What was and is and will be again.

{I am trying to work on Widdershins, but this keeps interrupting so I am getting it out of my system.}

Elise dreaded opening the parcel on Christmas day. There is sat, in a heap of others under the tree but this one had brown paper and a stamp on the outside. She couldn’t read the words and didn’t need this skill to know who it was from. The parcel came every year and each time the contents must be marveled over and a painstaking letter of thanks to someone she didn’t really know must be written.

The parents had made sure she knew to be grateful. This was a gift from dad’s older sister, who had arthritis. Elise didn’t know what this was except it made a person’s hands hurt a lot so Elise should be extra grateful for the EFFORT. That word was very important to the parents. It came a lot before the paper and pencil appeared for her to write the letter of thanks with a little drawing of her wearing the contents. This is what had given her the idea as she knew her colors.

‘Aunty is going to knit you a new sweater for Christmas. She wants to know what color you would like.”

Mom knitted. They had visited a yarn shop just the other week and Elise amused herself looking at all the yarns in the bins while mom made her choice. There were many colors; reds and blues, greens, browns and creams. She particularly liked a lavender shade, although there was one close just as nice. The parcel was coming with Christmas; the thought jumped into her mind, so she had studied the colors carefully and compared them to her crayons when she got home.

“I’d love one in tangerine,” she said, hoping Aunty couldn’t find such a color.

The parcel under the tree called to her. This one must be opened first because of the EFFORT if cost Aunty with her hands. Elise fiddled with the string, trying to postpone the misery of discovery, but not for long. Aunty didn’t use Christmas wrapping paper because this was WASTEFUL.  Auntie didn’t  believe in WASTE. This was why her presents were useful, because toys were a WASTE. Elise liked toys.

The paper opened and there it was in all its glaring glory, the tangerine sweater. Her heart sank.

“That is a nice, cheerful color,” her mom said. You will be able to wear it for school after Christmas.

She did, up until summer, when she was allowed to put it away, but the name ‘pumpkin’ stuck in the minds of the kids at school. That was her name now. The next year she asked for gray.

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