With Christmas comes visitors, sometimes family, sometimes friends, from out of town. As always when meeting His friends, whether for the first time or the second, I always wonder, “What are they thinking?” when they meet me.
“Jameson is in town, but he’s leaving today,” he told her earlier in the day when calling to say hello.
“So soon? Oh, I thought he would stay until New Year’s, at least,” she answered, surprised. Jameson’s extended holiday visits were a long-standing tradition she knew he looked forward to.
“Yes, usually, but he’s driving back tomorrow for holidays with his wife’s family,” he explained, and she nodded even though no one could see her on the other side of the phone.
“Well, I bought you both cookies from Freeport Bakery; stop by if you’re in the area,” she said. She was looking forward to a long hot bath and a quiet evening in her pajamas.
“Maybe,” he replied. “I’ll let you know if it we’re in the area.”
Hours later, there was a knock at the door.
They came inside from the winter cold, tall and bundled up in heavy wool pea coats, scarves, and expensive leather gloves. She was wearing flannel pajama bottoms decorated with the Batman logo, barefoot with only a smudge of polish on one toe, and a black tee shirt declaring, Come to the Dark Side: We Have Cookies.
He had called from the corner and asked, “Do you want some coffee? I’m out with Jameson at Old Soul.”
She looked at the clock; 9 p.m. was late for the middle of the week.
“Hot chocolate would be lovely,” she suggested, savoring the idea of the frothy warm delight cupped between her hands.
Now here they were, somehow taller than ever before, while she fidgeted and felt short without the armor of her tailored clothes and high heels.
Relax, she thought, it’s only his best friend that he’s known since grade school. And then she fidgeted some more before habit kicked in.
She straightened her shoulders.
She remembered something her lover had said in passing, something about about Jameson’s interests in history, specifically the Civil War. With casual interest she indicated a wood-cut map of the United States on the wall and asked his opinion on the drawing of the state lines: Could he date the map? It was only a reproduction–Kansas was far too large–but the discussion ranged from there to a compliment on her home improvements and on to his own projects for repairs at his place in Los Angeles.
Not jumping to politics, then? she wondered and warmly approved. Her lover watched them both, standing to one side and entertaining the one-eyed pirate cat with a crinkled ball of leftover wrapping paper.
Jameson settled into the yellow chair, her favorite, and put his feet up on the ottoman. She sat nearby on the bench seat, comfortably cross-legged, and asked him about holiday plans. Watching them both in the same room, it was easy to imagine these two tall men as children, then as teenagers, lanky and thoughtful with matching mischievous smiles. Jameson answered with a description of travel plans to South America, and she marveled at his spirit of adventure, teasing that the mosquitoes there were the size of small pets in some areas and warning not to bring any back home.
He laughed out loud and she stretched, glided to her feet for a quick kiss with her lover and thanked them for coming by. The clock read 10:15, now, and she was tired from a long day at work.
They wished each other well out into the dark night, and she watched them go, wondering what they would talk about.
Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang.
“Now I just want five minutes of you all to myself,” her lover said, and she laughed, delighted.
They talked for a long time, about nothing and everything like they usually did, until yawns softened her consonants into non-existent syllables and he, chuckling at her mumbled insistence that she wasn’t really sleepy, softly said goodnight.
And may all your Christmases be bright, dear readers.