Lizzie Koch’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: Christmas Shopping
Abbie sat defeated, too exhausted to even lift her coffee. She’d spent hours, all afternoon, traipsing around the shops for that one toy on her daughter’s Christmas list only to find empty shelves and apologetic staff. Who knew rubber bands would be so popular? It seemed defeat was her only option and as the thought sank in, the little piece of Christmas spirit she had vanished along with her daughter’s belief in Santa. And to make matters worse (if possible) the coffee shop had sold out of brownies. No loom bands. No brownies.
“You know an elf dies every time someone stops believing.” Abbie looked up at the tall stranger with the crooked smile as he placed his tray of hot chocolate and a brownie down. “It’s true. Lack of Christmas spirit is killing more elves than all the illness and diseases on the planet put together.”
Abbie ignored him as he sat opposite her, gazing out the window; the grey skies and drizzle matching her mood. She’d never felt so miserable. But then she was about to ruin her child’s Christmas because of one silly, impossible toy.
“I always think a brownie makes everything better,” he said, pushing his plate towards her. “You can’t beat chocolate.”
“But they told me . . . oh never mind.”
“I don’t mind sharing, honestly. Please, it’s too big a piece for one anyway.”
Abbie broke off a piece of warm fudgy brownie. “So you’re one of those people who believes in Christmas magic, spirit and Santa?”
“I have no reason not to. I mean why would you not believe in something so wonderful, joyful and magical? What’s the alternative?”
“The alternative is disappointment when the present you asked for doesn’t turn up. And every shop in town has sold out. That will crush a child, not getting the one toy they’ve asked for.”
“How do you know the toy won’t turn up? I think you’re problem is lack of belief.” He stood up. “Why not try believing and see what happens? What have you to lose? And you’ll save an elf.” He grinned and left.
Abbie finished the brownie and she did feel better. As her mood lifted, the weather seemed to improve too and with it the bright twinkling of fairy lights sparkled along the high street. She sang along to Christmas songs and swore she heard the faint tingling of sleigh bells. This is what it felt like to be Christmassy. It wasn’t about the crowds, the spending, the toy. It wasn’t about what she couldn’t have but what she already had. And she knew her daughter would be happy no matter what on Christmas morning.
“Merry Christmas,” Abbie said, handing over the tray before leaving. No more shopping. Just home to be with her family.
“Did you check your tray?” the girl behind the counter asked.
“Check my tray? No, it wasn’t . . . why?”
“Turn it over. It’s a competition. The tray with the number on the bottom wins. There’s only one tray.” Abbie turned it over. The number 25 in big, bold red marker stared back. “Congratulations! Here.” She showed Abbie a large cardboard box filled with shredded paper. “You’re prize is in here, lucky dip, one a day.”
Abbie delved deep, feeling like a child at Christmas. She pulled out a soft, beautifully wrapped present in shiny red paper. “Thank you so much,” Abbie said, unable to hide her inner child, not wanting to. “This is really kind of you.”
“You’re welcome. Come back again.”
“Oh definitely. Especially for your brownies. Do you have any left?”
“Oh, no, sorry. We sold out of brownies way before lunch.”
Abbie could still taste the brownie in her mouth. Could see the crumbs on the plate. She looked at the present and instantly knew what was inside. And without opening it, Abbie lay the present under the tree for her daughter.
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I dream of sharing my work with the big wide world one day as a published author. Right now, I share flash fiction with a wonderful community of writers and friends. If you liked this story, then why not visit my blog at http://40somethingundomesticateddevil.blogspot.co.uk/ for more. Thank you. Love Lizzie x