Unconventional Eve

July 24, 2008
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“I just don’t think its right,” Mel huffed, pushing her way past the empty seats that dressed the theater. Her friend Rose’s over-sized purse, which sat perched upon the brunette’s thin shoulder
waiting to save the day for most any possible problem, swung in its usual pattern. Squeak, nudge,
slap, and repeat. This, on top of the many strains and mishaps that had forced Melanie into this
situation in the first place, were pushing upon every one of her buttons. Wasn’t it enough that her
family had kicked her out of the house due to her sister needing some ‘quiet time’ after her latest
tantrum, but now she had to spend Christmas Eve with her best friend at the movie theater. Most
fourteen year-olds would take that as an early present, wrapped beautifully and topped with a
bow, yet Melanie craved family time. It was such a rare thing to come upon, ever since her sister, Adelaide, had been sent to live in a special home for the mentally ill. Holidays and vacations were the only time when she was allowed home, and even then there had to be certain restrictions, such as Mel leaving at the first sight of trouble.


“Oh, get a grip on yourself. It's just Christmas Eve, not the sacred day of Santa and is elves,” Rose rolled her eyes.


Melanie stared daggers into her friends back, having gone through one to many religious fights. Though Rose was technically Jewish, she proffered the title of Atheist and bashed all religions equally. To her a higher power was simply unrealistic and unnatural. After all, the horrors of the world seemed never ending, and if there was a savior of sorts then wouldn't they be gone? Mel on the other hand believed in the good of all people, and spent most of her Sundays praying at church and volunteering as a CFF (Catholic Family Formation) assistant teacher.


Truthfully things hadn't always been that way. Melanie stumbled upon religion as a crutch, only a few years back. It was just about the time when Addy was first taken away, due to a number of violent outburst that never ended well, and sent the town into overdrive. In a small place like Hutchinson, Maine even the tinniest thing could burst like wildfire into the life of the town. In this case, the event was so large that gossip was not enough. This required sign up dinner schedules, many play dates of pity, and the community of St. Mary the Holy Mother to take Mel as their task sent from the Lord. The old, withering church ladies took turns bringing Melanie to mass, dressing her up as their pretty little dolls, and occasionally taking her out for brunch afterwards. Soon she had adopted a group of Grammies, all of whom would have seen to a more spiritual night, if they didn't have families of their own to tend to. Which left Melanie to Rose's care, and landed her straight in the rickety, fixer-up theater in which the girls frequently appeared.


“Score! Our seats are wide open,” Rose squealed as if it was a huge surprise, when in fact the two were alone in the theater. Hutchinson's Cinema was nothing in comparison to it's neighboring theater, which lived hectically in the town over. Melanie and Rose seemed to be the only ones who favored the older of the two places, loving the eccentric collection of movies and the homey feel of it all. On most trips the girls were accompanied by at least a family or two, sometimes even an awkward first date couple, but tonight it was void of other existence. Just the two odd, mismatched souls left to the broken-down room.


“You know Rosie, we could have at least gone to see a holiday film,” Mel frowned, and joined her friend. “I mean, where is the spirit of Christmas here?” she questioned.


“There's a nice wreath on the door, which if you ask me is over doing it. Do you realize that people always have some sort of Christmas decoration, yet ignore all other holidays? Personally, I think if they can leave out some they can leave out all,” Rose sighed, twisting about in her seat to find a comfortable position.


“Whatever, Scrooge,” Melanie took a handful of popcorn and stuffed it into her mouth.


“Scrooge? I like to think of myself as the pretty, little elf fairy, out to make holidays happier,”
Rose smiled sarcastically. “Anyway, if you want the spirit you'll have to use your imagination. Think of the rows of seats as those pew things, the screen as an alter, and hey, our movie could even be considered the nativity,” Rose's comment was met with yet another glare.


“The nativity? You are so going to burn in hell,” Melanie shook her head, as if to add 'I'm very disappointed in you'. Juno, the movie they were about to see, was in no way the birth of Jesus. Though it was about a teenage pregnancy, the child was not the son of God, and an immaculate conception did not bring the situation upon the characters.


“I prefer it when you tell me that I'll be struck by lightening. It just sounds so unique, and it
would totally make a great story,” Rose smirked.


