StoryRhyme After Dark: Don’t Call Tonight

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Don’t Call Tonight
By Harry Buschman


She breathed a sigh of relief when she flipped the switch and all the Christmas lights blinked on.

She hoped she did it right. What would Peter say if she didn’t? Probably he would say nothing, not really. He would wait for a quiet moment in the afternoon of Christmas day and fix them the way they should have been fixed in the first place.

The lanterns along the driveway lit up the snow and the little bubble lights strung around the maple tree sparkled in the cold wind. The lights meant so much in war time. What would Christmas be like without the lights... Gloomy. Oh, so gloomy.

Peter was gone four months now and she was six months pregnant, and... She longed to see him again. She couldn’t bear to spend this Christmas alone with the baby due. Maybe the lights would bring him home early––although he said not to expect it. At least six months, he said. That meant he wouldn’t be here until late February. She’d be in her final month then. It’s too close, Peter, much too close.

But nevertheless, she got a tree––a small one, and the man was kind enough to tie it up and put it on the roof of the car. Even though the doctor told her to be careful lifting anything, she risked carrying it into the house and decorating it all by herself. She was good at that, better even than Peter was. She made yards and yards of popcorn and cranberries. They hadn’t been married long enough to accumulate many ornaments, so she made most of them herself. Gold paper, glue and scissors and a cut-out angel for the top. “If you could see it, Peter! You’d be so proud of me.”

She was going through tomorrow in her mind. She was sure if he couldn’t be here on Christmas day he would call. What was the time in Iraq? How many hours ahead––was it ten? She couldn’t remember. 

But if the phone did ring...! Suppose it rang now..? Would she have the courage to pick it up? It’s bad enough to spend Christmas without him.

“But I’d have to pick it up... There’s no one here to do it for me.”

(c) 2014 Harry Buschman
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