“Flurries before Thanksgiving, Global Warming? Really?” Molly asked to no one in particular seeing that she was alone in her car. She was headed to the mall to return some shoes two weeks before what she thought would be the kick off of the dreaded holiday season, Black Friday.
Dreaded because to say this year was going to be rough was an understatement. For the last decade every year it seemed brought either drama or tragedy. First there was her dad’s death, two years later her divorce, “ How can someone just walk out on twenty-two years of marriage?” she often pined. Then two years later her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Two years later her mom fell down the steps and never regained consciousness. Molly didn’t even get chance to say goodbye or I love you or to make-up with her from a horrible fight they had a couple of weeks before.
Then there was last year. Just thinking of it made Molly nauseous. Rebecca was the only child Jake and Molly had. She and Molly were best friends. When Jake walked out of their lives they became like sisters. They shared almost everything together, even clothes. Rebecca was a good kid, no, more than a good kid, she was a great daughter and an amazing friend to her mother. Why had she let her go to the beach that weekend with her friends, Molly thought. She could never forgive herself. She wished she had persuaded her 20 year old to stay at home, but she didn’t, in reality she couldn’t.
As Molly’s car circled the parking lot looking for a spot, she thought of all the times her and her daughter had come here and how much fun they had together. They had made this trip together so many times. When she looked to her right to the passenger seat she half expected to see Rebecca there. But she wasn’t. The seat had been empty for over a year. It all was still so painful.
Fifteen months ago a sunny August morning had turned into a parents’ worst nightmare. Words like accident, drunk driver, crossing into her lane, and coma were things you heard on television or read about online. That day they were part of a conversation from a Jersey State Trooper on her cell phone. By the time she got to the hospital it was too late. Rebecca never woke up and Molly never got to say goodbye or I love you or anything else.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go”. The words to the song jolted Molly into the reality of the season as she entered the 2nd floor of Macy’s through the automatic doors. It was like she had been sucker punched in the stomach. Now she really felt like she might vomit. She turned on her heels and hurried back to her car. She couldn’t do this. Not now.
Back in her car she took a few deep breaths and regrouped. She turned on the radio to hear some soothing music from the Christian Contemporary station she had taken comfort in over the last few months. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” were the first words seemly blaring out of the speakers. “No It is Not!!!!” she shouted. “IT’S THE WORST, THE VERY WORST!!!”. With that she pounded the off button on the radio, dropped her head on her steering wheel and wept like she had so often wept in the previous months. She knew now what she wished she didn’t have to know. Last year she was numb and in shock. This year would be different. This year she would be fully awake and the wound in her heart would be ripped wide open by the “joys of the season”.
Back at her two bedroom apartment she longed to be close to Rebecca again, to connect with her, to enjoy another memory together. Her friends had done their best to console her but had failed miserably. There was no consolation to be had. People at work had told her that her faith would get her through. That was almost funny. She had no faith. She had lost so much so quickly… her dad, her marriage, her mom, and her only child. Somewhere in the mix she had also lost her faith. She didn’t, check that, couldn’t, believe in anything.
She had left Rebecca’s room almost as Rebecca had left it when she went to the beach a little over a year ago. She could barely make herself go in there. Today she needed to reconnect with the memory of her daughter so she forced herself to go in and to sit on the bed. For an hour, all she could do was bury her head in Rebecca’s pillow and smell the lingering scent of her lilac perfume. She had long since given up on prayer. All she could do was cry…..again.
When she finally picked up her head, something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. It was peeking out of the closet from a basket stored there. It was two steel needles, knitting needles to be exact. Leaving the bed she picked them up. “What are these doing here?” she thought. They seemed out of place. “Rebecca didn’t knit did she?” Molly wondered out loud. Molly’s mom had taught her but Molly had no memory of teaching her daughter. Below the needles still attached was a project that was already started. A couple or three white rows had been put together. After them were five or six rows of green with a half ball of unused yarn still attached to one of the needles. She picked it up and began to add rows to the project. “Knit one pearl, two” she heard herself saying.
Handling something that Rebecca had touched; working on something Rebecca had worked on made Molly feel close to her daughter. It wasn’t a mystical thing, just a deep feeling that for a few moments as she knit, she and Rebecca were together again.
By now the flurries had morphed into a snow shower……