Christmas Pontiac (Part 3)


“Who was inside?” I asked.

“You enjoy rushing things, don’t you?”

“Sorry, please continue.”  I brought Santa a cup of coffee and watched as he shoveled four teaspoons of sugar into it.  He took a sip before adding one more spoonful.

“When I saw the light, I presumed there must be some vagrant on the premises.  So I crept to the window and peered inside.”  He paused and looked at me expectantly, then tilted his head.

“Who was there?”

“Thank you,” he replied with a slight grin.  “It was an old man, sitting on a bed with no sheets.  He listened to Christmas music on the radio while putting a coat of polyurethane on a restored old wardrobe.  Realizing he was no threat, I knocked on the door, startling the man.  He sprang to his feet and peeked out the window, holding his hands around his eyes to get a better look.”  Santa took another sip of coffee and glanced at the fruitcake on the counter.  Noticing this, I offered him some.  After all, I had no intention of eating it as mahogany never appealed to my palate.  He gratefully accepted.  Santa dipped the cake in his coffee and I saw his eyes brighten at the taste.

“Then what happened?”

“Hmm?  Oh yes, the story…The man opened the door and asked who I was.  I told him of our predicament and he graciously invited us inside.  I fetched my wife and daughters who entered the motel room with a slight apprehension.  After all, we knew nothing of this man.”

“Yes, he might be a serial killer or something.”

“Really?  Does that seem the most logical conclusion?”

“Well, no, not really.”  Santa smiled at my backpedaling and took another bite.

“The man told us that he was finally restoring the cabinet for his deceased wife.  I found that most intriguing.  When I asked why he was doing it now, he told me that she rarely asked for anything, but when she did, he often did not act on her wishes.  For years he took her for granted and now that she was gone, his life lacked meaning.  Fulfilling this one wish became his purpose since her passing.  I admired his honesty, though I did not see the point of completing it with her gone.  At least at the time, I didn’t.”

“Yes, she wasn’t there to appreciate it.”

“Precisely.  What was really the point, right?  The man then did a very gracious deed.  He allowed me to borrow his four wheel drive vehicle to drive to the gas station and call for help.”

“Why didn’t he drive you?  That was very trusting.”

“He said he needed to finish the cabinet or it would not be evenly coated.  Therefore he loaned me the truck.  I drove to town with my family, phoned for a tow, and returned with the truck.  When we arrived, the cabinet was finished and the man lay on the bed.  He was dead.”

“Dead?  How did he die?”

“The coroner said it was a massive heart attack– the ‘widow maker,’ if you will.  There was no foul play involved.”

“How sad.”

“I thought that at first, but then it occurred to me that the man lost the one person around whom his life had meaning.  With her gone, he lost his will to live.  Perhaps it was more romantic than sad.”

“I suppose that makes sense.  So, if I may be forward, how does this bring you to our town?”

“My wife died of breast cancer a year ago.  I tried to go on without her, but nothing made sense.  The house was hers.  All of the things I worked for all of my life were for her.  I simply didn’t see the point in continuing without her.”

“But what of your daughters?”

“I was constantly working.  My life was about providing everything except time.  Neither of my daughters feels close to me.  I was the stranger who lived in the home in which they grew up.  No, life loses purpose when we’re alone.  I know that now.”  Hearing this, I grew nervous.  He’d obviously come back to end things.

“You aren’t thinking of doing anything rash, are you?”

(To be continued)

3 responses to this post.

  1. Only one more installment, Jennifer! 🙂


  2. I know .. right Jennifer?… we are all waiting on the edge of our seats…


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