It Just So Happened To Be Christmas
Regula was born in the Czech Republic, but upon too many opportunities unraveling themselves into existence as disappointments, she decided it was time for a change. Although the Czech Republic was her place of birth, it would be difficult for one to say that Regula was raised there – especially if you truly knew her, which you surely don’t, so we’ll just say that she was raised by herself in between her own two ears.
Neither “adopted” nor “foster” were the right words to describe her parents, nor herself for that matter. She always though that “drifter” was more appropriate. She had only met one other orphan in all her stays at various homes for children that understood the meaning of this word. His name was Owen, and he had lost the ability to speak at three months old. Never having uttered a word to each other made their connection even deeper in their short time as contemporaries. He was chosen by a Swedish family and whisked away in silent protest. Regula had to spend three lonely weeks pacing the trails she and Owen had stamped out before she was chosen by what would be her final set of…parents? Sure. They lived in the south of France and were in search of a new beginning, slightly less-south and with a new addition to their family. Regula had always felt that she was exactly that, an addition. Something added to something that had existed before and was in turn auxiliary in her nature. Nevertheless, she accepted her new role in the family, but always kept a slight reservation that Owen would have been proud of.
Besides, it had some perks after all. Her new home was warm and didn’t serve that awful meat stew on Thursdays. Her parents had enrolled her at the local alternative school, at which she took architecture and writing classes on Tuesdays and Fridays. The best part, however, was the swing tied to the oak tree in the back. When swung correctly, the pendulum flung her just beyond the edge of the little stream bank, and that feeling was enough for Regula every time. She finished the first cycle of her classes with high marks and the snow began to fall. Naturally, she spent more time inside with her parents, okay they’re just parents now, and the days passed more comfortably. She still never felt like she was home, just staying for an extended period of time contingent upon how well she wanted the other inhabitants to get to know her.
Following this feeling, she decided to venture into town to spend exactly the the right amount of money for the day. The streets were as bustling with people as were their pockets with gift receipts. It was Christmas day, and while everyone was full of cheer, Regula was not so. However, she cast ne’er an assuming look at anyone, for they should enjoy their holidays without her selfish glances. It was the coming together of all people that made her realize how alone she had always felt. Alone since that day Owen had been carted off to Sweden. She turned a corner and played that day over and again in her head, the one place where she found comfort. Not trees with synthetic snow, nor the Santa Claus with a strung-up beard, nor the social worker ringing the beggar’s bell at the grocery store could offer her a consolation. And that was okay. Because it was Christmas, and somewhere Owen would be feeling just the same.
Photograph by kichigin19