Where You Go
Chapter 33

Copyright© 2011 by Robert McKay

We don't often have a white Christmas in Albuquerque, and we didn't this time. It was a bright sunny day, and the snow that had fallen two days before was nearly gone. The mountains, though, were still white, gleaming in the sun, as I saw when I took an early walk on Christmas morning.

When I got back home Darlia and Cecelia were eating breakfast at the counter. I snagged a bowl from the cabinet, and a spoon from the drawer, and got out my bottle of green taco sauce, and spooned up some hash browns from the king skillet where it sat on the stove. I carried the bowl, spoon, and taco sauce around and sat next to Cecelia. I put on taco sauce, and began eating.

"Are you eating breakfast, Daddy?" Darlia asked from Cecelia's left.

"Nope, no breakfast. This is just a snack, 'Lia."

"I see. And today is just another day, right?"

I glared at Cecelia. "You put her up to this, right?"

"I cannot tell a lie – I encouraged her shamefully."

"You don't gotta tell a lie, C. It's so painfully obvious even I can figure it out."

She poked me sharply in the ribs. "What is this 'don't gotta' business, Darvin? Are you trying to sound like you're as witless as a boll weevil?"

"No, I'm not trying."

"I could take that a couple of different ways."

I grinned. "Go for it, C. I'm sure you can come up with a thoroughly unflattering interpretation."

She threw up her hands. "Of all the men in the world, I had to marry the only one who can sound like both a dullard and a college graduate within 10 seconds."

"You're right – you had to."

It isn't often that I break Cecelia up, and I hadn't thought my crack was more than moderately amusing, but she broke up nevertheless. She began giggling, and then laughing, and finally had to put her hands over her mouth and get off her stool and go into our bedroom to get control over herself again.

Darlia looked over at me with a severe expression. "You know that Mommy will get you for that."

"Yeah, I do. But boy, it's fun while it lasts!"

In about 10 minutes Cecelia came out of the bedroom again. While she was in there with the door shut she'd changed clothes, slipping out of the gray dress she'd been wearing into her Kevin Harvick fire suit. She'd gotten it for my birthday last year, knowing that I would love seeing her in it even more than I would enjoy wearing it. A fire suit doesn't flatter anyone's figure, and Cecelia in some ways is a stick woman, but I thought I had never seen anyone more beautiful.

As she sat down again she laid a paper on the counter – the one I'd given her on Friday, I realized. "I have read this more than once, Darvin," she said. "And today it seems appropriate to make it something more than a private matter; it shall henceforth hang from the wall above my computer. If you did not buy me a frame for Christmas – which you did not have any reason to do – I shall obtain one myself forthwith." And she smoothed out the paper and began to read aloud:

The Center of Life

By Darvin Carpenter

© 2006 by Darvin Carpenter

There are gray skies and oppressing clouds

At times the very sky seems to descend in wrath or sorrow

The days drag and the nights are desolate

Except when you are there

When you are there the sky is blue and clear

When you are there the clouds vanish and the sun shines

When you are there night is a cheerful time and day gleams

Sometimes bad days and nights come on their own,

walking on tragic feet

And sometimes they come

Because I bring them

But it doesn't matter how they come

Because when they come they are bitter

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