Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Than A Box of Chocolate

A Christmas Story from the Chronicles of Shane Brown

The stuff in the back seat was piled so high he couldn't see out the back window. Several large gift bags and a couple of wrapped boxes had crowded into the tiny space, put there at the order of his mother, who'd purchase presents again with money she didn't have; presents that were going to his ungrateful sister and some stranger's kids, the offspring of his sister's latest flash in the pan romantic interest.

His small car was not meant to carry such a load, he'd practically screamed at his mom, but talking to her was like trying to communicate with one of the hyperactive squirrels that lived in the trees in the front yard of her house. Every time this happened he promised himself that this would be the last time, that never again would he perform this unappreciated errand. But like a bad dream or a crazy ex-girlfriend, it kept returning over and over again.

He told her he wouldn't do it anymore, that this was indeed the VERY LAST TIME, and he almost told her of what his sister had said the last time he'd seen her, which was after Mom had drained her savings account to give his sister $7,000 because she'd given Mom a sob story about being broke, with car repairs and other out-of-control bills sending her into financial ruin. Which was quite funny, as his sister made twice the money he did and had a monthly housing expense (space rent for a paid for mobile home) that was half of what he paid monthly to rent his one bedroom apartment. Yet he had enough for his expenses, even though things were a little tight sometimes.

But, feeling that he would hurt her feelings, he did not tell his mom that when he'd picked up that bag of half used shampoo and conditioner and lotion bottles (because Mom had run out of those items and out of the money to buy them) from his sister for her, that she'd said to him, in the nastiest tone possible, "Tell Mom she's going to have to buy her own shampoo and stuff from now on. I can't afford to support both of us!"

So he was determined not to ever deliver anything from his mom to his sister again. As he drove he glanced back every once in a while at the bags in the back seat. He knew, from what little his mom had said about the contents of the packages, that there were at least two boxes of expensive chocolates among the goodies. If there was one thing he could never resist, it was chocolate, and especially boxed chocolate, even of the cheaper variety, with all the different kinds, each one inviting with its sweet allure, the descriptions luring him in: nut chews and caramels, truffles and coconut creams, raspberry wonders and marshmallow dreams.

He had to stop somewhere before making the delivery to his sister's house. He made his stop, but before he got behind the wheel again, he made a more serious exploration of the bags his mom had prepared and stuffed with presents. There weren't just two boxes of chocolate, there was also a third, a pound heavier than the other two, with even more expensive chocolates inside, and enclosed in a special collectors tin. The tin itself was decorated with the most beautiful Christmas scene he'd ever seen on a mere box of chocolates. He wasn't the most religious person in the world, in fact he wasn't religious at all, and though he normally preferred Santa and his elves to baby Jesus and the wise men when it came to Winter holiday themes, there was something strangely compelling in the picture of the three kings giving gifts to the new born child that was portrayed on the chocolates tin box.

Whatever feeling it evoked was soon forgotten, however, as he contemplated removing all three boxes of candy from the pretty Christmas bags and hiding them in his trunk to keep them for himself. A few chocolates while watching television would sure hit the spot each night, and give him something to look forward to after getting off work and returning to his lonely apartment. He pictured himself having just three or four of the delectable treats at a time, then carefully replacing the lid and returning the precious box to his sock drawer for safe keeping, a hidden treasure trove of chocolate pleasure. And he wouldn't have just one box to keep him happy, but would have two more in reserve. Who knew how long they would last him. Maybe the supply would keep him in chocolate heaven for weeks!

Yes, that's what he would do! His sister was rotten to the core, always had been. She certainly didn't deserve such fine examples of the chocolatier's art. It would be a shame to let three whole boxes of fine chocolate go to waste by letting her get hold of them. He removed them and opened his trunk, shoving the boxes underneath some junk he'd been meaning to throw out (he was always meaning to clean out his trunk, his bedroom, his refrigerator and just about every other space he came into contact with; even the file cabinet by his desk at work was an embarrassing mess).

All the rest of the way to the mobile home park where his sister lived he had troubling doubts about his "theft". Was it really stealing , for crying out loud? But that picture of the little baby Jesus kept haunting him as he drove on through the starry night, another reminder of the story of Bethlehem and the star that those wise men followed.

When he finally arrived at his sister's place he'd had a guilty change of heart. Before he went up to her door with the big Christmas bags he opened his trunk and retrieved the boxes of chocolates and returned them to their original spots in the holiday cornucopia.

His sister greeted him with more pleasantness than he'd seen from her in ages. She looked though all the generousity that their mom had provided and made various appreciative comments. When she came to the candy she asked why there were three boxes. He answered that one was for her, one was for the dude she was now sleeping with, and one was for the kids.

"Do you want one?" she asked him.

"Mom gave them to you and him and the kids, so I'd feel bad if I took one," he replied. And he really meant it! Something had come over him, something he couldn't explain. Was Jesus real after all? Was he now saved and going to heaven?

"She'll never know," his sister said, meaning that their mom would never realize that his sister had given one of the boxes of candy to him. He took it as a sign from God and accepted the chocolates with a happy heart. Jesus was real! His sister had even seemed to change, telling him to be sure to stop by the following week and pick up some presents that she was going to give to all of them.

He took his candy home and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to his savior, Jesus Christ the Lord.

The next few days he spent in bible study and prayer.

The following week he got a text message from his sister: NO PRESENTS. SHORT OF MONEY. DON'T BOTHER STOPPING BY. That was all it said. He went back to reading atheist literature immediately and wished he'd kept all three boxes of candy for himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If the post you are commenting on is more than 30 days old, your comment will have to await approval before being published. Rest assured, however, that as long as it is not spam, it will be published in due time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails