"Gingerbread and Jane Austen"

October 27, 2008
By Kate Motsinger, Indionapolis, IN

Gingerbread and Jane Austen—
The two “must-haves” for
A lonely Christmas Eve.

Seated beside the apartment window,
Head tilted toward the setting sun
While fingers trace patterns on the frosted panes.

The book propped open on
Two flannel-covered knees—
A modern-girl’s guide to life and love.

Though the plot is well-worn,
The characters unchanging,
And the places traversed a thousand times—

There is a sense of stability in the tale,
An ending that always will be “happily ever after”
With characters, so familiar and predictable.

They are the perfect companions this long winter’s night.
Miss Elizabeth Bennett, always witty and tender
And Mr. Darcy, so pensive and loyal.

Though only type on paper,
Bound by indifferent leather,
Their story ignites the hearts of women.

An open flame by which to warm the spirits—
To chase away the rime that settles
In the caverns of a woman’s soul during these bleak months.

Outside, the moon makes her way to the top of the heavens,
The stars, eager to welcome the King,
Don their best diamonds as the navy veil descends over earth.

In the center of the city,
A Christmas tree is lit with ten thousand twinkling bulbs.
And somewhere, a choir of children sings sweet carols.

Raising the gingerbread to holly lips,
She bites down, savoring the exotic spices.
A clock begins to count the hour.

Just two more until Santa Claus arrives
With gifts for all the good little girls and boys
Who dream of tangible things.

Snatching a pad of paper off the coffee table
She hastily scribbles a note,
Parting the piece from its fellows with an elegant flourish

And jams her plate into the protesting dishwasher.
Carefully, she perches the note atop

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