The gift

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Lily gazed past the chilled windowpane as the snow fell, dancing and curling like sparkling spindrifts. A shudder skittered down her spine. The weather-app had predicted the coldest Christmas Eve in The Netherlands for thirty years. 

It wasn't just the cold outside that made her shiver, she missed Jim. He was away for five months, three weeks and two days, and there hadn't past a single day that she didn't think of him. When they started dating, Lily knew that she had to share him with the UN, but she had never could have thought it would hurt so much being apart, today more than ever.

She looked past her reflection in the window glass and wiped a tear from her cheek when the doorbell rang.

"Honey!" her mother yelled from the kitchen. "Could you please open the door?"

It must be Aunt Beth. Stifling a groan as her stiff limbs protested at the movement, she hobbled to the hallway. A cold breeze slammed her face when she yanked the door open.

 A man in a deer-brown jacket hopped on the first step of the front door. Icy snow crunched under his boots. He mumbled a greeting and handed over a box to her. "Sorry for the delay, Miss. The weather," he shrugged his shoulders covered in white.

Lily raised an eyebrow. "Would you like to come in for some hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies?"

"No Miss, I'm sorry, that's very kind of you," he said blowing warm breath between his folded hands. "My family is waiting for me to come home."

"Merry Christmas then," A sly smile slipped onto her face.

"You too, Miss."

Lily closed the door, looking at the package which had her name on it.

"Is that Beth?" Her mother peeked through the door opening between the hallway and the kitchen.

"No, it's for me." Lily went to the seat next to the fireplace and the big tree with a thousand lights. Slowly she opened the package. A box covered with beautifully decorated fabric was revealed when tearing off the brown paper. She lifted the top and looked inside. The box was empty. She shook her head in wonder, "Is this a joke?" She turned the box upside down. A postcard fell to the ground. Immediately she recognized the handwriting. Jim! Her mouth turned bone-dry. With tears in her eyes she'd pick up the card and read the words:

Dear Lily,

There are no shops here to buy you the luxurious gifts I would like to give to you for each day that we're apart. I miss you so much that it hurts. When I look at the sky full of stars and squeeze my eyelids together, I imagine you sitting next to the tree, beautiful as always, with that smile of yours. This box is my gift for you. It is filled with thousand kisses, a kiss for each day we've been apart and for the days still to come. I wish I could be there with you; I wish my kisses will warm your skin, enlighten your heart and express the love I feel for you.

Merry Christmas my love.

Yours always, Jim.

Closing tear-filled-eyes, she snuggled into the warmth of her sweater, her mind playing back well-remembered scenes of them together. After a lovely dinner with her family and being comforted by her remembering, Lily fell asleep as the snow tapped softly on her windowpane. In her hands, she held the opened box. Christmas bells rang in her dreams as she kissed the warm, gentle lips of Jim. 

Believe in magic. Lovely Christmas.

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