Hello everyone! I've got a special Christmas story for you this week. The Frank saga will continue on next week, but for now, I give you "G. R. Inch".
"Geoffrey Russell Inch!" came a shrill voice.
'Oh jeez,' Jeff thought to himself. He looked around the mall food court. Seeing that no one was paying any attention, he turned to see his mother storming her way across the food court heading in his direction. He turned back to his lunch and rolled his eyes. 'She's so dramatic,' he thought.
Jeff took a bite out of his sandwich as he waited for his mother to get to his table. A moment later she was standing across the table from him. "Why don't you sit down, Mom?"
"I'm too angry to sit down!" she blurted out. Jeff noticed that some people looked over when she yelled and his mother must have too because she blushed and quickly sat. "Why didn't you tell me your wife kicked you out of your house?"
Jeff sighed. He wanted to say, 'Because I didn't want to.' Instead he said, "I didn't want to worry you."
"What happened?" his mother asked. Her tone was serious and showed that she wasn't going to give up that easily.
Sighing again, Jeff replied, "Oh, I don't know. We've been fighting a lot since Thanksgiving."
Jeff and his mother stared at each other for a long time before she asked, "And why is that?"
Jeff hesitated. When his mother motioned impatiently he rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, I don't know. She keeps saying that she doesn't like my attitude or something like that."
His mother stared fiercely at him and said, "I don't like your attitude."
"Oh, come on, Mom. My wife just kicked me out. I think that I'm entitled to a bad attitude now," Jeff growled. "Anyways, it was about my attitude towards Christmas, not anything else."
For the first time in the conversation his mother's gruff exterior changed, into a confused one. "You have an attitude towards Christmas?"
"Yes, I do. I'm almost thirty. Christmas used to be an awesome holiday that you got to spend with all of your family. Now it's a commercialized event devoid of any of the meaning that the holiday used to have," he paused for effect. "I work in a mall. I see the fools here at three in the morning the day after Thanksgiving throwing their money away on crap and it sickens me. I can't stand it anymore."
Jeff's mother stared at him blankly for a few moments. Finally, she said, "Your wife is right, your attitude sucks!"
As she got up, Jeff said, "Great. Have a good day, Mom."
She paused next to him as she was walking by and said quietly, "If you think that is all that Christmas is about, I feel sorry for you. You need to try to remember the real meaning of Christmas." Without another word, she kept on walking.
'The real meaning of Christmas...' Jeff thought, 'what the hell does that mean?'
Jeff picked up his lunch tray and headed back to work. After a few hours of work he left and headed back to the hotel he was staying in. "Merry Christmas," the clerk said to him as he passed by the front desk. Jeff ignored the teenager there and kept walking. When Jeff got to his room, he sat at the table, sighed heavily and booted up his computer. As he waited, he got up and went to the bathroom. When he returned he saw a Skype message from his wife. It said, "Your daughter wants to talk to you."
Jeff got a little smile on his face as he hit the "video call" button. A moment later he saw his daughter's smiling face on his computer. "Daddy!"
"Hi, Ashley! It's good to see you."
"I miss you Daddy. When are you coming home?" Ashley asked.
Jeff's heart sank. He hated disappointing his daughter. "I'm not sure honey. Mommy and I need to talk together to figure that out."
Ashley seemed to accept that. She said, "It's Christmas tomorrow, Daddy. I have a present I made for you. Do you want to see it?"
Jeff laughed and had to suppress tears from his eyes as he said, "No, honey. Let's save it for Christmas." As he finished that sentence something clicked in his mind. He said, "I need to talk to Mommy, can you get her?"
Ashley ran off the screen and a few moments later his wife's image replaced her. "What is it, Jeff?"
Jeff repressed a sigh and said, "I think I get it now, Amber."
Amber appeared irritated, sighed and asked, "Get what?"
"The meaning of Christmas," he paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. "You've been right. I have had a terrible attitude. I can't believe that I didn't see it before. While I do still think that Christmas is over-commercialized, it doesn't matter. All that matters is the majesty of the holiday and sharing that majesty with others. Especially our children."
Jeff waited patiently for Amber to respond. After a few moments, she said, "Alright, Jeff. You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?"
Jeff was confused, so he asked, "What do you mean?"
Amber, a slight smile on her face, said, "You have a couple of hours to get a couple of more presents for your family before the stores close. After that, you can come home and we'll all spend Christmas together."
Jeff almost leapt out of his chair that moment. With a big smile on his face he said, "I'll see you in a few hours!"
Then, he did leap out of his chair and began throwing his belongings into the two suitcases that he had been living out of for the past week. He walked up to the front desk and told the kid there that he was checking out. As he was leaving he paused to say, "Merry Christmas!"