11-Dec-2020

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11-Dec-2020

Welcome to today’s installment of Holiday Flash Fiction Friday!

Warning: This might be a crying one for some of you.

Hormones and the Holidays

Today’s Holiday Flash Fiction is brought to you by:
Going into the woods to cut down your tree
Grandma’s crocheted snowflakes
and
Homemade Divinity

“Why isn’t this working?” My wife’s voice shrieks from the kitchen in a tone that I know means she’s about to lose it.

I wince. I’d offered to help make the whatever it was she was making—some candy recipe from her great-grandmother—but she refused, saying she wanted it to be a surprise. When I’d offered to hang out in the kitchen, she banished me.

It wasn’t like her to be this emotional unless it was her time of the month, something I wasn’t allowed to suggest, mind you. One glance at my phone told me that it could be hormones.

Or it could be the fact that she was suddenly trying desperately to make Christmas perfect this year.

A growl comes from my wife, and I sidle up to the doorway that leads into the kitchen. She’s standing over the stove, looking down into a saucepan that may or may not be smoking.

Hopefully it’s just steam from something cooking.

She looks from the pot to the cook book on the counter. “It said to make it a hard ball. How am I supposed to pour a hard ball into the whisked eggs?”

The tremor in her voice is not a good sign.

I have a decision to make. Either I back away slowly, not letting her hear me, and go watch TV, or I can enter the kitchen and steel myself for whatever explosion is about to come out of my wife.

I’m not going to lie, the TV was oh, so tempting. But it was Christmastime, and she was doing this for us. Or something. I took a deep breath and walked through the doorway.

My ankle wails, and I do my best not to limp. If she sees that she’ll go ballistic for sure. “Honey?” I ask.

Her head whips up, and she turns to look at me.

Even in all of her irrational anger she’s beautiful. Curly brown locks have escaped her ponytail and frame her heart-shaped face. Her eyes flash, and her expression hardens, but all I can see is the woman I love in pain. “Everything okay?” I ask.

“No,” she grumbles and returns her gaze to the cookbook.

Melissa doesn’t get this angry very often, so I continue with my cautious approach. “Anything I can do to help?”

She straightens and snorts. “This stupid recipe says to boil the mixture until it’s to hard ball stage. Now it’s a hard ball and I’m supposed to pour it in there?” Her voice rises again. She points to the mixer where I can see a white substance in the bowl.

Guys fix things. It’s what we do. My body moves of its own accord, and I go to the cookbook and read it.

The first time through I’m with my wife, then I notice a little note that’s been added. “Did you boil it until it reached 250 degrees?”

“What? No.”

I point to the recipe.

She pushes me out of the way, reads it, glares, and that’s when her lower lips trembles.

Uh-oh. We’ve skipped the yelling stage and have gone straight to the crying stage.

“Honey.” I put my hand on her back.

That’s all it takes. She lets out a wail and sinks to her knees. The water works turn on, and suddenly I’m kneeling next to her, patting her back. “It’s okay. It’s just candy.”

“Nothing is working!” Now she’s doubled over on herself.

“It’s fine.”

This is apparently the wrong thing to say, because she sits up and glares at me. Impressive, considering she’s still sobbing. “First you sprain your ankle getting the tree.”

I shrug. “Merely a flesh wound.”

“Then my grandma’s crocheted snowflakes.”

“It’s not your fault they’d been put in a yellow box that got wet and now they look like they’ve been peed on.” I meant for it to be a joke. She’d said it herself the day before.

Wrong choice again. Her voice reaches the upper end of shrill. “I’m just trying to give us Christmas traditions.”

So that’s why she’s been so keen on all of this craziness. “We have Christmas traditions. I particularly like our Christmas Eve tradition.” Five years married and I still look forward to seeing my wife in nothing but a couple of bows.

The tears are really flowing now, and she has to sniff before she can speak. “We can’t do that if we have a baby.”

“Sure we can, we…wait. What?” I stare at her. The world stops when she meets my gaze.

“I’m pregnant.”

This announcement puts her into worse hysterics.

I continue to stare as the words sink in. “Really?” We’ve been trying for three years, and decided to stop after a bad experience with a fertility clinic. “Are you sure?”

She nods. “I took three tests.”

Where she seems to be sinking, I’m floating off the floor.

A baby?

Us?

We’re going to be parents?

Joy like I’ve never felt it before fills me, starting from my core and working its way out into my fingers and toes. I’m light as a feather. I’m as warm as a fire.

Then I look at my distraught wife. Doesn’t she want this? I have to know. “Are—are you happy?”

She nods and cries some more.

“Are you sure?”

She looks at me and forces a smile. “I just wanted everything to be perfect. I was going to tell you on Christmas Eve.”

I grin and gather her to me. “Honey, this is amazing news. The best Christmas present ever!”

For a moment she stiffens, then she leans into me. She’s shaking. I enfold her and whisper in her ear. “We’ll make new traditions. Maybe not involving the woods or divinity.”

She laughs.

I laugh.

Then we’re kissing, and all I feel is love for this woman and the baby that will soon be ours.

Holiday Flash Fiction Categories!

Tradition:

  1. Decorating cookies
  2. Picking out a Christmas Tree
  3. Driving around looking at lights
  4. Staying up until midnight to hear the church bells ring
  5. Going into the woods to cut down your own tree
  6. Watching favorite holiday films
  7. Taking one of the men playing around with the deep fryer (while trying to cook an additional “better” turkey) to the ER for 2nd and 3rd degree burn
  8. PJ pictures on or near the stairs of all the kids Christmas morning
  9. The family sleeping around the Christmas tree the Friday before Christmas
  10. Christmas stockings made by grandma

Object:

  1. A Rabid Snowman
  2. Reindeer
  3. An old nutcracker
  4. Grandma’s crotched snowflakes
  5. Advent Calendar
  6. Krampus’ switch
  7. The heirloom tatted ornament that has been dunked in sugar water, starched, , and modge podged so many times it’s hard to tell what it originally was…(resembles an oblong Easter egg that’s been scrambled) but it’s been out for every Christmas since the oldest family member remembers, it’s tradition
  8. Wooden Christmas signs bought at Ensign
  9. Christmas village on the fireplace
  10. Death Star tree-topper

Food:

  1. Gluten Free Gingerbread
  2. Fruitcake
  3. Cranberry Jell-o Salad
  4. Homemade divinity
  5. Christmas crack chocolate
  6. Christmas Kibble (a cookie that looks like kibble)
  7. Aspic Salad
  8. Wild Rice
  9. Raspberry cream cheese desert
  10. Christmas sugar cookies


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