Okay, seriously can you believe it?!? Tomorrow is Christmas? *mind blown* I hope you are all having a good Christmas week. Hugs to all those who are going through trials this season. I’m sure the first Christmas wasn’t without trials either. Take comfort in knowing that HE has come! And HE saves! 🤗
And now, I have a special Christmas story for you! I wanted to write a short story for Jovey’s Christmas party, so a few weeks ago I sat down on Monday and wrote less then 150 words. Then Tuesday I wrote a little over 250. It just wasn’t flowing. So, I scrabbed that and began this story on Wednesday. I finished it Friday! I hope it’s an encouragement to you! Happy Christmas Eve!! – It was originally posted here. –
The Weary World Rejoices
The snow crunched softly under Kaylee’s fur-lined snow boots as she trudged home. Fresh snow was coming to rest on her bright red hat, but Kaylee was so caught up in her own miseries that she failed to notice the beauty around her.
Arriving at her lonely apartment, Kaylee pushed past the wreath that decorated her front door and into the bare interior. Her house reminded her of herself. Something beautiful on the outside to give the impression of Christmas cheer, yet lonely and desolate inside. In the same way, Kaylee would wear a brilliant smile for everyone who walked through those double hospital doors, while inwardly she felt like she was alone in a desert with now water in sight.
“Really a horrid analogy, Kay.” She mumbled to herself as she set her purse on the counter and began to rummage in the cupboard for a snack. “There’s snow on the ground and you’re thinking about deserts. What a wonderful way to put on Christmas cheer.”
She sank onto the couch with a granola bar and closed her eyes. “What are you doing with your life, anyway? You sit in a chair all day, staring at a computer. Oh, and you get to be the first person to see dozens of gaping wounds and blood covered clothing that no sane girl would want to see one of. I suppose that’s something.” She groaned and curled into a ball, pulling the pillow over her head.
Her buzzing phone started her out of a snooze a few minutes later. Mom.
“Hello!” Kaylee put on her best happy voice.
“Hey Sweetie, how did your day go?”
Kaylee shrugged, then remembered her Mom couldn’t see that. “It was normal.”
“Mm. Hey, so, Christmas.”
“Yes?” Kaylee’s Mom was the queen of assuming everyone automatically just knew what she was insinuating.
“It’s tomorrow. You are going to come over right? Shane’s bringing the whole family, and I think it would be good for you to spend Christmas with your family again.”
Kaylee sighed. It sure would feel good to be with the family again. And she hadn’t seen her nieces and nephews in nearly four months. “I’m sorry Mom, but I was scheduled to work then. A lot of the other girls have families of their own, so they try to give them off first. I guess a single girl seemed like a good option to schedule for Christmas morning. I’m really sorry.”
Mom’s sigh boarded on a sob. “Single girls have family too.” She took a deep breath. “I understand, Kaylee. But you don’t work the whole day, do you? Can you come for supper at least?”
“Umm..” Kaylee whispered.
“There’s something else?”
“Yeah,” Kaylee toyed with her fingernails in nervousness.
“What’s wrong?” Mom’s voice was fringed with worry.
“My car – it’s not working.”
“Oh, well did you take it to the shop?
“So, are they fixing it?” Mom asked hopefully.
“No.” Kaylee mumbled.
“Kaylee, stop it! Tell me what’s wrong.” Mom’s voice had that firm commander sound to it.
“The engine.” Kaylee whispered. She heard her Mom groan on the other end. “I have to get a new car.”
“Are you looking?”
“Look Mom,” Kaylee cut in, “I don’t really want to talk about it. I just don’t think I’ll be able to make it at all on Christmas. I’m really sorry. Maybe next year?”
“Okay,” The voice on the other end was trying desperately to hold it together. “Okay, sweetie. I love you.”
“Love you too, Mom.”
The other end clicked off and Kaylee dropped her phone with a sigh.
“God, things are really tough right now.” She knew she hadn’t been praying like she used to. She’d slowly let her devotional time each morning slip, and before she knew it, she wasn’t praying much either. “I just don’t know what to do. I don’t really like my job, I desperately need a new car, and I really want to see my family again. I just feel really lost. Like what I do doesn’t help anyone.” The tears fell in her desperation. “I don’t feel like I’m making a difference for anyone.” Kaylee buried her face in a pillow and let her frustration soak it through.
