from the Material Witness Mysteries
by Diane Vallere
The Victorian apartment where I lived, upstairs from the fabric shop I’d inherited, felt different from the Christmases that I’d spent when my great aunt and uncle lived here. Back then, I was a kid playing with the train set that ran across the base of the Christmas tree, eating home baked sugar cookies fresh from Aunt Millie’s oven while counting down the hours until Santa arrived. The tree was draped in homemade garlands made from strewn empty wooden spools of thread collected over the year. Pine needles dropped onto ivory crushed velvet that pooled under the lowest level of branches. A videotape of It’s A Wonderful Life played on Uncle Marius’s old TV set, and mugs of hot chocolate were served before bed.
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