Sorry for the late post everyone! I’ve been out all morning and I just found a moment to finish today’s story. My family’s having a party tonight so I won’t be on any more today.
As this is a sequel, you should probably read the first part before this one, which can be found here: The Ornament.
If there are any typos, I apologize in advance. This one is really rough. I just needed to make sure I got it out 🙂
I hope you enjoy anyway.
The Ornament, Part 2
The tree was resplendent. The house was filled with the spicy scents of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Warmth, security and happiness: these were the sentiments held within the four walls.
It had been too long since it had last felt this good.
Sitting in front of the tree, wrapping her last gift just two days before Christmas, Margaret could still not believe all that had changed in the past twelve months. It was more than she had ever hoped for.
She could still recall the terror of walking into her sister’s apartment now over a year ago only to find Ellie lying unconscious on the floor. Her pulse had been far too faint, her life slowly fading from her. It was only in seeing her sister’s prone form and the needle on the ground beside her that Margaret had remembered the pills waiting for her at the home.
They had both been at the edge of their despair, led to that point by a chosen lonely and dismal existence. It had ripped them apart because they had allowed their sorrows to overwhelm them.
Margaret had ridden in the ambulance with her, all the while praying to any god for a second chance, to make things better, to make a family once more.
At the hospital, she had confined herself to the chapel, promising her soul, promising to be better, to do better, if Ellie would be okay.
She had slept by her sister’s side, waiting for a miracle, knowing that she did not blame Ellie for what had happened. She had not tried hard enough to keep them together, had allowed her to fall into this dangerous pattern. She had fallen into complacency, acceptance that her life would always be full of disappointment.
When Ellie at last stirred, Margaret reached for her with arms of love and compassion. “I’m so sorry,” she told her. “I shouldn’t have left you.”
“I have a daughter.” In the last two years, they had not seen each other at all, and these first words spoken meant more to her than any others could have been. It was an invitation into her life.
That Christmas had been spent in that hospital room with Ellie and her sixteen-month old girl, Tanya—their mother’s name. Promises had been made to make amends, to change ways.
It had been a difficult road at first. They had both been addicted to their lifestyles, but they learnt to let it go, to care for each other, to live together with that little life still unmarred by tragedy.
Margaret finished tying her bow on Tanya’s present and lay it down beside the others. She rose up and carried them upstairs into the attic where Tanya and Ellie would not be able to find them.
She had entered this place only once since last year, right after they had returned from the hospital to express her gratitude to the phantoms, to promise that everything would be right now.
The attic posed no threat to her now and she entered it without hesitation.
Her mother waited for her there.
Only a shadowy figure, she looked no older than she had been the last Christmas. Her hair was long and flowing, eyes beautiful and green. She was a vision of grace donning a pale violet dress.
“Mom?” She nearly dropped the boxes, but managed to stop herself before she could damage them and carefully laid them upon the floor instead.
“I am so very proud of you.”
Margaret took a step towards the ghost. Her emotions had already risen, her face flushed, her eyes wet with tears. There was some happiness in her too, grateful for this moment.
“We’re going to be fine.”
Her mother extended a hand toward her, but kept enough of a distance to ensure that they did not touch. Margaret did not reach further, too afraid to feel her fingers pass through the air, to know that this was not real.
“I love you, Mom. I miss you.”
Margaret choked back a sob.
“I am always with you.”
Her mother blew her a kiss, a gentle gesture.
Margaret touched her cheek at the slightest sensation upon it. She closed her eyes, to lock this moment in her memory. When they opened again, her mother was gone. Though she could not be seen, her presence was still palpable, a loving aura surrounding her.
Hours later, Margaret sat down with Ellie and Tanya in the den while a fire roared in the hearth. As she did, her eyes fell upon their mother’s ornament, hanging in the tree.
It had brought hope back into her life. And everything, at last, was well.
May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,
© 2015. Faith Rivens.