ALMOST FOREVER: a Christmas Story

by Kenneth Harper Finton ©2014



It was Christmas Eve.

Sarah was alone in her apartment.

Fred had left a week ago.

The holiday season had all the ingredients of a miserable experience.

Sarah has just turned forty-five.

She felt that her life has been spent giving a lot and not getting much back.

She wondered if that was her own fault.

“Am I deluding myself?” she asked. “Have I really given enough?”

Fred had told her she was arrogant just before he walked out the door. “You always think that you’re better than me,” he had said.

She had been accused of arrogance before Fred was around. Roger, her lover and dance director had complained of her air of superiority. She recognized there might be some truth to it.

However, the difference between arrogance and truth is often a fine line that depends on the delivery of the message.

Sarah had always known that she has much to relate and much to give. She had thoughts that ran deep–more than the average person wants to talk about. Most of her life she felt alone, even in a room filled with people.

She needs a real listener, but good listeners are all too few.

It has been a lifelong battle, this seeking for a real listener. It is a battle that she fought daily, yearly… almost forever.

Sarah was not the lovely young sexy thing that she used to be. Her youth had passed away, yet the essence of her still lived in spirit. Her maiden looks might have run away, but she was not truly bothered with this. What she now has–the experience and the wisdom–seems better to her than the ability to lead a young man around with the sexy sway of her hips as she could do in the past.

Would it not be for creaky joints and spots of aging on her thickened bark–would it not be for shortened breath and shorter days, she would feel but twenty.

Yet, for Sarah, twenty had been a horrid age where doubt and inexperience blended in a soupy pot of lust and indecision. It was a time of looking to others for direction, looking for companionship. Sarah was always looking to the outside for the answers, but now she realizes that answers most often lay within.

She had asked herself important questions for decades. She was beginning to realize that questions often have always had the answers written into them. The answers are simply the questions in reverse. By simply turning around the question, the answer became clear.

She had asked herself, “Who am I, really.”

The answer was, “Really, I am who.”

The question then became, then who is ‘who’?

It began to feel like an Abbot and Costello routine.

‘What’ is on first base, ‘when’ is on second and ‘who’ is on third.

She laughed at the thought.

She knew that to “I am who,” she must add “I am who… I want to be.”

If only she were what she wanted to be. She was not even certain what she wanted. The choice was too large and narrowing it down proved too difficult.

She had been a ballerina until she tore the cartilage in her knee.

Then she had teamed up with Fred and spent fifteen years waiting on his every whim and fancy.

At least it seemed that way.

Fred has been kind. He supported her writing and her reading habits.

But she was not what she wanted to be. She was used to having Fred around and his leaving had disrupted her life.

She wrote poetry and kept a journal of her thoughts and observations, but she had not done much to earn a living from wages in all her forty-five years.

It came back to bite her.

She regretted not moving on into a self-sufficient life. She regretted her dependencies, first upon her father, then upon her director lover, and then upon Fred after that terrible fall.

Sarah took to the Internet like Monarch to milkweed.

The people she knew locally, she knew only in passing—so she was prepared for the superficiality of the friends she could make online. They did not have to know all the details of her life. They were more interested in how she felt than her next door neighbor or even Fred.

She could pour out her life online and still omit the parts she did not want anyone to see. There was both communion and confession online while still presenting only the face she wanted to portray.

Technology made her feel more alone. It gave her voice, but the voice went out to strangers that she cannot see and feel.

Regardless, she persisted in this miasma.

Gradually, she grew used to the odors of indifference that surrounded her.

Sarah convinced herself that this is not her personal problem, but a sign of the times.

“People today are not as receptive and they used to be,” she thought.

Sarah knew that she really needed flesh and blood people in her life.

Someone to talk to on long drives to nowhere.

Someone to laugh with her when a comedian said something witty on television.

Someone to love beside herself.

Her emotional life had reached a dead-end.

She could not bear it for a moment longer.

The nature of matter is to unite after pressure—so, sure enough, the phone rang at that very moment.

It was Fred.

“I miss you, Sarah,” he said. “I took you for granted and I miss you very much.”

Sarah smiled to herself.

She could see a pass opening in the mental mountain that seemed impassable a moment before.

“I miss you too, Fred,” she whispered.

“It’s Christmas Eve,” Fred said. “Do you feel like I do tonight?”

She did not need to ask him how he felt. She could tell by the sound of his voice.

“Yes…  yes…  I do,” she stuttered.

“Can I come over?”

“I would love that,” she smiled, feeling twenty in her bones.

“Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas.”

“See you soon.”



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