Audrey Austin

Audrey Austin
Proud to be a small town indie author

Friday, December 21, 2012

A short Christmas story by Audrey Austin

A very short, fun Christmas story by Audrey Austin.

 “Good afternoon, Mrs. Claus.  Won’t you take a seat?  Dr. Smart will be with you in a few moments.
I do just that.  There are a few other people waiting; all women, I notice.
 "Mrs. Claus," the receptionist shouts.  
I knew using my real name would be a huge mistake.  Next thing I know it will be in all the papers that Mrs.  Claus is seeking psychotherapy.  I pull my kerchief a little lower to hide my embarrassment.  I lift my tired, overweight body out of the chair and cross the room to the reception desk.  I feel rumpled and frumpled standing in front of this slim trim young woman. 
“Mrs. Claus, if you don’t mind I need just a little more personal information.”
“Okay, but please, will you speak a little softer?” I beg.
“Mrs. Claus, I have no record of your first name.” 
“Oh, no one ever uses it. Even I don’t bother with it anymore."
“But if you don’t mind, Mrs. Claus?” 
“I can assure you my personal identity disappeared years ago but if you must know my first name is Jessica."
“Jessica Claus! What a lovely name.” she says.
 “Thank you.  Thank you for reminding me that I am, or at least I used to be something more than just Mrs. Claus."
“Please take a seat. You won’t have much longer to wait.”
While I sit I try to remember the last time I heard the name Jessica.  For years now Nick has been calling me mother.  I complain but he says that since many people around the world call him Father Christmas it seems only right to him that I should be called Mother.  I just can’t win with him. 
“Mrs. Claus, Dr. Smart will see you now.”
I walk past the reception desk and into the small, cozy therapist's office.
“Good afternoon, Mrs. Claus.  And what brings you here today?”
I settle myself into the chair.  It’s a snug fit.  I really must lose some weight.  And how do I answer his question?  Maybe I’ve made a mistake.  I shouldn’t be here but what I say is, “Please call me Jessica.  That is my name, you know."
“Why, no, I did not know that and a very nice name it is, indeed.”
“Dr. Smart, maybe if you call me Jessica it will help me. You see, I feel as though I’m losing myself.  Sometimes I’m convinced that if I look into a mirror I will see no reflection.   I’m disappearing in the shadow of my husband and I can’t take it anymore!”
Dr. Smart hands me the box of Kleenex. “Now, Jessica, what are those tears about?”
Always with the questions, this Dr. Smart!  We sit together until I can’t stand the sound of silence any longer.  “He’s driving me crazy,” I blurt.
“Who is, Mrs. Claus?”
“My husband, of course!  Who else?”
“Tell me more?"
“Well, doctor, even though we’ve been married for more than a dozen centuries it’s as though we’ve grown apart.”
“Well, Jessica, that is a long time. Perhaps you have become a little bored?”
“Ignored is more like it!   Santa spends more time with his reindeer than he does with me.  And when he is with me he’s in a constant state of inebriation from all the eggnog he consumes.   Ha!  The world thinks he is a jolly old elf.  They should try living with him.  He’s always at the computer making lists and checking them twice.  A half hour once in a while on a treadmill wouldn’t do him any harm.”
 “Has the attraction between you waned, Jessica?”
I can barely remember the century when we still found each other attractive.  To Dr. Smart I say, “He spends all his free time socializing with the elves.  The only time he knows I’m alive is when he asks, “Is supper ready?  or “Where is my red shirt?” 
Dr. Smart leans forward in his chair.  He reaches out his hand and with very smooth, soft fingers he strokes my forearm.  “There, there, surely it is not as bad as all that.”
“It’s worse!” I insist.  “The whole world views my husband as a beacon of joy and happiness but they don’t know him the way I do.  He’s a workaholic.  He has no time for me at all.”
“Have you considered separation, Jessica?”
“Separation?   After hundreds of years with the same man, how could I learn to live alone?” 
 Dr. Smart moves his chair even closer. Our knees are almost touching and he is caressing my arms.
“You are still a very attractive woman,” he says.  “You don’t need to live alone, Jessica.”
 “Dr. Smart!  Have you lost the good sense you were born with?” I shout.
 His hands fly from my arms.  He pushes his chair back.  Now the only thing belonging to him that still rests on me is his gaze.  

And such a nice gaze I notice for the first time.  Deep brown eyes; a nice change from Santa’s squinty blue ones.   Is it possible Dr. Smart could provide the kind of diversion I need to make my life with Santa more bearable?

Dare I suggest?   Just then the office door flies open and the pert, young receptionist smashes my reverie.

“Sorry to interrupt,” she says, “but, Sam, it’s nearly four p.m. and I’m leaving soon.  Will you be home for supper tonight?"

Home for supper?  What a fool I am!  I might have known.
“Yes, dear,” the therapist replies.  “I won’t be late.”

“See you later then,” she says.  “And Mrs. Claus?”

Guilt seals my lips but I manage a squeaky, “Yes?”

“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Claus.”

Christmas!  Santa!   Clarity visits my muddled mind. Yes, maybe Santa ignores me.  Maybe he’s too involved with his career.  But he would never hurt me the way I had been tempted by Dr. Smart to hurt my husband.

Sure he’s overweight and no wonder with all those cookies and snacks children leave for him all over the world but, as magical as he is, he can still fit down into all those chimneys.  And for those children whose houses do not have a chimney he always finds a way into their homes and into their hearts.  He allows nothing to get in the way of his mission to bring joy and happiness to children.  What would Christmas be without Santa? 

I know the elves keep an eye on us and they report everything to Santa.  He always knows if we have been naughty or nice.  I was almost very naughty but I pray the elves won’t mention it in their report.

I put my thoughts away and force myself back to the present.  “Merry Christmas to you too, Mrs. Smart!”

I gather myself together and getting up from the counseling chair I say, “Don’t let me keep you from your dinner, Dr. Smart.   By the way, if you don’t mind me saying so, I think you could use a good therapist yourself! Good-bye and Merry Christmas to you!”

“Good-bye, Jessica,” he says.

“Call me Mrs. Claus, Doctor.  And you better watch out!  Santa Claus is coming to town!”

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