Friday, March 23, 2018

No Room…

December 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

A Short Story to convey the true meaning of this Season. If we are going to commemorate it as the birth of Jesus, (I personally believe He was conceived during the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, and born in the fall during the Jewish Fall Festivals) then shouldn’t we at least keep Him central in our celebrations? The excess and commercialism has over taken our common sensibilities and choked our hearts with the cares and greed of this world. Maybe it’s time to examine our hearts and help others, rather than focusing on ourselves: our wants, our grief, or the traditions of man that take our eyes off of the Lord.

No Room …

Noelle screeched her Mercedes into the parking space one store down from Macy’s main entrance. She slammed her door shut and stomped up the sidewalk.

“Self pity? Uncaring? It’s NOT Christmas anymore without Collin! Go ahead, Darin Newell, spend it with family! I’ll buy my own presents!”

Her rants froze into a trailing stream of indignant, white puffs. Blinded by her anger, she nearly tripped over a body huddled in the alcove between the two stores. She looked down at a young man, dressed in a ragged shirt and tattered jeans. He wrapped his arms around his knees and shivered. Bare feet showed through his worn-out shoes.

“What in heaven’s name! There are homeless shelters close by,” she snapped.

He shivered again. “N…no ro…oom. Too c…crowded.”

No room? On Christmas Eve? She teetered in her stiletto boots. Just like… The freezing air swirled around her. This time she was the one shivering, but not from the cold, from her heart… melting. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

Noelle hurried through the pricey store, past the shimmery dresses, past the jewelry counter, past the long, noisy Santa line and headed for the men’s department.

“Lucky man. Shall we gift-wrap these, Ma’am?” The clerk smiled and handed her card back.

“No. Thank you. And I don’t need bags.”

Outside she helped the young man into a wool coat. She handed him a hat and gloves. His hands shook, so she knelt in front of him and helped. That’s when she noticed the scars on his fingers and all the way up his arms. “What happened?”

“W…war. Some…someone saved me, but c…can’t work.”

She ignored the stares of the other shoppers passing by and stayed on her knees, gently taking off his grungy shoes and helping him put on socks and boots. They were a half size too big, but he thanked her and said they’d be fine.

With that, she tucked money into his coat pocket. “Well, here’s enough to get something warm to eat and a place to stay for the night.”

He looked at her then, for the first time, his eyes misty and grateful.

Noelle stood and backed away. “I know you! Aren’t you Jesus Ramirez? You, and our son, Collin… you served in Iraq together.”

When he nodded, she quickly found her business card and handed it to him. “Could you call tomorrow? Maybe, come over? Spend some time with us?”

He nodded again. This time her eyes misted.

As soon as she got home, she saw the travel bags at the door. Darin buttoned his coat.

“Please, stay.” She threw her arms around his waist, but he gripped her shoulders and pushed her back.

“Don’t, Noelle. I can’t take your bitterness over Collin’s death anymore. I need to spend time with family, with people who care.”

Noelle hid her face in her hands. “I know.” Tears streamed down her face. “I’m so sorry,” she said through sobs. “Please, forgive me? I want you to stay. We could invite family over tomorrow and be together again. It wouldn’t take much to get ready. We could keep it simple, meaningful.”

Darin’s hands relaxed, and he pulled her close. “Really?” He lifted her chin. “What’s going on? What happened tonight?”

Noelle wiped away fresh tears. “I…” Her lips trembled. “I found Jesus.”

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