“Fine. God will strike you down,” Mel changed the punishment. “Happy now?”


“Yep, I feel all warm and fuzzy,” Rose put her hand over her heart. “It's just I've never felt so
loved in all my life,” she mock sobbed.


“Evil. You are completely and totally evil,” Melanie playfully swatted at her best friend.


“Love, love, love,” Rose continued, and began fighting back. She grabbed for the popcorn, a bag full of tiny soft weapons.


“Unfair,” Mel giggled as she ducked the snack food that was flying in her direction. “Oh, it's war now,” she informed her friend while pulling a greasy, yellow piece out of her hair.


“I can take a challenge,” Rose raised up her hands, now in her 'tickle-pounce' stance. Whenever the friends were play-fighting Rose would always use her secret weapon, one to fully ensure a win. The 'laugh your pants off' tickle.


“No, I'm waving the white flag,” Melanie laughed hysterically, curling into a ball for protection.


“Nothing can stop me now,” Rose depended her voice and attacked.


Suddenly the theater's door swung open, revealing the rather annoyed owner. “Girls, are you trying to get kicked out... again,” George had his usual frown plastered to his face.


“No,” they answered in unison, slouching back in their chairs. George, with his portly presence and rough manner was practically the only person known to have scared the pair. After having dealt with them for years it was clear that treating the two as one usually would treat a customer would not alter their choice of theater, and therefore was not necessary. What was indeed needed was to keep them in shape, for chatting girls don't draw in moviegoers. This forced him into a number of fights with the two, and occasionally made him throw them out of the theater.


“Clean that mess up,” he warned, and waddled out of the room, his shaggy pepper hair bouncing slightly behind him.


“At least it wasn't as bad as last time,” Rose whispered, not wanting to make another scene. It was as if simply talking might summon him, yet when it came to George it seemed anything was possible.


Melanie and Rose had suspected him of having magical powers as little girls. In a plan gone awry the two had poured a bucket of water over his head, believing he would melt. When they found a rather whole and sopping man in front of them it became apparent that he in fact was not a wizard. So they made there apologies in as best a way as six year-olds could. Through their mothers. After that George tended to cringe at the sight of the young ladies, which strengthened the appeal of the theater for them. Pushing him towards his breaking point made for great amusement, that is until he went over the edge. On this particular night George seemed stuck in a rather bad mood, the holiday spirit bringing him down and keeping him safe from further torture.


A loud obnoxious bring sounded through the air as the movie began. Melanie padded her jacket down in search of her cell phone, which was hiding happily. As soon as it was in her hand she checked to see who was calling. The small screen read mom. “Is something wrong,” Mel asked, knowing that her mother would not interrupt a movie just for fun.


“We're fine sweetie, no one's hurt, but...” her mothers final word struck Melanie like a sharp blow. It was about Addy. It was always about Addy. Melanie stared blankly at the movie screen as her mother announced that an ambulance had just arrived to take Adelaide to the hospital, and that they would probably be there for a while. “Honey, I'm so sorry that this happened, especially now. We'll just have to postpone Christmas,” her mother told her, voice weak and tired.


Melanie just sat their, speechless, the world around her melting away. She didn't even realize
when Rose grabbed the phone and replaced it with her hand.


“Hi Mrs. Hill, Mel can sleep at my house tonight,” she paused listening, then continued, “Yes,
it's no trouble.” Rose said goodbye to her friends mother, and snapped the phone shut. “We'll do all those Christmas things you love tonight. Like, uh... bake cookies for Santa. Oh, and wrap presents,” she brainstormed. “I'll make sure you have a great Christmas,” Rose smiled, and squeezed her best friends hand.


Melanie wasn't sure what should surprise her more. Addy being taken to the hospital, or Rose
looking past her hatred for all things holy to save Christmas. “Thanks, but why would you want to? You hate the holidays,” she reminded her friend.


“Silly, that's what friends are for,” Rose stated simply, and left the two in silence for the
remainder of the film.





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SUZANNE said...
Aug. 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm
What a beautifully written story. You have such a gift for descriptive detail in your writing. I look forward to reading more :)
 
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