09 - So This is Christmas... - Darien
Author's note: Rest in Peace John. The song is actually titled "Happy Christmas (War is over)" and can be found on "The John Lennon collection". Thank you to Pete for being my inspiration.So this is Christmas...
Zac fluttered opened his eyes. His favorite holiday was just around the corner.
Christmas was a mere two days away. He hadn’t bought presents for his family yet, but he would get around to it. Besides, he had to scope out his presents. He was almost sure on their hiding spot this year. “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun. And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear ones, the old and the young...” John Lennon’s voice echoed in their house, reverberating off the walls of his room. Zac crawled out of bed. Isaac hadn’t stopped playing that song for three days straight.
“Turn it down!” Zac yelled covering his ears as he came into the hall. The music continued. Zac threw open the door to Isaac’s room, “I said turn it...” he stopped mid-sentence. Isaac wasn’t there. Zac turned off the stereo but the music continued. He pulled the cord from the wall, it was probably just some kind of malfunction. The music didn’t stop. Zac looked behind the stereo for the source of the problem.
“You can’t turn it down Zac,” a voice boomed behind him. Zac turned around and gasped. A figure about his dad’s height with long brown hair in a white robe stood there.
“Jo--hhhn Lennon?” he stuttered.
“No Zac, I’m the ghost of Christmas past,” he said straight-faced.
“Okay, Isaac you can come out now!” Zac laughed nervously. “Very funny! I got the joke!”
“It’s no joke,” the figure in the white robe said. “Come with me.”
“Oh I get it, it’s a dream,” Zac said hitting his forehead. “Well better make the best of it, it’s not every day you meet dead rock icons,” he said to himself. Zac took John Lennon’s hand. In a flash he was in the street outside his house. The snow had begun falling and he was glad he had his red flannel robe on. Zac laughed, it was the first time he remembered being cold in a dream. Or feeling any sensation in a dream, for that matter.
“Look,” the voice said pointing a long finger towards the window before him.Zac peered in the window. It was his family and they were opening Christmas presents. He saw himself merrily ripping open his fourth package. That had been last Christmas.
“Hey where’s Jesse?” Zac asked wrinkling his nose.
“Look in the next window Zac.” Zac rubbed the frost off the next window with the edge of his sleeve and he saw Jesse snuggled up in his mother’s lap in the kitchen. He smiled, this was a regular domestic scene. “Look closer,” the voice said. Zac squinted. Jesse was crying.
“What’s wrong?” Zac asked.
“Mommy, I spent so much time making Zac’s present and he didn’t even look at it,” she sobbed. Zac remembered her present. It had been a piece of cardboard with macaroni glued to it. He had labeled it a ‘cheesy homemade present’ and put it aside.
“He forgot to get me one!” she cried and Mrs. Hanson soothed her.
“I’m sure he didn’t forget, Jesse. Zac’s just been preoccupied, you know with the music and all.”
“I had no idea,” Zac said turning. John Lennon was gone. Isaac was standing before him. “Oh, thank God it’s you,” Zac said relieved, draping his hand on Isaac’s shoulder. “I was having this weird dream...”
“I’m the ghost of Christmas present. Come with me Zac,” Isaac beckoned.
“This is getting a little too weird...” Zac said rubbing his head. Isaac grabbed his hand. In a flash they were back in the house. Zac was relieved by the warmth, his toes were freezing and he had cut his toe on a piece of glass. Zac followed Isaac into Jesse’s room. She was knee deep in scraps of colored construction paper and she was diligently gluing glitter to a card. Zac leaned over her shoulder. ‘Zac, I love you’, it said in a big heart. Zac touched her shoulder, “Jesse I love you too,” he said. She didn’t flinch. ‘Why can’t she hear me?’ he panicked.
“I love you Zac, even though you forgot me last year...” she whispered underher breathe and a tear trickled down her flushed cheek.
“I’m sorry Jesse,” Zac sniffled and a tear crept from his eye. He didn’t want to leave Jesse, but Isaac summoned him into his parent’s room. His parents were sleeping soundly. He swung open their closet and rubbed his hands together greedily. Sure enough, his presents were hidden right where he thought they would be. Each one was wrapped and had a pretty tag and bright ribbon around it. Zac reached for one to unwrap. Suddenly he felt guilty with the package in his hand. He hadn’t even gotten his family presents. He put it back.
He whirled around, “Isaac...” he began, but he was already gone. A menacing figure in a black robe stood in front of him. The fabric of the cloak draped over his face, giving it an ominous look.
“Come Zac, I’m the ghost of Christmas future,” the figure said and extended it’s hand. The hand was icy and Zac shivered. In an instant they were standing in a grave yard. It was cold and the dry grass tore at his ankles.
“Why are we here?” Zac asked. He began to cry, “I’m cold, I want to go home,” he hiccuped. The presence said nothing, but pointed towards the horizon. His family was surrounding a grave on the hill. Zac maneuvered around them. “Come on guys, this isn’t funny,” he said waving his arm in front of them. His mother burst into tears and buried her face into his dad’s shoulder. Zac looked down at the headstone.
“No!” Zac cried. “What happened to her?” he demanded.
“You forgot her Zac. You left her at the park. You forgot. She froze to death.”
“I’m so sorry Jesse!” Zac cried, “I’m so sorry!”
“Zac wake up!” Taylor shouted, shaking him.
Zac opened his eyes. “What the?”
“You were having a bad dream or something,” Taylor said brushing back Zac’s hair with his hand. “It’s okay.”
“Jesse, where’s Jesse?” Zac demanded trying to jump out of bed.
“She’s asleep Zac. Just like everyone else.”
“What day is it?”
“It’s the twenty third of December, Zac,” Taylor said giving him a funny look.
“There’s still time!” Zac shouted jumping up from his bed. He winced as his feethit the floor.
“Zac, what are you talking about? What happened to your feet?” Zac looked down his feet. They were chapped and a mess of scratches and dried blood.
“It doesn’t matter! Jesse’s okay!” Zac ran up to the attic and pulled her cardboard and macaroni picture out of an old storage box. He flounced down the stairs hugging the picture tight to his body. He slipped it into a picture frame and put it up on his wall.
“Where are you going Zac?” Taylor shouted as Zac ran out of his room in a frenzy.
“Christmas shopping!” he shouted back at Taylor. There was one stop he hadto make before he left though. He ran into Jesse’s room. She was asleep. Zac shook her, “Jesse wake up!”
“Zac what is it?” she asked groggily, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
“I love you,” he said kissing her forehead. “I didn’t forget you, I love you.” Jessereached up and hugged him.
“I love you too Zac.” When Zac looked out the window Christmas morning, he saw someone walking away. Even from the back, he knew it was John Lennon.The ghost of Christmas past had left. In the background Zac heard the music drone on, “So this is Christmas and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun. And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear ones, the old and the young...”