Day 14 | Advent Calendar
Gift of the Magi by Urszula Humienik
“What are you reading?”
“The Gift of the Magi. It used to be my favorite story to read this time of year… but I don’t know. Now it seems too simplified. Maybe life back then was simpler. People didn’t have much. Della and Jim definitely didn’t, but they had each other.” Sheryl looked off into a darker corner of the room trying to imagine what it would have looked like over a century ago.
“Life does seem to be overly complicated lately, doesn’t it?” Porter looked at Sheryl sitting on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, one foot sticking out. He thought about how easy gift-giving had become with her. For several months before December, she’d send him emails with links to things she’d appreciate. He’d pick one or several. That was it. No self-sacrifice or even going to the store. They both found this easier and less hassle. Did she want him to go to more trouble?
Sheryl looked up at Porter. Her eyes flickered with the light from the fireplace. “We seem to have everything we could physically want or need. Yet…” her voice trailed off with a kind of sadness he recognized.
He no longer knew what to do in such situations. Years of treatments, therapy, marriage counselling hadn’t gotten them very far. In fact, maybe they’d drifted further apart as a result, he thought. “How about some raspberry hot chocolate?” he suggested lightly.
When he returned from the kitchen, he found her sobbing. He wanted to comfort her, but knew she’d just push him away like she’d done in the past. He set down the two cups of hot chocolate on the coffee table and sat next to her. He placed his hands around her and felt her sobs against his chest.
“I don’t know what home feels like anymore,” Sheryl said, her voice fighting to expectorate the words between sobs.
Porter hugged her closer and felt relieved when he realized her body seemed to welcome him. He stroked her hair gently and kissed the top of her head.
“This. This is home.” He held her face in his palms. “We may not be perfect.” He kissed her lips lightly. “But this is home.” He kissed her again, this time with brio. “I love you more than ever.”