Kaylee woke with a start. The room was dark. Feeling her way around, she lifted herself off the couch and searched for the light switch, realizing how hungry she was. She glanced toward the stove to see the time, but it just blinked 12:00.
“No,no,” She moaned, then tried the light switch. Nothing. Kaylee stumbled back to the couch and turned the flashlight of her phone on. Shuffling through the mail on the coffee table, she found it. She had missed several months of payment and she had a week to pay up or the electricity would be turned off. It was postmarked ten days ago.
“Ugh. This is not going well.” Her phone read 8:46. “Okay, Kaylee. There’s some milk in the fridge, and some cereal in the cupboard. She yanked open the fridge door and with a sinking feeling realized it wasn’t running. “Oh right, stupid. The fridge runs on electricity too. So does your water, your toilet, the heat, the stove, -” her phone blinked. 15% battery. “- oh yes, and your phone charger too.”
She sank her head into her hands and leaned against the counter.
“Okay, we can do this. The milk will still be fine for tonight, and with no heat in the house, it’ll probably be okay for tomorrow morning too. Then all that stuff will have to go. I can live on granola bars…” Kaylee nodded to herself. “And I can go a day without a shower. The toilet can go un-flushed for now. You get a paycheck Monday. You can survive till then, right?” Kaylee paused. “Oh, but water. Umm, I get unlimited bottled water when I’m working. If I get a bottle every half an hour, I can stock up and bring some home.”
Determined to make things work out, she poured herself some cereal and sat down to eat it. She set her phone to battery-saver mode and turned it off for the night. On second thought she turned it back on and set an alarm for the next morning. Using her phone’s flashlight, Kaylee trekked up the stairs and collected all her blankets from her bed. It had been a tradition in her younger years to sleep downstairs on Christmas Eve, and she still hadn’t broken it. She snuggled into the couch and snapped a goofy selfie to send to her Mom. Forcing herself to put aside her present worries, she tried to recall several of her favorite Christmas memories. Soon she drifted into a peaceful sleep.
Kaylee woke the next morning shivering. Feeling groggy and disoriented she pulled the blankets over her head. Then her phone’s ringing reached her ears and she jumped off the couch, the former day’s events rushing back all at once. Scrambling to change and wash up her face, she was soon eating more cereal and heading out the door for her long walk to the hospital. She was trying desperately to be positive on Christmas morning, but seeing her car sitting idle in the driveway buried her efforts just like a snow drift had buried her front steps. It looked like several more inches of rain had fallen overnight. The snow plow hadn’t come through yet, so she trudged along on what she thought was the sidewalk, carefully avoiding any places where the snow dipped dangerously.
Looking back and seeing her tracks alone in the brilliant white snow reminded her of when she and Shane would run through the snow and make paths for their little brother Chanse to follow. But his legs were so much shorter than theirs that he would hop from one print to the next, landing with both feet in each.
A rumbling truck came around the corner, and she looked up, hoping it would be the snow plow. Her legs were tiring from walking in eight inches of snow. But sadly it was just a normal truck. She dropped her eyes back to the snow in front of her and pushed her hands farther into her coat pockets, balling them into fists to try to warm them. But the truck didn’t go past, instead it stopped beside her and a man hopped out.
“Hey, you okay?” he called.
Kaylee looked up in disbelief, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Where are you heading? I can give you a ride if you like.”
Kaylee started to shake her head. Her parents had drilled the stranger danger rules into her at a very young age. But then she noticed his clothes. “Do you work for the hospital?” She asked with a small voice.
The man grinned and nodded for a moment, then his brow creased. “You need to go there?”
“Yes, but not because I need it. I work there.”
“Oh, well then jump in! I’ll have you there in no time.” The man climbed back into his truck as Kaylee came up and hopped in the passenger side, sighing at finally being in a warm place.
“I’m Conor,” the man smiled, reaching a hand across the console.
“Kaylee,” she shook his hand. Seeing him up close, she realized he was a lot younger than she first thought, probably a year or two older than her. She turned her gaze back the road as the truck started forward, plowing through the snow with little effort.
“Are you a nurse?” Conor asked, glancing at her briefly.
Kaylee shook her head. “Unit Secretary. Pretty boring.”
