(Christmas)

A story a day until there’s a sleigh! This holiday season, I’m sharing a new flash fiction piece inspired by a holiday song every day of December until Christmas. Today’s story is inspired by Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

“Why are you calling me now, Lauren?”

Lauren could hear the hurt in Tisa’s voice and knew she’d inflicted the pain that resonated there.

“I’ve just been thinking of you is all.”

“I tried calling you for months, and you just blocked me out.”

Missing Tisa worked like this–at first Lauren was glad to be rid of her. She liked waking up alone in bed no longer fearing how Tisa’s mood might ebb and flow over the course of the day. Lauren liked cooking for herself because she could make her meals quick and simple. Tisa, an amateur chef with aspirations to go pro, had always insisted on multi-course meals shared at the table.

Lauren liked watching whatever she wanted on television rather than debating what was ethical to watch. Who cares if Cheers rarely passed the Bechdel test and every other joke was a loaded innuendo about Sam’s sexual prowess? It was some darn good comedy in the context of the time. Lauren could appreciate that while Tisa was always looking for a way to evolve.

Except at Christmas. For the holiday, Tisa was all about tradition. The real tree decorated with white lights and red ornaments. Creamy homemade eggnog that packed a boozy punch. Iced Christmas cookies–a recipe handed down from her grandma. Genuine caroling–Tisa loved to sing almost as much as she liked to cook.

March through November Lauren had felt she was better off without Tisa this year, but now it was December and the shelves at Target were overflowing with holiday lights, stuffed penguins in scarves, and balsam fir candles. All the seasonal excess had Lauren longing for what had been. Hence the phone call.

“I needed some time,” Lauren said.

“I’ve moved on with my life.”

“You don’t miss me?”

“Lo Lo, you kicked me out.”

“What if I was wrong?”

There was no reply on the other end of the phone line. Only silence to which Lauren entreated.

“Tisa, baby, please come home.”

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