Patricia walked past two doors on the left of the upstairs hall. Her fingertips graced the railing opposite of the doors, overlooking the large family room. At the third door, she stopped. “Here you are, honey. You get the gold room.”
Gold was right. Melonie stepped into a tinsel-and-ornament festooned room. A small tree of deep green stood in the corner, its branches decked with gold and red ornaments, bringing a happy balance to the glitter that cheerfully spread around the four walls.
“Well! I’ll let you get settled,” Patricia said. “If you need anything, just holler ‘til you find me. Wander around. We don’t have any secrets here—except for the gifts. Don’t open anything wrapped.” She winked at Melonie and headed back down the stairs.
Melonie retrieved her suitcase and shut the door. She sank down onto the red-and-white quilted bedspread and looked around the room. Alone. No fiancé, no friends or family who would wrap their arms around her and mourn with her over the loss of her dreams—of her life. She grabbed a pillow from the bed and buried her face into its thick sham as she let the sobs release from her bleeding heart and tear through her throat.
(From "Finding Christmas Joy" by Amanda Tero;