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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Holiday · #2144130
Rachael's Christmas Eve decision. Word Count: 272
Rachael stared down at the cards spread across the coffee table. She remembered getting up in the middle of the night, the Christmas Eve after her Grandfather died, to find her grandmother playing solitaire at the kitchen table. When she asks, "Granny, what are you doing?" Grandma Sarah would look at Rachael, and reply "Playing cards with the devil." And return to her solitaire game.

Rachael could never understand why Granny Sarah preferred to play solitaire when she had a whole houseful of grandchildren who would gladly have gotten up to keep her company or play cards with her. Now she understood. Ever since Mores' death, their children and grandchildren had not left her alone. Two or three of them were always in the house, making sure she was not left alone, but she could not mourn Mores properly with them around. She could not keep the last promise she made to Mores with them underfoot.

Looking up, from the cards, she stared at the tree. Then she looked at the stockings hanging above the fireplace. For the first time in her adult life, she wished there really was a Santa Claus. She would ask him to take her to Honolulu, where she and Mores had met at the end of the Vietnam War. "Well," she said, getting up. "If Santa can't take me there, I'll take myself."

She went to the fireplace, removed the plane tickets from her son's stocking, and then took Mores' sea coat out of the closet. Removing her purse and car keys from the hooks in the foyer, she left the house locking the door behind her.
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