Shelf Life: episode 7 "angel"
But I didn’t feel good, I didn’t feel good about any of this.
On the bright side, my good work had earned me a promotion and I was now granted, on base travel privileges. Basically that meant that I could wander down to the elf headquarters watering hole. It was a dingy little place called the Twirly Squirley. After report, me and the boys would throw back a few egg nogs before we had to get back to our posts. We would tell stories about our families and the different shenanigans that we found ourselves in. I wanted to bring up how I felt about watching the sadness that was eating them up but it never felt quite right. Mostly, we didnt really talk about much.
Then one day the sadness in my family’s home subsided, at least for a little while. I was on top of the T.V. in the living room, riding a T-rex when Dad pulled a large brown box into the room. He used a pocket knife to cut through the multiple layers of duct tape which held it closed. Jake and Haley gathered around him and jumped up and down in anticipation; Dad didn’t yell at them once. I didnt recognize the thing that he pulled from the box at first but then he stacked the pieces on top of eachother; it was a tree.
When Mom came upstairs with two big plastic tubs, the kids got really excited. Inside were dozens of beautiful glass bulbs and shiny figurines. Dad played some music on the speaker, Christmas music.
I watched the kids dance around the tree and they all helped to hang the decorations. Dad wrapped a string of lights around the tree which when he plugged them in, lit up and twinkled in reds and greens and golds, breathing a magical sort of life into the decorations. Mom took great care in laying out a red skirt below the tree which was trimmed with gold lace. It was the most beautiful thing that I’d ever seen. Then dad brought up a final box.
The kids gathered around once more and I couldn’t see what was inside when he opened it but an excited hush fell over the children. They ooh’d and awe’d like they were looking at some kind of lost treasure.
And that’s when I first laid eyes on Gloria. She was truly an angel.