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A Gay Christmas Carol
by Bill W.
Chapter 2 – The First Spirit

Pat was not able to slumber long, for a bright light, which seemed to fill the entire room, awakened him. He tried to shield himself from the blinding glare, but was unable to keep his eyes open for long, when he heard a child-like voice speak. “I shall cover the light of truth, so you might see me,” the voice said, and soon Pat could see the form of a young girl wearing a helmet. He could also tell the brilliance was still trying to escape from under the helmet, but at least now he could make out her features. As he studied her, he noticed she had snow white hair, was dressed in a long, flowing white robe, and she appeared to be no more than eleven or twelve years old. “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past,” she announced. “Rise and walk with me, for your own welfare.”

Fearful, but not courageous enough to disobey the spirit, Pat got up and followed the girl to the nearest window. Without hesitation, she opened the window and held her arm out, before summoning him. “Take hold of my hand and come with me,” she said, soothingly.

Still uncertain as to why he was being so obedient, Pat took her hand and together they passed through the window, emerging in a place vaguely familiar to him. “Do you know where you are?” she asked him.

“It looks different somehow, but isn’t this the house I lived in as a boy?”

“Precisely,” she agreed. ”Come have a closer look.” As they moved forward, walking up to a large window in the front of the house, he peered inside.

“Why, that’s me!” Pat exclaimed, somewhat taken aback by seeing himself as a child. “I remember this. It was my most favorite Christmas of all. It was the last Christmas before my father died, and I shall always cherish that time with him. Look, he’s helping me set up the model train he got me, and it’s down in our basement now. I gave it to my son when he was about the same age I was when I first received it; I was ten that Christmas.”

“Yes, and you love your son, as your father loved you. Don’t you, Pat?” She studied him carefully; as he continued to watch his Christmas extraordinaire, and she could actually read the delight that was registering on his face.

“Oh, yes. That and more, and I hope to always be here for him,” he added, wiping a tear from his eye, as he thought about how much he missed his father. He turned slightly, so he faced away from the Ghost of Christmas Past, as he didn’t want her to see him cry. However, when he turned to look back into the window, the scene had changed, and the boy inside was now a year older.

“What happened, spirit? Can’t we go back? I want to see more of that Christmas and I don’t want to be reminded of this one!” He was not only sad, but he was also upset that his euphoria had now been replaced by great sorrow.

“We must remember and accept the good with the bad, Pat, and this is a part of your life too.” He merely nodded, not able to speak, due to the lump that had formed in his throat. Why did she have to remind him of the loneliness he felt that first Christmas without his father? Why couldn’t she have let him enjoy the happiness of the one before? He was still pondering this, when suddenly he found himself whisked to another place. This time they were standing outside an unfamiliar home, looking in on people he did not know. Not understanding why they were here, he decided to ask.

“Why did you bring me here?” he wondered.

“I want you to see and experience the love and joy other families share at this wonderful time of the year,” she informed him. Accepting her answer, Pat silently gazed through the window and observed a good looking young, blond-haired teenage boy being doted on and spoiled by his parents. He watched as the boy was handed his gifts and eagerly unwrapped them, with all the gusto and excitement he could muster.

“Oh, mom and dad, I can’t believe you bought me this!” the youth exclaimed.

“Well, if you don’t want it,” his father began, “we could always take it back and exchange it for something else.” The father tried to keep a straight face, as he winked at his wife, but it was obvious a smile was beginning to break through his facade.

“No way!” his son shrieked. “You know I’ve wanted this for months and there’s no way you’re getting it away from me now.” The boy lunged forward and wrapped an arm around each of his parents’ necks, giving them a mighty squeeze, before kissing them both on the cheek. “Thank you, so much, and I love you both,” he added.

“And we love you too, son,” his mother responded, and then both of his parents hugged him back, appreciative of his thoughtful display of affection.

Pat turned to look at the spirit, to determine if she was watching him or the images before them, but when he saw her staring through the window, he turned back to discover they were at yet another place. This time there was a young man with ebony hair, seated next a younger girl, who was most likely his sister, as their parents regaled them with a large quantity of gifts. Eagerly the pair ripped open the parcels, so they could discover what was inside, and when they had learned what treat was contained within; they thanked their parents for giving them one more item from their lengthy Christmas list. Once all the presents had been unwrapped, both the boy and the girl walked over to their parents and hugged them about the waist, thanking them and telling them how much they appreciated everything.

Pat’s eyes began to fill with tears again, as he witnessed this spectacle, and he lowered his head to wipe the moisture away with his sleeve. When he looked up again, he was back in front of his own home, looking through the window, at a Christmas four years earlier.

“Oh, Dad,” his son squealed, “I can’t believe you’re giving me your model train.” His ten-year old son was dancing around, overwhelmed with the significance of this present.

“It was a special gift from my father to me, on the last Christmas we were together, and I have always cherished it. Now, I wish to give it to you, and I hope you will cherish it as much as I have.”

“Oh, yes, Dad, I will,” his son promised, as he leapt into his father’s arms and squeezed his neck. “Thank you so much, Dad. I shall always love this and some day I hope to be able to pass it on to my son.”

Pat stood frozen, watching this scene unfold before his eyes and remembering how special he felt at that moment. It was almost as wonderful as the Christmas he had received that present himself. Returning his attention to the spectacle before him, he heard his younger self speak.

“You’re not done yet,” the younger him told his son, while handing him three more packages. Eagerly the young boy accepted the gifts and opened them, delighted with what he found inside. “These are new pieces to add to your set,” the younger Pat advised him, “so it will be even better than before. I hope we can add something each year and we can both enjoy watching it grow.”

“Thank you, Dad,” his son sang out in delight. “This is the best Christmas ever!”

Suddenly the scene began to dim and Pat now discovered he was back at the place they had started. Together, he and the spirit reentered his house, but the moment he let go of her hand, she disappeared. Looking at the clock, he noticed only five minutes had passed; though it seemed they had spent hour upon hour walking together. Feeling weary from this emotional journey, Pat laid back down. Within minutes, he was once again asleep.
. . . . . . . . . .
Based on an original story of the same name by Bill W; Copyright © 2000-2009 by BW, All Rights Reserved; used by permission; modeled after “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens; Click on the following link to go to Bill's great site. http://bwsryc.gayauthors.org/agcc/index.php

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