Naughty or Nice
by Melissa Sell
The multi colored glow of the tree in front of the bay window, with its’ heavy red curtains and golden ties, were the only lights that played along the walls of the family room. The cream-colored walls and dark, maple crown molding, gave a warm feeling even when the large fireplace was cold. With the silver tinsel framing the entryway, poinsettias neatly placed on the mantel above the fireplace, and the four royal blue stocking hanging just so patiently below them, I couldn’t help but smile.
Christmas was almost here.
It’s my favorite time of year, a time for me to enjoy all the antics of the season. I love watching as each room is decorated with blues, silvers, reds and greens. The intoxicating scent of pine from the freshly cut tree, and the matching air freshener Sara loved to spray around the house until New Year’s Eve. Brian always told her to ease up on using it so much, they lived in a house not a forest. I didn’t mind it and neither did the kids, Lizzy and Lucas. Five-year-old twins, who loved to play and were mostly well behaved for their age. I have to say they are quite lovely children and I do enjoy spending time with them, Sara, too. Brian can be a jerk, but he has an important job and works hard, so I try and let it slide. We only see each other during this holiday season and I believe it’s important to be extra nice during this time of year.
I wish he would be nicer to Sara, though, she is such a lovely woman. Golden hair, large blue eyes and a smile that lights a room more brightly than any string of lights I have ever seen. She talks to me more than he does, and has a gentler nature.
Just yesterday, as we sat with our coffee, right before the kids came down, she talked about how tired she was and how she still hadn’t finished wrapping gifts. She needed to finish up holiday chores and Brian would work with me tonight. If he came home. They are having some marital problems, sad since it’s almost Christmas day and she really is so lovely. I feel for her and I plan on helping with that tonight, it’s the least I can do after all the treats she gives me and all the craziness she gets me out of during this time of year.
Brian doesn’t understand our relationship and thinks she should stop spending time with me. He thinks I am a bad influence, can you imagine? The kids adore me! I am such a fun individual and I have helped his kids every year! No gratitude from him, he’s too selfish to see all I have done and all Sara has done.
I’m helping out tonight.
Tonight, Sara and the kids left early for a play at the twin’s school. Lizzy has a big part but Lucas is a snowflake, I think. Maybe he was a star, not sure of that but quite sure they won’t be back until much later. Brian claimed to work late, but I have overheard his mobile calls late in the night when he thinks everyone is asleep. He doesn’t know that I have heard his tender whispers in the dark but that’s okay, he will know tonight.
Brian must learn to be nicer, it isn’t nice to be so naughty.
My thoughts were interrupted when I heard a key fidgeting in the front door, and, with a smile painted on my face, I see Brian walking inside. His business suit is tousled around the collar and his hair is a mess to match. I see the faint signs of lipstick on his neck and a strange amount of rage begins to fill me. As he stumbles around the house, I notice he seems to be intoxicated, which makes my smile even brighter. He pays no attention to me, as usual, when he throws his briefcase onto the foyer table along with his keys. His feet can’t seem to decide which direction they want to go and he nearly trips over the plush chair near the living room entryway.
Several slurred curse words have loosely passed his lips now along with several loud burps. I would cringe if I could but my nature is not to do so and I continue to smile at a sad excuse of a man who has yet to notice me.
He has thrown his suit jacket off and onto the stair post, holding the rail for support before sliding his shoes off. As he fully enters the living room, he trips over a toy truck that Lucas seemingly forgot to put away, tsk tsk. I want to laugh as he hops on one foot while holding his other. He is using curse words again and his words of endearment for Sara are anything but, yet my smile hides my rising anger. His hopping has caused what balance he did have to be even less and he has now fallen forward into the mantel.
I watch as the tinsel and the stockings fall to the floor followed by several of the poinsettias, soil scattering across the white carpet. More curse words slurred in frustration and anger as he turns to look at the mantel, and with a slight step backward his heel collides with his sudden misplaced shoes, causing his fall over the corner of the glass coffee table. As he does so he lands on his backside, hitting his head on the edge of the oak colored end table.
My tsk is unheard, what a shame, he is now bleeding. I can’t help my smile that has yet to falter.
He struggles to stand and when he is barely upright his hand touches the back of his head, bringing his hand back down he sees the warm blood. He groans loudly, in pain and frustration. His actions have yet to sober him as tries to move forward. Lucas’s oddly placed truck stops him again and he has now fallen into the Christmas tree, and ornaments can be heard shattering as lights pop and break. There is another strange noise as well.
Ah, yes, those silly string lights.
The lights have gotten jumbled up somehow and wrapped around his neck, he can’t get them undone since they are stuck on a hook on the mantel. They seemed to have gotten caught on it as he fell down with the tree. The more he struggles the more it twists and tightens. I can see his face turning such a lovely shade of Christmas red, or is it blue now?
Such a shame.
Don’t let my smile fool you, I am sad for Sara and the twins, coming home and finding such a mess of the decorations and blood on the carpet. Such red blood, matches my suit nicely. Tsk, tsk. Such a terrible accident though, and to happen during the most wonderful time of the year. I guess he was too naughty.
I rarely get to do the naughty ideas.
I’m usually just perched wherever Sara thinks is best for me, with silly tricks and gimmicks, words of Christmas encouragement written in glitter or candy pieces. We’ve had our silly traditions for three years now. The kids call me Edmund.
Edmund the Elf.
I rarely go on a shelf, no one notices an elf there, am I right? No, I’m usually out in plain sight, easily accessible for the kids. I’m on the tree right now, the last of the string lights are softly reflecting off my smile and bright suit. I am close to the top, hugging a branch as my hand is outstretched trying to reach the angel. Sara placed me there last night. She really is a lovely person.
I can hear a key fidgeting in the lock, they must be home. Oh my, such a shame to come home and see this, I hope the kids don’t come in first.
Put your best smile forward, Edmund, they will need a smile in three…two…one.