“But important nonetheless.”
Kaylee shrugged. “What do you do? You’re probably some brain surgeon right?”
Conor laughed. “Not quite. I’m an EMT.”
Kaylee bit back the sigh that threatened. Yep, everyone else did have a more important job than her.
“They’re making you work on Christmas?” Conor obviously figured that awkward small talk was better than awkward silence.
Kaylee shifted. “Yeah. My Mom wasn’t too happy about that, but I don’t have a working car to get home anyway.” Kaylee stopped, wondering why she was telling him all this. A short ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer would have been fine.
“Mm, sorry about that. I know a little about cars. I could take a look at it for you.”
Kaylee shook her head. “Thanks, but I already had it looked at. I need a new one.”
“Oof, that’s never fun.”
They were pulling into the hospital now and Kaylee hoped Conor wouldn’t pry for more information. He pulled up to the ER entry and stopped.
“Thanks for the ride,” Kaylee opened the door and jumped out, turning to give a smile to Conor.
“No problem. My Mom would be horrified to find out her son let a fellow hero trudge through the snow by herself on Christmas morning,” He grinned.
“A hero?” She scoffed as she turned and walked through the hospital doors. “Yeah, right.”
The day passed in peace. A few people came in, but for the most part, there was nobody with serious injuries. Then precisely at the time she was scheduled for replacement the ambulance came screaming in and stopped by the front doors. Kaylee watched as a woman writhing in pain on the stretcher was lifted out. With a start she realized she was pregnant, and likely the writhing was from labor pains. Jumping out of her chair Kaylee ran to open the doors as Conor and his team shuffled the poor girl in. With another screech, the girl grasped Kaylee’s hand in an un-human-like strength that nearly took her breath away.
“Someone get the doctor!”
Kaylee had realized she was the only female in the room and took it upon herself to be the one to help the girl. “There’s no time. The baby’s crowning.” A minute later she was holding a screaming baby girl in her arms. For a second she just stared in wonderment at the child, the miracle of a new life overwhelming her. Then the child was gently taken from her arms and given to her mother, who was now crying and laughing with joy. Kaylee nearly laughed with glee, but tears blurred her eyes.
The young mother smiled up at Kaylee and whispered, “Thank you, nurse.”
Kaylee shook her head but stepped back as real nurses came to take care of the newborn. Realizing her hands were covered in blood, she escaped to the bathroom to wash up.
“Oh you just didn’t, Kaylee,” She whispered to her reflection. The joy bubbled up in her, and she let out a little laugh. “You seriously just delivered a baby. A real, live baby!”
The girl’s husband had arrived in a panic ten minutes later, distressed that he had missed his first child’s birth. Kaylee stuck around for another hour, waiting to hear how the young family was. Her replacement was already at work, so she sank into a chair in the waiting room and turned on her phone. Nothing happened. With a little laugh she realized it was dead. But no electricity, no car, and no phone, wasn’t about to steal the joy that witnessing a new life take its first breath had given her.
A while later, Conor slipped into the seat beside her, running a hand through his hair with a sigh. “Well, this sure earns the award for craziest Christmas ever.”
Kaylee laughed. “And maybe the best Christmas ever.”
“Yeah, I noticed you can’t wipe that grin off your face.”
“I’ve been trying for the last hour, but it’s not leaving. My jaw is starting to hurt.” Kaylee rubbed her face, trying to message the smile away.
“She wants you to come see her now. She’s in room one twenty three.”
“Umm, you’re gonna have to show me, I don’t have any clue where that is.”
Conor led her down a hallway and stopped by a door decorated with three pink balloons tied to the handle.
Kaylee stepped in quietly and her smile widened to see the small child, sleeping peacefully in her mother’s arms.
The girl’s eyes brightened when Kaylee walked in and she motioned her closer and spoke to her husband. “This is the nurse who delivered our baby.”
Kaylee shook her head firmly, “No, I’m not a nurse. I’m just a secretary.”
The girl’s eyes widened in astonishment. She laughed a little, her eyes glistening with fresh tears. “I couldn’t have been in better hands, even if I had a midwife. What’s your name?”
“Kaylee Eaton.” Kaylee whispered.
“A beautiful name.” The girl glanced at her husband and he nodded. “I told my husband that unless you have a really ugly name, I wanted to name my sweet girl after you.”
