This is the last of my short flashes about Silver's First Christmas. The rest can be found here
For those of you who haven't read the Enigma series. Silver is a former sex slave who, after having been beaten almost to death for loving another slave, ended up lost inside his head in a care home where River worked. With River's help he is slowly learning to live in the world outside his head, but isn't finding it easy because seven years ago everything that was essentially him (except for that little bit he managed to keep safe and inviolate) was wiped out to be replaced by someone who knows nothing but how to serve and to bring pleasure to men.
Despite his past, Silver is the sweetest and most beautiful person I have ever written. To see the world through his eyes is refreshing and invigorating for me.
In the next few flashes, we join River, Silver and River's twelve year old brother, Ben for Silver's very first Christmas. On Christmas Eve I will post a short story I wrote for a Special Edition of books I and II which was available for only a very short period of time, which gives us a slightly more in depth look at what Silver really things about Christmas
The tree is very pretty, much prettier than the one in the shop, and we have other decorations, too. Red and white stockings hang on the fireplace, big garlands of tree branches hang on the shelves, and there are table cloths, coasters and all kind of bits and pieces in red, green and gold, and mostly covered with tiny lights.
Not everything is decorated, though. River has left the windowsill for me. I think I might have bought too much of the little houses and trees that the art shop where I work, have set up in their window. I forgot it was so much bigger than ours. Besides, I got excited and couldn’t choose.
Ben is supposed to be helping, but he isn’t really. In fact he is getting in the way. He’s already broken two of the houses. River gets cross with him, but I don’t mind. I like to see him so excited. This is his first Christmas since his parents died, and River was worried he would be sad. River is hiding how sad he is, but I catch him sometimes, dreaming with his eyes open. I know he’s thinking of them. I don’t know my parents very well, but I would be very sad if they died.
When the houses are finally built, Ben helps me arrange them, with the tiny trees and sparkly cotton stuff that looks like snow. Ben has the idea of putting some of the tiny lights in the trees and around the houses. It looks very pretty.
River puts his arms around my waist and rests his head on my shoulder. “You look happy.”
“I am.” I really mean that. “I’m happier than I can ever remember.” That’s not entirely true, but I wouldn’t tell River I was happy when I was a slave, too. I know it was a bad thing to happen to me, and all the people who did it to me are bad, too, but…. Life was simpler then. For the last four years, my Masters treated me well. I was quite famous. I rode in limousines, wore beautiful clothes, and had the best cosmetics. Alright, I wasn’t free. I was still a slave, but I felt pride in what I did, and when my Master was pleased with me, I was happy.
River would never understand. He thinks everything that happened to me was bad, and I can’t blame him, considering how it ended. My Master was good to me – until he discovered I had fallen in love with another slave and ordered us both beaten to death. With David, they succeeded. With me, they almost did but, of course, ultimately they failed.
I am not going to think of that now. Although I have been free for well over a year, it’s my very first Christmas. I wasn’t really aware of Christmas when I was a slave, and last year I was in a coma…or in the dark place inside my head where I lived for a long time afterwards. Maybe I would still be there if River hadn’t found me and rescued me.
I’ve heard a lot about Christmas miracles, although I’m not sure why they’re different to any other miracles. It took a lot of miracles to get me where I am now, and I haven’t even had a Christmas yet.
“Now, where did that frown come from?”
“It’s not a frown; it’s just my thinking face.”
“Oh really? So what are you thinking about?”
“Just that this is my first Christmas. I know it isn’t; not really, but it’s the first I remember.” I turn in River’s arms and gaze into his beautiful face. It looks sad now, and I know why. He’s thinking about the same things I was, but in a much worse way. “There is no one I would rather spend my first Christmas with. You make my whole life light up, like the little lights on the tree, and everything is sparkly, and pretty, and bright. Just like the way you make me feel.”
“Sparkly and pretty and bright?”
“Yes.” I lean in to kiss him, but he pulls away and draws me across the room.
“Kiss me over here.”
“Why? Why does it matter where I kiss you?”
River looks up, and there’s a little bundle of green twigs hanging over our heads, with pretty bow–shaped leaves, and little round berries. I’ve noticed it before, and I thought it was a different kind of holly. Holly is much prettier, because the leaves are shiny, and the berried a pretty red colour.
“This is mistletoe,” River says. “It’s traditional for everyone to kiss under the mistletoe. It’s just for kissing.”
“No, not Ben; not for a few years, I hope. Just for grown–ups.”
“Oh. Well, it sounds like it’s quite important. This kissing thing.”
“It’s a tradition. Do you remember what I told you about traditions?”
“Yes, something that’s passed on, from one generation to another, over and over, right?”
“That’s right. And traditions have to be honoured.”
“I suppose, although I really don’t need traditions to kiss you. Maybe we can start a new tradition of kissing under the mistletoe, and under the tree, and in the kitchen and…well all over the house, and in as many places as you don’t get embarrassed in, outside the house.”
“That sounds like a good tradition to me.” River’s eyes are very bright. He has the prettiest eyes, and they shine brighter than the Christmas lights. I glance up at the mistletoe and wonder how many times, over the years, people have used it as an excuse to kiss someone they really want to kiss. We don’t need the mistletoe, but it’s nice to think about all those other kisses, as our lips meet and the mistletoe, the lights and everything else fades into one absolute certainty – I love River, and he loves me. That’s enough of a Christmas miracle for me.
Okay, you know the drill. Go check out the rest of our wonderful flashers, and don't forget a short story that tells you more about Silver and his first Christmas will be posted on Thursday