by Kathi E. Brinkley

Christmas is approaching once again, I wonder if Cathy will get me out this year. You know I have sat in the box for two whole years missing out on all the festivities that Christmas brings, I can remember when I would be brought out every year and have my place of distinction on the Chandler's tree, Oh how I loved that time of the year, There was always so much love in that house.

Then two years ago, I was forgotten. I heard Cathy tell someone on the telephone that she didn't feel much like celebrating Christmas. She had been attacked that year, and Christmas just wasn't the same for her, I felt such a longing in her. So I sat on this shelf among the other Christmas decorations.

Then last year, Cathy had been too busy working at the Crisis Center to put up a tree. So then again I sat all alone during the holidays.

Maybe this year it will be different. Maybe she'll have the time and the love for me this year. She seems so much happier this year than she has previously. You know I think that she's found someone she truly loves. I have heard her whispering to someone on her balcony; someone she calls "Vincent". I can hear her laughter as I did so long ago, She is beginning to sound like the Cathy I always knew.

When she was young, the Chandlers would set their tree up every year, and Cathy's father would lift her up so she could place me on the top of the tree, Cathy would giggle with delight when I was lit. Her eyes would sparkle in the twinkling lights.

As the closet door opened, I heard Cathy begin taking boxes from the shelves. When she came to mine, she carefully lifted it out and placed it on the top of the stack. As she carried my box into the living room, she hummed merrily.

Then she lifted the lid on my box, and I saw the beautiful tree that stood just outside on the balcony, I wondered why she had placed the tree outside and not in the warmth of her enclosed apartment. The tree was already adorned with the bright ornaments and colorful lights. I was the last box that she opened. Yes, my place on the tree was still bare. I wondered why she didn't place me in my usual place, but she only lifted the tissue from around me and put me on the table, I watched the bright lights twinkle on the tree, but still I sat all alone in my box.

Then one evening, I heard a rustle on the balcony, and I heard Cathy whisper his name, As she opened the balcony doors, I could only see his silhouette in the moonlight, He was a very tall man with long honey colored hair, When Cathy moved into his awaiting arms, I could feel their love fill the chilly air.

I heard him tell her how beautiful the tree was, and she told him that she had decorated it just for him. Her voice betrayed her feelings for him as they clung together.

Then she told him she had saved the best for him, she left him standing on the balcony as she entered the apartment. She moved towards me, and gently lifted me from my box. Carefully, she carried me towards the cool, brisk air of her balcony. As I neared the figure, I could begin to see his features more clearly, As Cathy moved close, she held out her hands to him.

"I have saved this last ornament for you Vincent. This was always my favorite, and I would wait until the very last thing to place it on the top of the tree. This year, I wanted you to do it."

As she extended her hand, I got my first true glimpse of him, He was so large, and as his hands reached out to take me, I shuddered. I had always been held by such loving, gentle hands. Now Cathy was going to give me to someone whose hands were covered with fur and whose nails were like claws. I just knew that I would be crushed. I waited for the end and then I first felt his touch. He carefully took me into one hand, and held me up so that the moonlight would bathe my features.

"Oh, Catherine, this is an exquisite star. It is the most beautiful that I have ever seen."

His hands were so gentle as they held onto me, Cathy showed him where to put me, and he lifted me ever so carefully and placed me in the spot I have always occupied. When I was in position, he wouldn't let go of me until he was certain that I was securely on the tree.

As Cathy plugged in the lights, I heard a sigh escape his lips as he looked at me in awe, "Catherine, this is the most beautiful tree. Thank you for sharing it with me."

As I stood tall and proud on the tree, I saw him take Cathy into his strong arms and hold her tightly. You know it should have been very cold on the balcony this time of year, but the love that radiated from the two figures below warmed the air, As I watched them, I knew that I would be looking down from my place onto this loving scene for many years to come.

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