure in the lights that wrapped around those trees. A pleasure that seemed similar to that of my mother’s, and for that reason I took great joy from the dove’s fascination. I sat on the stairs of the church, and laid back looking at the stars above me, realizing the beauty they possessed, and for once starting to see what my mom was talking about. I missed my mom, and I wished that she was here with me tonight. And just as the midnight bells rang out from the bells above me, I heard the song of the dove, calling out through the darkness bringing hope to the night, as the small Christmas lights did as well. For once in a long while, I felt happy and knew that my mother was too.
(This story was first published in the December 12, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
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