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Moonlight Magnolia

by Sara Harricharan  
2/13/2008 / Short Stories

It snowed when Mom died. I wish she could've seen it.

She loved snow. The pretty whiteness everywhere like a magical fairy blanket.

I always thought she was silly for saying things like that. Now I'm the one that will be sitting under the magnolia tree at midnight, to make a wish under the moonlight.

When it snowed, she'd bundle me up with a thermos of hot chocolate and we'd run outside in the snow to sit under the tree.

It was always dry and sometimes we'd carry some coals from the woodstove in a bucket to keep warm, or we'd wrap ourselves in giant blankets and huddle close together.

I wish I could say those were fond memories.

Now I see them for what they were. Missed moments with mother. I was too rebellious to see what it cost her to give me such simple pleasures.

I couldn't wait to get away from her, from home, from everything. I thought my life would improve.

I never knew my mother until I left her.

Now I see her in a new light. She must have known what would happen when I left, that's why she never lost touch.

Care packages came every week, packets of hot chocolate, snapshots of magnolia trees, fuzzy socks and new pencils.

She knew all my favorites. I never knew hers. Except for the snow.

I feel like a stranger, visting your graveside every month. I have nothing new to say and only more to regret.

When the packages stopped coming, then I missed them. Then I missed her.

I thought it was a punishment, for never saying 'thank you'. I thought that she'd finally had it.

Until the phone call.

When it came, I wasn't ready. A lifetime of preparation would never have made me ready.

The man on the other end said she was dead. They'd found her under the magnolia tree, wrapped in a blanket, drinking hot chocolate.

They don't know what happened. But that she'd had some sort of attack and though your face was serene and peaceful, her heart had stopped.

She was baking cookies to send for me. But the house burned down. I lost every whisper of her to the ashes.

The firemen didn't find her under the tree until later. They said you were wrapped in my blue quilt.

It's the only thing I have left, besides school books.

The snow is piling up.

I'd better get my boots and coat. The water is heating on the stove. I've saved three of the packets of hot chocolate. Today I'll use them.

Hat, scarf, gloves and boots. I think I have everything. Except my quilt. Can't forget that.

When everything is safely packed into my car, I get in and begin driving.

Somehow I keep thinking if I turn real quick, I'll see your smile as you're sitting in the seat next to me.

But it's empty.

Always emtpy.

I wish I could've given you one ride in my car. At least one.

There's the driveway. I guess the ride wasn't as long as it seemed.

I stumble from the car to the magnolia tree and wrap the blanket in a nest, the way I remember.

Once I am nestled inside, the hot chocolate is sipped as I watch the snow fall. I can hardly see the flakes, it is so dark outside.

Someday if I have a little girl.

I'll bring her here to watch the snow with me.

It's getting colder, but the moonlight is finally showing.

Just a few more minutes and it will reach this tree.

The pale light filters through thick leaves and I see her face on every ray. I want to cry frozen tears, but my lips are moving.

I wish I could tell you, mother, how much I really love you.

Sara Harricharan is a young Christian woman with a passion for writing for the Lord through faith-filled Science Fiction/Fantasy stories and pure words.

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