Between the Christmas Tree and the Door

She sits quietly across the busy room, patiently... expectantly. The look in the girl's eyes begs for an audience, but no one seems to pay her any attention. Hands resting in her lap, one over the other, she maintains her meek presence, while somehow still exuding a steady confidence. Maybe that's why she's alone--she's complex and undefinable. Admirable, yet forgettable. Intimidating in her own contentment. Humble... yet still poised. Surprisingly, though, her willingness to remain seated in such an ostracizing room doesn't translate to pride or duty, but hope. She hopes for love. For acceptance. For the person who will care for her soul.

 

Here, in a room full others, she remains alone, seated on an old burgundy leather couch. She waits there anxiously for him to knock, while gripping tightly to the memory of that promise. Gripping it tightly in bliss. She's unmoved by the murmurs. By the dancing. By the would-be lovers. She's unaware of the gossip. Is there even gossip? She watches the door as though it's her restoration. Her solace in an year of exploitation. A year of abandonment.

 

Her couch is set beside the owner's Christmas tree. Its multicolored lights dance across her face, illuminating her pale complexion, helping it resemble the vibrance of some once-forgotten transcendent stained-glass. Radiant. The seat of isolation she now occupies is not her enemy; it accompanies her. Enhances her. Shows her off... if any took time to notice. Even the aroma of the fern blends harmoniously with her perfume. Like honey. Nonetheless, her allure goes unnoticed by the others.

 

Their sea of conversations are carried on by drunken love, wave after wave, awkwardly crashing into one other. All the while, the room drowns out the girl's presence in a white noise of thoughtlessness. If the room took even just one moment to notice, it would be enthralled. But it doesn't. And it continues to only live half its life because of it.

 

The door, untouched in its frame for over two hours, carries within it the hope of the new. But just as the snow conceals the ground from the heavens just outside of its two inch depth, the door veils the girl from his presence, hiding her behind its wooden mask. Despite the time passed, however, she proves her soul true: the girl finds no fault in the door, nor the room, nor the people... no fault in anything for that matter... and she continues to gaze at the threshold with anxious anticipation in the hopes that soon she'll be the one beheld.

 

Dancing lovers leave the room, while strangers in the kitchen become friends over brandy. A loud obnoxious man in some distant room cackles away at the punchline to his own tired joke, which is lost in the approving roars of his entourage. Children run through the rooms playing hide-and-seek, while one teenage boy awkwardly tries to time his own passing with that of his crush under the mistletoe. Yet, the Christmas tree appears to only shine its beauty on her. Rather... it appears to help shine her beauty. 

Drinks have been had, and all toasts seem to have been made--some far too long and too self serving. The children, yawning, tug at their parents' coattails, begging to go home. The girl, though, ...unmoved. Still hopeful. Her hair is still tightly kept as if she had just arrived. Her makeup soft, serene. Occasionally she runs one of her laced-gloved hands over her collar to reassure herself she was still fashionably in order. Eyes still full of depth. Full of life.

 

Heart full of expectation.

 

The drunkenness must be setting in, because the criticism begins showing itself. The people become numb to their repetitive conversations, their cyclical flirtations, even, in some rare occasions, conscientious about their selfishness. And so they look hungrily to pass the blame. This time she hears the gossip.

 

Lovers look at her in sarcastic pity, turning away quickly so they can burst into silent laughter together. The obnoxious man rolls his eyes in disapproval... and although still in disdain, ogles her greedily, trolling on as he heads to the back of the house that he's "amazed romantics aren't extinct yet."

 

But it is the boy, mainly embarrassed because his crush declined his advance, who venomously calls to the girl. "Prude!" he proclaims, drawing the attention of the more discrete Pharisees. "What a waste of beauty, waiting here for God knows what! It's teases like you that make... umph..." His mother yanks him away by the arm with no concern for the girl, but only embarrassed that he would expose them all.

 

For the first time during the party, the girl breaks her sight from the door. She now looks down at her laced gloves, fingers fidgeting with the embroidery. If the Christmas tree hadn't still been lit, the crowd would easily see the solitary, yet pronounced tear retreating down her blameless cheek.

 

For the first time she sits nervous, now distracted from any promise. She once again feels the old, too familiar memory of her heart's ache. But this memory brings up something new... until then, she had never known that absence could painfully occupy space in her being.

 

Ready to consider the fact that the promise from her love might in fact be a lie, a discarding of her uniqueness, her splendor, her complexity, she begins believing the party's lie--she is simply one dimensional. She is only there to serve. She is for others' happiness. Her happiness is unimportant.

 

The party now tired, with its hopes and delight waning, almost as if it was his cue, the obnoxious man comes back around into the room where the Christmas tree stands. Spotting the girl's tear, his thin lips form what might be passed as a smile. He sits down beside her on the burgundy couch, its cracked leather further ripping. The girl, jostled by his disregarding crash, falls prey, and looks up into his empty eyes. It's clear to her that there's no regard for her state, but she buys the pitch that he cares for her. Although her reality screams a different message, her desire outweighs this, and begins rewriting a new, one. A false one.

 

And she submits. She places her pure white gloved hand into his meaty aggressive mitt. The reality of the compromise hasn't been taken in yet. How could it? She's moving from being sought after like a treasure, to being brashly scooped up and used as a tool. The awareness of such a transition takes days... months even... to realize. This is the obnoxious man's hope. Naivety.

 

As she picks herself up from the couch, the light leaves her face. The obnoxious man proudly marches ahead, knowing his prize will follow.

 

Just as they begin to leave the living room, a knock is heard coming from the front door. She turns--as any sane or polite person would--although having forgotten what she was originally expecting.

 

The door opens, and he stands there. Eyes immediately transfixed on the girl. His dream. Although the crowd has lost its sight, our man can see the the girl's vibrancy and beauty as bright as the sun. He doesn't need artificial light to see that she's the one lighting the room.

 

Unaware that his tool has reclaimed her life, the obnoxious man continues to scurry along,  boasting in his prize unaware. Leaving the party. Leaving the girl.

 

And so she stands facing the door. Head lifting ever so slightly to look our man in his eyes. Her tender eyes meet his caring stare, and he moves toward her.