A Dark and Stormy Night
December 10, 2011
Eviction Notice
December 25, 2011
A Dark and Stormy Night
December 10, 2011
Eviction Notice
December 25, 2011

The Christmas Kiss

A gust of cold winter air made Marcie shiver when she stepped out of Zach’s car.

                “I hope we can finish our shopping before the storm gets here, Zach.”

                Zach nodded and stuffed his hands deeper into his jacket pockets as they walked to the mall entrance. “With this many people at the mall we could be here awhile.”

                Carolers singing the traditional Christmas carols greeted shoppers at the mall entrance. Marcie and Zach joined them catching the Christmas spirit along with all the other gift hunters.

                “Marcie,” Zach said looking at his watch. “Let’s meet back by the tower clock at the escalators in two hours. Call my cell phone if you need me. Okay?” He squeezed her hand. “And don’t forget our bet!”

                “Are you kidding?” she laughed and pinches his arm. “You’re going to be the one who is late and buys me hot chocolate.”

                “We’ll see about that,” he responded, checking his watch again. “Two hours. Don’t be late, or else.”

                They headed in different directions to find the last of their Christmas gifts. Nearly two hours later Marcie had two over-size shopping bags full but her time was up. Hurrying toward the escalator one of the bags slid out of her grasp, spilling the contents in different directions blocking the escalator entrance. Quickly she gathered each box hoping to hide her embarrassment while shoppers ploughed past her, some nearly stepping on several packages while tried to step in between the scattered boxes.

                She took a deep breath and placed the last package back into her bag. A noise nearby caught her attention. What was that? She looked around. Must be the squeaky escalator. She listened again. No, it sounds like crying…maybe a child’s cry. She glanced around while gathering the rest of her presents. She didn’t see any children. Maybe I’m just hearing things. Picking up her bags again she noticed a bushy silk plant next to the escalator was moving. Glancing around the planter Marcie found a little boy huddled between the escalator and planter with his head buried in his hands, and he was crying.

                “Hi,” she said cautiously. “Are you okay or do you need some help?”

                He quickly wiped the tears from his eyes.

                “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,” he said quickly, then raised his head. “I-I,d-don’t know where my mommy and daddy are.”

                “It’ll be okay,” Marie told him. Poor little boy. I remember what it feels like to be lost and not find your parents in a store.

                “What’s your name?” she asked handing him a tissue.

                “Johnny Marshall.”

                “Okay, Johnny Marshall,” she began. “I’m Marcie and when I was about your age, I was in a store and couldn’t find my parents. Can I help you find your mommy and daddy?”

                Johnny nodded while tears still ran down his cheeks.

                Marcie rearranged her bags and took Johnny’s hand as they walked to the Information Booth by the tower clock. She explained the problem to the clerk and over the intercom system the clerk requested that Johnny Marshall’s parents come to the Information Booth immediately.

                Marcie soon saw two adults running towards her. “Mr. and Mrs. Marshall?” she asked when they stopped at the booth.

                “Yes,” they said in unison. Mrs. Marshall added, “We can’t find our son and heard the announcement. Do you know where he is?”

                “Mommy! Daddy!” Johnny yelled as he scrambled out from behind the counter.

                Marcie watched the heartfelt reunion and smiled.

                “Thank you,” Mrs. Marshall said.

                Marcie nodded and smiled trying to hold back her tears.

                She jumped when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around to see Zach.

                “Oh, Zach,” Marcie started but couldn’t say anything else.

                “I know, Marcie,” he responded, hugging her. “I saw the whole thing, and you gave the best gift of all to those parents. I’m very proud of you.” He held her closely. “I think you won our bet, too.”

                She half-laughed and half-cried then felt a big tug on her left hand. She turned to see little Johnny standing next to her.

                “Thank you, Marcie,” he said with a grin that stretched from one ear to the other ear. “I’m glad you helped me find my mommy and daddy.”

                Marcie smiled and nodded at him. Johnny pulled her arm down to his level, reached up and kissed her cheek. Watching him run back to his parents brought tears to Marcie’s eyes again.

                “That’s a Christmas kiss I’ll never forget, Zach,” she said as he squeezed her shoulder.