Title: Christmas Wish
This story is part of the Glimpses of Ben Series.
It was a small tree by most people's standards, but it was the biggest tree Caroline could cut and drag to the cabin by herself. She stood in the middle of the cabin's main room surrounded by the boxes of decorations she had brought down from the storage loft after Benton had gone to sleep. She took each ornament out with care and placed it on the tree.
The ornaments were mostly glass and were the colors of the rainbow. There were blue and yellow ones, purple and red ones. She hung small strands of popcorn strung on thread that she had been putting together for several nights while her child slept. When the last ornament was on the tree, she stepped back and surveyed her work. The only ornament left was the angel for the top of the three. Her husband, Robert, usually put the angel on the top. He had told her he would make it home for Christmas, but it was Christmas Eve and Benton had gone to bed a disappointed 6 year old. Caroline hesitated, should she put the Angel on or wait...she opted for waiting and set the angel in it's box on the fireplace mantel.
Caroline went to bed at midnight, prayers for Robert said quietly as she did them everynight.
Christmas morning came quietly to the Fraser home. The sun was rising just over the peak of the mountains to the East when little Benton Fraser made his way into the cabin's main room. His dark, curly hair was smashed flat on one side of his head, his mouth yawning as he hugged his stuffed rabbit. The Christmas tree stood by the window and Benton was drawn to it to stand staring wide-eyed at it as he did every year. He turned and ran to his mother's room. "Mother, mother, Santa was here. And the angel's on top of the tree." He ran on stockinged feet right to her door and stopped. His mother slept alone. There was no sign of his father.
Caroline woke and saw the disappointed look on her son's face. She climbed from her bed and dragged her robe on. She went to kneel by him and gathered her son in a hug. "Didn't Santa bring you any presents?" she said with a laugh.
"Not the one I wanted," he said.
Caroline picked him up in her arms and went out by the tree. "I'm sure you have lots of presents there son." He shook his head in her arms. "Dad didn't make it home." he cried. "Did you put the angel on the tree?"
Looking up at the tree, Caroline saw their angel set there with care. The box on the mantel was empty. She was confused. She knew she had been tired, was sure she hadn't put the angel in its box on the tree. Putting Benton down, she walked to the mantel to pick up the box.
Benton's head snapped up as if he heard something and he ran to the window. "He's coming, he's coming," the little boy yelled.
Robert Fraser drew his sled up outside of his cabin. The door flew open and his little son ran out in his pajamas to fling himself in his arms. "What not opening Christmas presents?"
Benton hugged his father's neck as he was carried into the cabin. "How could I, my present just arrived."