Judith's Christmas

January 10, 2008
By Jessica Malekos-Smith, Burlingame, CA

“Hey Ma!” “Open up the Godd*** door, it’s ya son, Steve!” Judith Garrison snatched up her wooden cane and painfully crept up to the window sill, careful not to disturb the curtain and give away her position. As she frantically searched for her spectacles inside of her robe pockets, she could’ve sworn she had heard the sound of a pistol being cocked. Casting a furtive glance out the window, she recognized her ruffian son and his newest disgusting girlfriend. Judith wrapped herself up tighter in her robe and silently prayed as she prepared to open up her door. After taking a moment to compose herself, she slightly cracked open the door.

“Whatsa matter with ya?” “ I almost took a leak right here on ya front door step!” “Step aside and lemme use the can,” bellowed Steve.

“Just use the bathroom and leave,” squeaked Judith. Her son and the tramp pushed the frail women aside and made a beeline for the bathroom out back. Judith had a dysfunctional relationship with her only son Steve, to say the least. He lived out of a dilapidated trailer parked in front of her house with a different woman each month. She was terrified of her alcoholic, drug peddling, abusive son, and feared that if he stayed the night in her home, he would surely murder her to collect the inheritance. In order to prevent this, she refused him lodging in her miniscule home but permitted him to use her restroom out of guilt. Once they had left, Judith began to breathe easier and hobbled into the kitchen to prepare her morning coffee and cereal. As the aroma of the rich, bitter coffee beans permeated through the air, she turned her television set on to watch the news. “Merry Christmas,” exclaimed the news anchors as they began their broadcast.
“ Is today Christmas, thought Judith? How lonesome and miserable she felt at that moment. There was not a soul in the world that she had to spend the holiday with. Her husband had died of lung cancer years ago and her lousy son wanted nothing to do with her (except to use her bathroom from time to time and wait for her to die to inherit the estate). She gingerly ran her withered hands through her hoary hair as the tears began to sting her hazel eyes and gradually plop into her cereal bowl. “What a terrible existence to lead,” she lamented, I feel so isolated and so…alone….. Seized by an sudden irrepressible impulse to escape life’s problems, she stumbled over to her medicine cabinet and began to measure out an overdose of her pain medication to commit suicide. As she arched her head back and prepared to place them into her mouth, the telephone sounded, as if in warning. Placing the pills back on the counter, she picked up the telephone with her good arm and shyly croaked, “hello?”

“Judith!” squealed the voice on the other line. “Merry Christmas my dear, this is Neola Smith from next door. I was wondering if you would be available to come celebrate Christmas at our home tonight at 6:00? We would love to have your company and I’d hate to see all this lovely food go to waste.” Judith immediately agreed to join them and all thoughts of suicide had utterly vanished. She was able to face the day with a new, reenergized spirit and found herself smiling and humming throughout the day. Dressing in her finest evening wear, she slipped on a shimmering ruby gown that made her appear to be less grotesquely corpulent. She even curled her hair in ringlets and painted her long, yellow nails, scraletto match her gown.

Judith was delighted to spend Christmas with the Smith’s and had not eaten so well in years. Feeling in a festive mood, she decided to have a few drinks of Champagne and wine. What she had not anticipated was that her long history of alcoholism would catch up with her that evening. A drink turned to three , three grew to five, and five increased to seven. She was well liquored up by the end of the evening and it had led her to accidentally consume the triple cheese bean dip. Now, Judith was lactose intolerant and if she consumed milk products it led to a horrid case of flatulency. As the other guests around her began to politely drop hints, she became pugnacious and it was overt that the liquor had taken its toll on her. When it came time to sing Christmas carols around the piano, she was overcome with thoughts of depression. As she listened to their angelic voices and saw them smiling and embracing one another, she began to envy them. She felt life had dealt her a cruel hand and wished her husband was still living. As Judith felt tears come to her eyes, she dug her fingernails into the palm of her hand to prevent herself from crying and ruining this joyous moment for the family. As memories s of her own family began to plague her, she found the thoughts of suicide returning even more powerfully than before. Silently like a assailant, she slipped out the front door of the house and traveled back home. It was a terrible mistake to have gone she thought, as she struggled to steady her trembling hands and unscrew the lid of her medicine container. Her frail hands would not stop shaking and could not cooperate and remove the lid of the container. “Ding, dong, ding!” -it was the doorbell. She glanced out the window and saw the two eldest children of the Smith family at her front door. Glancing frantically around the kitchen, the ominous gleam of the butcher knife caught her attention and she grabbed it in a panic to force open the lid. In her desperation to open it, she inadvertently sliced her arm and let out a ear piercing banshee scream. The front door was kicked in and the two son’s rushed into the home to see if Mrs.Garrison was alright. They saw her bleeding profusely with the blood stained knife in her hand and deduced that she had attempted suicide.

“Go away!” screamed Judith as she grabbed the sliced pill container and began to pour the contents of it into her mouth and chew wildly.
“Ms. Garrison, it’s alright we can help you, just put the knife down,” pleaded the eldest son. Judith could hardly comprehend what they were saying for the gash in her arm was throbbing painfully and blood rapidly flowed from the wound and stained her white tile floor.

“I… I ….,”stammered Judith. She could hardly formulate a sentence! As she gripped the knife tighter and began to step back, she slipped on her own pool of blood and skewered herself in the chest as she landed on the floor with a sickening thud.

That was Judith Garrison’s last Christmas.

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