In my dream you were there. But she was, too. I woke up tangled in sheets, my pillow wet with tears.
I decide to go shopping. Still have so much to buy before Christmas. I drive to Jefferson, snatches of my dream sailing by like the cold, foggy scenery outside the window. I park the car. I'm careful to stamp my feet on the mat. Bells jingle as I lean into the shop door. No, not looking for anything in particular. I'll know when I see it. Thanks though.
In a dark stall by the back door I spot it, leaning against an old chair... dusty, forgotten. A painting. A mother and her child. My breath leaves me. The chair creaks as I sink down. I stare, seeing snatches of dream, hearing words in your voice. How long do I sit? When I stand up, my mittens are heavy and damp with tears.
It's only a few dollars. The painting. It wasn't special... or wanted. Just like me. It's meant to be. I drive it home and hang it on the wall.
At home, I gaze up at her and the baby in her arms. I muse until it's dark outside and the wine bottle is empty. I realize: I had such hope. I had such faith. I prayed wrong would fail and right prevail and in the end, I'd have you. You'd have me. And we... we'd have a family.
Instead I have a painting.
From the little that's left of me to all that lives with you, Merry Christmas. That's all I have to give.