Stocking Stuffers by Jan Priddy
December 22, 2014 § 2 Comments
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, because we’re still running essays from Brevity‘s Holiday Smile contest:
Their voices rise and fall, the deep words, the higher laughter. Our younger son, Ian, speaks a role in words I can’t understand, but in tones I know are meant to be funny. Alan laughs. This goes on for hours, this game. They are home from college in different states. They have missed each other and their collaboration while playing video games.
I listen hard to the faint creaks and groans of our house, the chatter of the boys huddled over a console in Alan’s room beneath us. The cat purrs beneath the comforter like a tin rattle at my knee.
Eventually their voices lower, Alan’s door opens, bare feet thud from bedrooms to bathroom, and their doors clip closed for the night. Gary breathes softly and I try to time my breath to his, in and out, but our lungs do not match so I huddle down lower to warm my shoulders. Gary ruffles a breath in and out of his chest. “What time is it?” he mumbles. Not yet, I tell him.
But soon, I think. We will crawl out of bed and stuff felt stockings with colored pencils that smell like waxy crayons and clackers shaped like alligators, sparkly rings, tiny oranges, and chocolates with chunks of ginger. They will laugh at the trinkets, roll their eyes, and they play with them as if they were still nine and eleven. The cat will have a catnip sock and roll on the floor in another ecstasy of purring. But that comes later. My sons are home asleep in their rooms, and all is right with the world.
Jan Priddy‘s work has earned an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship, Arts & Letters fellowship, Soapstone residency, Pushcart nomination, and publication injournals such as The MacGuffin, CALYX, Work Magazine, Raven Chronicles, Ink Filled Page, The Humanist, and North American Review. An MFA graduate from Pacific University, she lives and teaches in the NW corner of her home state of Oregon, and blogs at Quiet Minds.
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