It was that time of year again, when the Williamsons’ house would glow even more than usual.
They hustled through the front door with brown grocery bags in hand. I could almost smell Mrs. Williamsons’ holiday cookies. Michael ran back outside and began to roll snowballs. He began to aim in my direction but Beth’s voice sang from the front door to my relief, “Michael come inside.” She was much older than Michael and always had an eye on him. That night, the Williamsons had their annual holiday dinner. Beth laid out the butternut squash soup, sweet potatoes, and turkey on the table. The room shone with high candles that almost reached the chandelier. They filled the room with an orange light that extended down the dark street. I could almost feel the warmth of the candles. I wished they could fit another chair at the table. I could fit right beside Beth, and if her soup was too hot, I’d blow on it. I guess there wasn’t any room for me, so I stayed in my place outside.
December rolled around again and the Williamsons wore their matching wool holiday sweaters. Mr. Williamson was wearing his fluffy grey slippers that he received as a present last year from Mrs. Williamson. An old beaten up Corolla pulled up to their driveway. I had never seen the car before. A young man stepped out from the car and rang the doorbell. Beth ran to the door and swung it open greeting him with a tight hug. She took his hand and led him into the house. He joined the Williamsons at the annual holiday dinner. He sat beside Beth and blew on her soup when it was too hot. I always knew they could fit another seat at the table.
The following December was different; Beth was no longer home. In September they had packed up all her belongings into the car and she drove off. She hadn’t been back since. Michael came outside and began to make a snowball. He kept rolling the chunk of snow until it was about the size of his head. He wound up his arm and threw the snowball at me. The ice in the snowball was sharp and the cool snow burned. It wasn’t until a few snowballs later, when it began to get dark outside, that he returned inside the house. Beth did make a quick appearance at the annual holiday dinner but she left early the next morning in the old beaten up Corolla.
I knew that the holidays would never be the same. In November the Williamsons packed up the house into a moving truck and left me alone. My branches ached from the bitter breeze. The whistle of the wind howled that night. All my leaves fell in early November leaving me bare-naked for the holidays.