Our next featured author from the Not #5MinuteFiction holiday contest is Jon Stark. Jon is relatively new to #5MinuteFiction, but hasn’t missed a week since he started (I don’t think). His entries are great because they always cause you to stop and think.
In case you missed it, the prompt Jon was responding to was to write anything about stockings, in any way, shape, or form that felt right to you.
Confusing Christmas Memories
Rose sat on the couch looking at the mantle. There was something she was going to do. Her hands were full and she looked down at them. A green knitted stocking, with red trim, a lone jingle bell, and soft cotton for the beard around Santa’s face. This was her son’s stocking.
There weren’t any other stockings hanging. Near the couch was a box filled with Christmas decorations. She looked around the room. Not too many put up. “I must have been putting it away.” she said.
“What’s that, Dear?” A man’s voice from the kitchen. It was followed by a concerned face peering into the room. “What are you doing?”
She looked at him, about to set the stocking in the box. He looked familiar and, from the tone, she decided that perhaps it wasn’t supposed to be going away. “I’m just putting up the stocking.” she said.
That satisfied him. “Okay, but hurry up. The kids’ll be here soon.” He disappeared back into the kitchen. She walked to the mantle and hung the stocking. Her fingers lingered on the tired threads. She remembered it very well. He’d been 2 the year she made it. But that was a long time ago. Ages past.
She took the stocking down. That Christmas was over. The man from the kitchen startled her. “Why don’t you leave it up a little longer?” She glanced over her shoulder at him. He seemed nice enough — but sad. And she liked the stocking hanging there so she put it back.
The doorbell rang and he went into the foyer to answer it. She looked at the stocking, stretched out from countless toys. The bottom permanently rounded from decades of tangerines in the toes. She’d always had tangerines as a girl. Sometimes that’s all they had but it was enough, always placed carefully by Nana Whitney. She loved the fruit. Furtively, she reached up and squeezed the toe. Nothing yet. But maybe tonight, while they slept?
There were voices in the hallway and she heard someone say, “Grandma!” She smiled. Grandma was here. She worked her way around the couch and into the foyer but stopped short. The old man from the kitchen was there, and a younger man with his wife and two little girls. They seemed happy, but she was disappointed.
“Where’s Grandma?” she asked.