There is a story on the radio… some ghostly tale or other. I never really understood why we tell ghost stories at Christmas. I know it is traditional, but I was never sure how far back it went. I’d done a bit of research once, but that took it only a few hundred years. I had often wondered if it went back even further, to the dark, wild nights when firelight cast a safe circle against the dancing shadows. It is easy to imagine strange creatures when the shades claw their way up the walls, especially when the bonds of conscious thought are loosed by the ember glow.
The story ends and is replaced by Christmas carols. Looking around the room, everything is ready. Presents wait, all wrapped under the tree, mince pies dusted with sugar… a carrot for Rudolph and a glass of sherry for Santa, to keep out the cold. It’s a good job he doesn’t have to worry about drinking and driving… one of the perks of being a magical figure, I suppose.
She hasn’t seen me come in. I watch as the tears fall in silence. Tears… yes, Christmas brings old memories. Smiles, too… but tonight, just the tears. I want to offer comfort to the quiet figure on the sofa, but I don’t know how. The dog looks at me, expecting me to help somehow, then turns away, laying his head in her lap. My hand stretches out to her shoulder… but I cannot reach her. All I can do is hope that the love that is my very being can be felt. That she knows I am here, loving her still. Tonight, I know why we speak of our ghosts at Christmas… called by love, it is the night we come home.