Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Alone

The following is a guest post by Terry Robinson, a Coeur d'Alene writer. Thank you, Terry!

Photo courtesy of

Christmas Alone
by Terry Robinson

Sitting in the small laundromat, aimlessly flipping through my copy of Business Week, the full impact of decisions I had made earlier in the year came into focus.  It was Christmas Eve and I was alone, living far away from home in a small town an hour north of Indianapolis. The door opened and a young woman walked in carrying her laundry. She had a slender build, not quite blocking the doorway as she entered. I looked past her, noticing the predicted snow had started to fall and had already begun to cover the street and the town’s single traffic light. It had grown dark and with the darkness felt colder than it was.

I was in a new job and not in a position to take the time off to travel home for Christmas. So I would be alone this year. It was a lonely feeling, but one I willingly made to advance my career. The young woman sat next to me, having completed the ritual of starting her laundry. Content in thumbing through my magazine, I ignored her, though she seemed intent on having someone to talk to. Our eyes met for just a second, long enough for me to take notice that she was quite attractive, with reddish hair and blue eyes. My glance lingered just long enough that she seized the opening and wondered aloud, "Why do you suppose two attractive people in their twenties might be alone on Christmas Eve?" Her name was Chris, and in her I saw an opportunity to escape the loneliness and be with someone for a while. Even if just for the evening. As she rambled on about growing up on a farm in northern Indiana and how she wasn’t able to make it home for the holidays, I smiled and listened quietly. I had been around long enough to recognize she was showing an interest in me and I was entertaining the notion of inviting her over to my home for a glass of wine.

By now Chris had completely engaged me in conversation and innuendo. As I watched her speak and smile and move about the room, I began to feel close to her. Her warmth began to replace the empty cold of being alone and far from home. Being with her seemed to fill a void in my soul. Could spending the evening with this young woman make it better, make me feel better, or would it be just a temporary healing? As I was about to invite her over, I felt the ache in my heart once again and came to recognize that while she might have made it better for a while, being with her would not fill the emptiness in the same lasting way that family does. In that instant I wished her a Merry Christmas, gathered my things and headed home. And, I was alone.

I made my New Year’s resolution that evening: to never be alone again on Christmas.

Author bio: Attending Washington State University in the 70s, Terry enrolled in the communications program and aspired to being a photojournalist. Somehow life got in the way and he graduated from Central Washington University with an accounting degree and has been in finance and accounting ever since.  Terry has lived throughout the country in eleven states, and has traveled through all fifty states.  He enjoys writing about events in his life with an emphasis on life in North Idaho. Terry is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Kootenai Electric Cooperative. Terry and his wife Sue currently call Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, home and  have two grown daughters in Colorado. 


Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

Thanks, Terry, for a glimpse of what it can feel like to be alone on a day that's universally assumed to be a "family" day. Love the message for the start of a new year: if you don't like the way things are, change them.

Ana said...

Thanks Terry for your post. Something that always made me sad when I was still working with clients was how many people are around family and still feel alone.I remember again how fortunate I am to live close to family and good friends and feel their closeness.

Elizabeth S. Brinton said...

Thank you so much for this lovely post. There was a great deal of dramatic tension, and I found myself on the edge of my seat. It is a gift to be able to put the reader right in the scene you are describing. Happy New Year to you and your family.

Terry Robinson said...

Thank you for allowing me to guest post on your blog. If the story feels real, it may be becuase the events portrayed took place!