Unlike when he first arrived, chilled right through the bone and tissue of his entire body, Freddie noticed how warm it was when he stepped outside. His slippers found snow that remained pure white and fluffy under his feet; it wouldn't melt. His weight did not change the snow, even as he walked down the path and into the village square.
Several of the people who had helped him waved when they saw him, and their families did the same. Freddie found it peculiar that they would all acknowledge a stranger, but acting on politeness, he greeted them all with a similar gesture.
Nora strolled up behind him. 'We will get the best view nearest the Christmas tree.'
Freddie turned his eyes to her; she sported a thick, brown woolly hat, complete with a sequence of galloping reindeers around it. He admired her style, and her own eyes reflected a great appreciation for everything to do with the Holidays. It reminded him of the love he had for Christmas, the love that was passed down by his mother.
He couldn't help but smile at Nora as she guided him through some of the crowd. For a small village, a lot of people had turned up to an event the outside world had never heard of. If they had, he'd bet there would be millions of people there instead of this small village only.
Everyone in attendance was part of a family. Nobody was alone, as the children held their mother's hands and others were atop their father's shoulders. They laughed, kissed one another, shared warmth; everything Freddie longed for.
Freddie looked up at Nora as the volume of noise around him only increased. 'If you don't mind me asking, where's your family?'
'They're everywhere, Freddie,' she answered, still managing to guide Freddie without bumping into anyone as she kept her eyes on him. 'Look around you. What makes a family?'
'More than that. It requires much more than just being related to each other. There has to be genuine love there, and care, and all the things that make a family strong together. It may be true that I am not related to anyone here, but Blair's children – they call me grandmother. Luther's wife comes around every Wednesday for a girly tea. She brings her children, and we cook together, and play together, and do all the things families do. We're not born with the same blood, but does that mean I can't be part of their families?'
Freddie had to think about it. He started to wonder about the people he never saw who he still had to call family, just because they have the same blood. Blood doesn't love or support you – people do. There was no reason why Freddie himself couldn't call Nora his family after the tremendous kindness she had shown him. It was more kindness than his own family had shown him.
'I guess you can,' he finally replied.
'I love them, and they love me. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for them. They are my family.'
Freddie still wanted to ask if she did not have any children herself, or a husband, or parents, but thought against it. Nora's eyes gleamed, but not because of sadness for an absent blood-family – Freddie could tell it was the happiness of having the presence of the most beautiful and diverse family she could have asked for.
'Maybe one day, I can have that,' Freddie said, returning his thoughts to the family he left behind in the cabin. He wondered if they knew he was gone, if they were looking for him, or if they cared at all.
Nora named the people they passed, and he found himself standing under the sparkle of the enormous Christmas tree with her. The Santa statue stood proudly next to it, and the lights changed colour every time they blinked. They gleamed off the red surface of Santa, the dancing light almost brought him to life.
YOU ARE READING
Fawn | An LGBTQ+ Christmas StoryShort Story
When 16-year-old Freddie is publically disgraced at school, his outraged father takes the broken family to a cabin to escape the shame of his son being gay.