12/17

Prompt 37: Use the following words in a story: hypocrite, cookie jar, city, telephone.

Dressing the Christmas Tree

Lacey sighed as she glanced again at the small tree set up in the corner of the tiny apartment. She had been happy enough when the Jameson’s offered to let her use it this year. It was just the top of their huge one, but Lacey couldn’t afford one of her own and it seemed perfect at the time. Now, the bare branches screamed from the dark corner. How was she supposed to buy them pretty lights and balls of glass to decorate it?

The girls would be home any minute, and they would want to decorate it. Now she would have to disappoint them all over again. She almost gave in to her moment of self pity, but there was work to be done and crying would not finish it for her. One good thing about moving to the city, there was work to be found. Busy people didn’t have time to do their own mending, and the mending would give her the extra money she needed to buy the girls a Christmas present. She picked up the overflowing basket and settled herself in the corner, next to the bare tree. Her shoulders slumped at the sight.

There wouldn’t be much money, it would have to either be presents or the tree- not both. From the bottom of the pile she pulled out the scarf that she was making for Alyssa, Miranda’s was already done. The hat and gloves were packed away in a drawer. She smiled happily for the first time that afternoon. New hat and gloves, a scarf, and the doll from the store! The girls would be so excited this year.

“Momma!” She heard the familiar calls from down the hall. Her smile grew, even before they saw her they were calling out to her. Lacey’s eyes grew misty. How many times she had lay awake wondering how she would feed her girls, how many times she had wondered if they would be better off with someone else. What would she do without them? She had been lucky, finding work with the Jameson’s. Now, they had enough food almost every night. With mending money – Lacey sucked in her breath. How fortunate they were!

As Lacey rose from her place her eyes rested briefly on that Christmas tree. She gritted her teeth and went to meet the twins. “Momma we learned a new word today,” Miranda gushed.

“Hypo…hypo…”

“Hypocrite,” her twin finished.

“Do you know what that means Momma?” Alyssa asked with her wide blue eyes.

“That’s a strange word to teach a seven year old,” Lacey commented.

“Mrs. Patters says we need to learn one new word every single day,” Miranda reminded her.

“Are there any cookies?” Alyssa asked eagerly.

Lacey took down her precious cookie jar that she never let get completely empty and offered it to each of the girls. “Can we have a whole one all to ourselves?” Alyssa asked when she prompted them to each take one.

“Mrs. Jameson let me bake two batched today, one for her boys and one to bring home!”

“Oh,” both girls squealed in delight.

“What else did you learn about today,” Lacey asked, enjoying her favorite part of the day.

“We learned about telephones.”

“Did you know Momma, that Mrs. Patters says one day there will be a telephone in every house.”

“Whatever for. Why would we need a telephone?” Lacey shook her head at the very idea. Mrs. Patters liked to fill the children’s head with nonsense.

“Oh Alyssa, look.” Miranda pointed to the corner where the Christmas tree stood, pathetically bare. Lacey cringed.

“Miranda we got our lesson books today,” Alyssa wore a look of pure joy.

“Is the tree ours Momma?”

“Yes, but it doesn’t have any ornaments.”

“That’s ok,” they both cried in unison.

“This is going to be the best Christmas ever!”

After the girls were both safely tucked into bed, Lacey sat up mending. She rocked slowly and stared at that small Christmas tree in wonder. The girls had done such a good job of decorating the tree, cutting out used pages of their lesson books to make ornaments. They only had three crayons, so the tree wore a dress of purple, orange and yellow. “Perfect,” Lacey sighed. And the most amazing part was that Miranda and Alyssa thought it was perfect too. They had not once mentioned the glass balls and pretty lights that were missing from their tree. With a final sigh, she set back to work, the socks would not mend themselves.

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