The Gingerbread House- Part I

By Whitney Weatherby

Sarah Stewart and her mother were baking cookies in their kitchen. The house smelled of gingerbread and whipped sugar icing. Jeremy sat at the dining table sneaking gum drops from a crystal bowl whenever his mother turned toward the stove. They were preparing for Christmas, baking the pieces for gingerbread houses (and eating them).

Jeremy was doing his best to dismantle the festivities; as an eleven year-old, he had become too “grown-up” for such silliness as gingerbread houses. He hopped up as he heard the garage door open. He grabbed a bag of frosting and piped a large glob in his mouth as he ran past his sister.

“Jeremy, you’re eating the glue!” Sarah protested. He stuck his white, frosting covered tongue toward her in a mocking retort and smiled, his lips turned chalky with the pasty sugar.

“Your sister’s right, Jeremy, you shouldn’t be eating that. We need all we made for the rest of the gingerbread houses,” their mother said without looking up from the piping hot tray of gingerbread. She was sliding them off with a thin plastic spatula. She glanced at her watch; it was 10 o’clock the night before Christmas. But it was noisy in the Stewart house. Howard Stewart was just getting home from work.

Jeremy crashed into his father as the door from the garage creaked open. His briefcase hit the floor and burst open, papers littering the sun-baked tiles of the kitchen floor.

“Jeremy, can’t you be more careful? This is very important paperwork!” Howard scolded as he knelt down and brushed the papers into a messy pile. “This is going to cost me another hour just to sort out your mess.”

“Howard, lighten up?” Caroline asked in her bouncing British lilt. “It’s Christmas Eve!” She looked at him pleadingly, and turned to her son who had backed into the corner and stood sulking.

“Carol, now is not the time. I’ll be lucky if I can go to bed before tomorrow. I’m going to my office. Please don’t disturb me. I’ll see you in the morning,” he tossed a disappointed glare at Jeremy. Howard stormed into his study, one arm full of loosely stacked papers, the other was extended, holding his open briefcase. Sarah licked her fingers and looked at the floor.

“I hate Christmas,” Jeremy mumbled as he scuffed his slippers along the tile and up the Oriental rug on the back stairs of their New Hampshire cabin. Sarah’s eyes welled with tears as she looked pitifully up at her mother. Carol reached out and gave her a hug.

“He doesn’t mean it,” she said as Sarah nuzzled her damp pink cheeks into her soft pink bathrobe with numbered sheep.

Part II coming soon...

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