Kaylee’s eyes began to blur with tears.
The girl lifted the child toward Kaylee and laid her in her arms. “Kaylee Eaton, meet your namesake, Kaylee Belle Lounds.”
Kaylee bit back a sob. “Kaylee Belle,” she whispered, running a finger over the child’s soft hair. “She’s so beautiful.” The child stretched in Kaylee’s arms and cooed. Kaylee giggled as she watched the baby’s face. “Kaylee Belle, you’ve made my day. It’s been the best Christmas ever.” She placed a kiss on the baby’s forehead.
“Kaylee,” Conor leaned into the doorway, grinning. “You have some visitors in the lobby.”
Kaylee gently laid the baby back in her mother’s arms. “Merry Christmas, Kaylee Belle,” she whispered. She followed Conor back to the waiting room, still feeling dazed over the evening’s events.
“They named her after me,” She found herself saying.
Conor chuckled. “You deserve it,” He nodded firmly at Kaylee’s skeptical glance. “You did good.”
“Auntie Kay!” A voice screeched as she entered the lobby. There stood her parents, her older brother and his wife, and her little brother. And her nephew and nieces racing across the room to launch themselves on Kaylee all at once.
“Rory!” Kaylee dropped to her knees to gather all three of them in her arms. “Ivy, Maisie! What are you all doing here?”
“We came to see you!” Ivy piped up wisely.
“Maisie, did you come to see Auntie Kay too?” Kaylee squeezed the two-year-old tightly.
“No, no!” The little girl pointed out the window.
“No?” Kaylee asked, looking to Rory for an answer.
“Snow,” The eight-year-old offered.
“Oh, yes, beautiful snow! Did you get to play in it?”
Maisie nodded, her auburn curls bouncing.
Kaylee stood to greet the rest of the family, who had followed the children over in a more mature, yet no less excited manner.
“Kaylee dear, it makes a mother’s heart proud to see her beautiful daughter’s face again.”
“Aww, Mom,” She wished she could stay in her mother’s warm embrace forever, but her Dad was just as eager to hug his little girl.
“What are you doing here, Daddy?” She asked as he hugged her.
“Well, we figured if you can’t come to us, we’d come to you.”
“But when we got to your house, all the lights were out and no one answered the door,” Shane continued, “So we figured you must still be working, and came here.”
Kaylee wiped away several tears with a laugh. “Yeah, I kind of had a crazy day.”
Conor, who had been standing off the side, watching the reunion with a smile, stepped in, “Yep. She delivered a baby all by herself.”
“Kaylee!” Mom and Abby, Shane’s wife, exclaimed at the same time.
Kaylee laughed, “Well, yeah, I guess I kinda did.”
“Where is this child? Can we meet it?” Mom was always eager to get her hands on a newborn.
Kaylee glanced at Conor but he just shrugged. “I’ll go ask. But you’ll have to get signed in at the front desk. Hannah can help you.” Kaylee nodded to the frizzy-haired girl at the front desk. She started to leave the lobby but Conor stopped her.
“Are you sure you can find your way?” He grinned.
Kaylee rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I think so.”
“My shift is over, I’m gonna head out. Thanks again for your help.”
Kaylee smiled. “I wouldn’t trade today for anything.”
“If you ever need a ride again, I think I drive past your place. I could pick you up.” Conor offered.
“That won’t be necessary,” Kaylee’s brother Chanse piped up. Kaylee turned to look at him, a blush tinting her ears. Chanse tossed something at Kaylee and she caught it with both hands. Keys.
“What are these?” Kaylee stared at them, then back at her brother.
“What do they look like?” He grinned. “Keys to your new car.”
Kaylee tried to say something, but found she couldn’t speak through the sudden emotion that rose.
Chanse laughed. “Well, I mean, it’s not new, but it is new for you. Oof, careful!” Chanse pleaded as Kaylee wrapped him in a hug, “You always hug too tight!”
4 thoughts on “Christmas Countdown – 1 Day Until Christmas – The Weary World Rejoices Short Story”
Thanks again for guest posting!! I love you short story sm! Merry Christmas Eve!! 🥰
My pleasure! Aww thanks! Back at ya! 💚
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ah, lovely story, Autumn! I really enjoyed it!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Aww thank you! So glad!!