Blue Christmas

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"You'll be doin' alright with your Christmas of white..."

Imogene moves through the crowd, her small figure elbowing here and there while doing her best to avoid being jostled. She doesn't like shopping or crowds, but the sway of the bright white lights on the tall Christmas tree and the crooning voice of Elvis draw her closer. They remind her of home, one of many things that make her homesick.

Even though there are enough rainy and cloudy days in Oregon , it rarely snows. Imogene is from a much different world, born in a tiny town in Vermont. Her earliest memories are of the smell of cookies in the oven, cookies often full of chocolate chips and M&M's and other goodies. If she closes her eyes, she can smell them. Even as a small child glued to the large front window, watching the snow drift downwards, Imogene could smell that her mother had a habit of leaving the treats in the oven just a minute too long.

Timing is everything, but Imogene never minds the small imperfections. Her mother's cookies are the greatest treats in the world. The radio is always on as the cookies puff up happily, her mother's cheerful voice humming along.

"....but I'll have a Blue, Blue Christmas."

Imogene does not know what was so bad about blue for Christmas. In fact, it is her favourite colour. The last time Imogene had seen her mother, she wore a long blue velvet dress that complimented her dark auburn hair. She remembers thinking her mother looked liked a Christmas mermaid.

Time passed, enough time for Imogene to know mermaids do not celebrate Christmas. Imogene had become a charming girl, her chestnut hair falling midway between her chin and shoulders, and curling at the ends. She is now an immaculately dressed nine-year-old girl , her body and mind starting the slow but inevitable transformation from a child to a young woman.

She hops her way through the crowd of adults and children running disobediently in all directions. In contrast, Imogene is like a perfectly behaved doll, dressed in winter white and gold. She hasn't yet outgrown Mary Janes, pristine in their snow-coloured hue but slightly scuffed around the edges, or the pride in her beret-style hat. Tres chic.

The young woman in her knows she looks like a little girl, but the child in her wants to twirl and ask if she is pretty. Her mother is a beautiful, sophisticated lady and Imogene hopes when she grows up, she'll look exactly the same. Imogene's mind whirls quickly, seeing the line of children waiting with their parents to see Santa.

Her attention, however, isn't on Santa or the colourful throng of people that moved into her without apology, This annoys the girl. It is on the man singing the song, momentarily remindig her of her father. Imogene stares at the ground in bitter disappointment when she realises it's only a handsome man singing her favourite holiday song.

Imogene jumps and lets out a small scream when a hand clasps her shoulder. Turning around, she sees a tall and severe-looking woman with white hair. She is fiercely lovely in her old age. Imogene knows she's in trouble for wandering. "Grandma Cecilia!"

Imogene's voice is small. "I..I'm sorry. I heard the song, and it reminded me of home. My imagination..started going all fuzzy again. I started thinking my father was here. Is my mother coming this year?" She stares at the blue-grey dress her grandmother wears, hopelessly out of fashion,  but a reminder of the old woman's younger days.

It is blue, covered in white snowflakes. White is the colour of the car they all rode in that night, comfortable like the snow and the exterior of the home she loves so dearly.

Blue is the colour of the water that lurked underneath the facade of the picturesque winter wonderland, everything white and smelling like cocoa and candy canes.

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