Over the next 12 days, I’m going to post paragraphs of my short story, The Miracle Man. The setting is a retirement home at Christmas and the characters deal with love, joy and the possibility of miracles.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
The Miracle Man
Wendell Bennett shuffles down the north wing of Villa Velencia clutching the aluminum handrail—his lifeline to The Commons—with knuckles throbbing with arthritis.
Slippers slide over the tiles, the whoosh-whoosh sound echoing with the Christmas music piped through the building. His gray eyes are like dried water holes on a once great plain.
The image of his son handing him the brochure for Villa Velencia, five years ago, is still vivid. The pamphlet is eye-catching, professionally done; no expense spared. Even the slogan, done with a calligraphy font, is inviting: “A progressive retirement villa.”
A villa, he reflects. More like a compound. Damn place always smells like chicken noodle soup!
He studies the painting on the opposite wall: an impressionistic piece in the style of Renoir. He shakes his head at the cheap imitation as “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” rains down from of the overhead speaker.
The melody carries him back home. It’s A Wonderful Life is on TV. Christmas lights glow on the tree; the pine scent foretells of joy yet to come.
His son—too excited for Santa’s arrival—is playing upstairs. Ellen is in the kitchen sautéing onions. He sneaks up behind her and wraps his arms around her. She melts into his embrace.
Wendell shakes off the daydream. Warmth courses his veins as if he downed a jig of whisky. Gray eyes mist and he leans on the railing with all of his weight, desperate to capture the memories like fireflies and store them in a jar to admire at his choosing. But the song fades, the spell is broken, and they flutter away.
He strains forward and continues down the hall.