O Holy Night
After Jason disappeared with his Angel, I was given the responsibility of hanging the Christmas lights around the railing of the choir loft.
I forced myself to complete the task before Kitty’s mom could come back and tell me to pick up the pace.
I wiped away my sweat with my sleeves and fought the urge to take off my shirt. I figured that Kitty’s mom wouldn’t be too happy about a naked girl in the place she sang every Sunday.
Kitty climbed up the stairs as I grumbled about my miserable life.
“Time to suit up,” Kitty tossed me my costume and I nearly passed out from just touching the wool.
“Isn’t there something more,” I looked at the light blue sheet in my hands, “Breathable?”
Kitty laughed, “Not unless you want to make your big debut in your birthday suit.”
I tilted my head as I considered the idea which only made Kitty laugh more.
“Just put it on and be ready in five minutes.”
“I don’t even know my lines.”
“You don’t have any.”
I was both relieved and offended. The feeling brought me back to middle school when Greg Ames said I wasn’t his type.
I slung the drab curtain over my shoulder, “Anything else?”
“Yeah,” Kitty patted me on the shoulder, “If you’re planning on killing Jason wait until we’re out of the church.”
I clicked my tongue, “I don’t think I can promise that.”
“Tara,” She said in the same tone of voice as my mother when I used to try and sneak cookie batter out of the bowl.
“She’s nineteen. She’s practically a toddler.”
Kitty snickered, “He’ll get bored of babysitting soon. Just stay cool.”
Stay cool she said as I burned alive.
Kitty pointed me to the bathroom and left me to get dressed in the official garb of a virgin. I stared at myself in the mirror with the tablecloth hanging over me in one big shapeless blob. I definitely looked the part.
I splashed some water on my face and remembered what Kitty said about staying cool, calm, and unhostile. I could pull off a short play and make it back to their house.
I pumped myself up and left the confines of the bathroom only to be bombarded by Kitty’s mom.
She stared at me, “Oh good, I thought I was going to need to add some blush to make you look like you gave birth but I see that Kitty had that covered.”
I managed a weak smile, “Yeah, I’m all set.”
“Fantastic!” She threw up her hands, “Go take your place on stage. The curtain rises in ten!” That would be impossible since the curtain was currently draped around me.
I watched their mom frantically gather the angels together. Except one was missing.
The stage was overly crowded with ceramic animals and hay scattered over the ground. I took a wild guess and found a place to sit by the manger.
Kitty finally joined me in the last few minutes before the play started. She had a fake beard and a pointy hat. She looked more like a wizard than a wise man.
“Don’t laugh,” She shoved me.
I couldn’t help myself, “You can’t push me. I’m pregnant.”
“With a food baby maybe.” I feigned shock.
Just as the lights flicked to let us know that the play was starting, Jason scrambled up to the front of the stage with me. He straightened his robe and only gave me a passing glance.
“What are you doing up here?”
“What do you think?” He ran his hand through his hair, “I’m Joseph.”
I took a deep breath and accepted that it was going to be a long night.
The curtains pulled back and I flashed the best grin I could manage with Jason by my side.
The church choir, including Kitty’s mom, belted out many Christmas Carols while I roasted under the stage lights.
The few lines spoken by the Angels were given to Amber. A rather disheveled looking angel with something running down her leg.
I spent her monologue praying for patience and less volatile visions. You can’t wish for an angel to drop dead. Not in God’s house.
Jason, on the other hand, seemed invested in every word that came out of her mouth and smiled along as she spoke as if she gave birth to the savior.
When she was finished the music kicked up again I was nearing my threshold for Christmas spirit.
Jason made eye contact and leaned over the manger, “My mom said we are supposed to look like we’re talking.”
Of course she did. “Nice weather we’re having.”
“Are you kidding? I’m dying in this heat.”
I glanced between Joseph and the Angel, “I’m sure your roll in the hay didn’t help with that.”
Jason struggled to keep a smile on his face, “That’s none of your business.” He was right but I didn’t care.
“Your cum is running down her leg.”
“So what if it is?”
“Because you’re always a lady.”
“I don’t claim to be an angel.”
Jason scoffed, “Grow up.”
The music stopped and Jason delivered his line with ease. Then it was back to Silent night as we hovered over the baby Jesus.
“You grow up,” I whispered.
“What is that suppose to mean?”
“You know exactly what it means.”
“Okay, You’re fucking a child.”
“She’s nineteen.” I stared at him. “Leave it alone Tara.”
“Why? Because you’ve always been so considerate of my feelings?”
“Is that what this is about?”
“No, it’s about a completely unrelated issue.” My smile said a mother’s love but my eyes said murder over the manger.
Jason shook his head, “I don’t think you have any room to complain about who I choose to date.”
“You mean fuck?” I whispered as a bitter taste formed in my mouth, “Did you at least stay long enough for her to come?”
I scoffed, “You’re ridiculous.”
“I’m ridiculous? You’re the one being jealous after you walked away.”
It took all my strength not to fly off the handle. I gripped my side of the manger. “What?”
“You left. I wanted you and you left. Now you’re acting like I betrayed you for moving on.”
Luckily the chorus was playing loud enough to cover my voice. I forgot how to whisper, I forgot where I was. I just knew Jason had it all wrong.
“You fired me, broke my heart, and then stopped by on the day that I was moving to a different state to say that you wanted to be with me.” The instruments stopped and silence fell over the room.
“I’m sorry that I can’t be chill with this new development for you. If that makes me a bitch than fine but at least I’m not pretending to be a Saint and then fucking a random girl in the ass as soon as possible.”
The church gasped all at once and reality hit me.
Jason didn’t move. He didn’t breath. He only stared at me. I swallowed down the anger in my throat as the curtains covered my shame. When they were finally down the sounds of an angel running off stage were the only thing that could be heard.
Kitty and Jason’s mother stormed down from the loft, “Does someone want to explain what just happened?”
We remained silent.
She looked between us, “Well?”
At least we could agree that there was no good answer.
Their mother whispered a prayer and turned on her heel. No doubt going to assess the damage to her reputation.
Jason glared at me,“What the hell was that?”
“Honesty. Maybe one day you should try it.
Jason set his jaw, “Honestly? I hate that you’re here and I think it’s pathetic that you decided to humiliate Amber like that.”
“I didn’t decide to do anything. Nobody even knew she was the random girl and you’re the one who flaunted her in front of me.”
“Tell me, Is any of the saliva in your mouth actually yours right now?”
Jason’s expression dropped, “I think you need to leave.”
“You think I wouldn’t love that? That I don’t want to be with my family baking Christmas cookies and playing beer pong with eggnog?”
Kitty suddenly decided to participate in the conversation, “I don’t want to interrupt but the curtains aren’t soundproof.”
I shook my head at the stoney expression on his face, “I did not walk out on you. You kicked me out of my home. Alienated me from my friends and showed up only to make me feel bad about giving up.”
Jason opened his mouth to respond but Amber came bounding up the stairs. Her blue eyes glared at me as she approached Jason, “Can we talk?”
He nodded and they ducked out the back to avoid the crowd. I didn’t move for a few minutes. It took Kitty’s relentless convincing and the promise of cookie batter to get me to put on my normal clothes and walk out the front door.