“Light’s out.” Jonathan pointed to the star atop the Christmas tree.
“Don’t say anything about it. Not even when we put up the decorations,” I said. He put his finger down before Aunt Sherry carried a cardboard box up out of the basement. She looked me up and down and then set the box at her feet. She held her arms out as I walked over. Her hug was silent. The little nutcrackers and angels stared up at me from between the holes in the green tape. We stood until she pushed me away with her hands on my shoulders. Half her upper lip didn’t move when she smiled. I rolled my arm backwards to Jonathan and cranked it towards Aunt Sherry. Jonathan came forward, pulled his eyes up, and stretched his lips across his face. She looked at the bag in his left hand. He pulled out a bottle of Four Roses and a block of Brie cheese.
“I hear you like bourbon.” He stayed back and extended his arms. She took the bourbon and walked out from behind the box. She didn’t take the cheese until his lazy eye wiggled a bit between us. She smiled with both sides of her mouth and hugged him.
“You heard right.” She patted him on the back and came back from the hug. We ate the cheese and drank the bourbon over by the coffee table. Just as she invited him to Christmas dinner, she followed her eyes sneaking off to the box and then up to the burnt star with her own. I stood. He accepted.
“That went pretty well. I could tell,” Jonathan said while driving us back home.
“I can tell how it went by her smile.” We didn’t put out the whatnots that year.
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