The Anti-Kissing League


Over the next few days, they’d developed a routine. She’d learned about a plumb and had breakfast waiting for him every morning when he arrived—usually to the accompaniment of a Christmas carol.

This morning she’d been singing Silent Night. He remembered her clear, sweet voice. The clarity of her tone.

“Silent night, holy night,

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and Child.

Holy Infant, so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.”

“That song has always been one of my favorite Christmas hymns—although it’s rough trying to get in the Christmas spirit when the temperature outside is in the eighties.”

She gave an easy smile at his comment. “It’s actually an old Austrian song, but a Florida Episcopal bishop was the person who translated the words into English.” Her eyes held a twinkle. “And that’s your bit of Florida history for the day. It’s hard to believe some of the old songs have lasted as long as they have, isn’t it?”

“When they’re a testament to God, they should last forever.” He was tentative. Maybe he shouldn’t have said that. His faith was still too new to him to talk about it much. He didn’t want to make a fool of himself. His folks had taken him to church every Sunday when he was a child, but until recently it hadn’t been something he’d pursued on his own. What a fool he’d been to waste so much time running from God. Just like I’m running from other things now.

* * * *

As he checked the blue chalk line to ensure it was even on both sides, he felt her enter the room. He didn’t need the click of heels to tell him she was close. He could feel her. Sense her.

In just a few short days she was becoming far too important to him. He hadn’t counted on that. At times he’d seen her eyes grow misty, as if she realized what was happening between them and it was too much for her, too.

He hadn’t asked yet, but he was dying to know why she wasn’t married—or at least already spoken for.

“I don’t want to bother you while you’re so busy working, but I have a favor to ask, if you don’t mind.” He turned at her words.

Today she wore her usual jeans and a long sleeved white shirt with a Christmas design embroidered on it. Mickey and Minnie Mouse were dressed in vintage Victorian clothes, standing beside an old sleigh. He’d quickly learned Mickey and Minnie were two of her favorite characters. From what he’d already seen, he imagined she had enough shirts—even those decorated for Christmas—with them on it to wear one every day of the month.

“Sure, what can I do for you?” A smile tugged at his lips. He couldn’t help it. Being around her made him happy.

“I’d like to start putting up Christmas decorations, but they’re all up in the attic. And I’m hesitant to go up there. It isn’t the safest place.”

He stood and dusted the sawdust off his knees. “I can use a break. How ‘bout you point me in the right direction and I’ll hand ‘em down to you?”

He placed the ladder beneath the attic access and helped her climb up in front of him, his hands bracing her on both sides. Something within him stirred.

After she’d scoured the attic from the top of the ladder, she pointed toward the right side. “That’s them. Way in the back. You sure you don’t mind going up there?”

He laughed. “Doesn’t bother me at all. And if I’m going to be doing repairs, I’ll be spending a lot of time in the attic.”

Soon the boxes were all down and placed in the living room. Dan knew he should have gone straight back to the remodeling, but the moment seemed bittersweet. It had been a long time since he’d decorated for Christmas. Not since . . .

He shook his head to clear it of the memories. No, not now. This wasn’t the time to think of that. Of them.

© 2010

From the Anthology – Comfort and Joy



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