Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Midnight Clear by Simone Beaudelaire

A lonely widow finds a new opportunity for love during an icy Christmas in modern-day Wyoming.


         “Mom,” Jessica said, her voice sounding at least twice as mature as her fifteen years, “you need to get out more.”

Annabel rolled her eyes. Well why not? If Jess was the parent, she could act like a teenager. “And just when do I have time for that, young lady?” she asked.
“Make time. All you do is work. It makes me sad.”
Annabel smiled this time. “Don’t be sad, honey. I like my job, and I like coming home to my kids. That’s enough for me.” 
“But what will you do in the future? We’re almost grown up.” 
This time Annabel laughed out loud. Grabbing a couple of oven mitts, she retrieved a batch of Christmas cookies from the oven just as the timer let out a raucous screech. She set the tray on the stove and Jessica popped the next cookie sheet in. “You two are far from grown up,” she said. 
“Mom, I’m not as much of a baby as you think. I’m halfway through my sophomore year.”
“I realize that,” Annabel replied. “But Jonathan is only ten. He’s got a ways to go.”
 “Eight years. And I bet it will go by in a blink. And then you’ll be alone, Mom. Is that what you want?”
 Annabel leaned her hip on the edge of the cheap blue and white Formica counter and scowled at her daughter. “Don’t get too big for your britches there, Missy,” she said. “Who says a woman has to have a man to be happy? I don’t mind being single.”
 “Bull,” Jessica retorted.
 “Watch it!” Annabel warned in her most serious mom voice. “I won’t have that kind of talk from you.”
 Jessica broke eye contact and looked down at the floor. “Sorry, Mom,” she said. “I just wanted to tell you that… I don’t think it would be disloyal to Dad if you got with someone else.”