Here is part 3 of #Holiday. Zara Gates must deal with being alone on #Christmas, in the year 2100. It's a #shortstory of regrets, and how Zara has to deal with how she's gotten there. This is the last part. If you enjoyed it, great! Please share it. If you have suggestions to improve it, those are welcome too. ;)
This story is an attempt to address loneliness and depression during this time of year. If you have suicidal thoughts or that sort of dark emotions, there are people who can help you online to deal with that. Don't think you have to suffer.
Part 1 | Part 2
Holiday Part 3.
Zara walked out of the Crossway in Helena at sunset. Christmas eve. Every breath foggy she exhaled felt ragged.
She didn't bother with turning on her cochlears. She just wandered around outside the Crossway station. She didn't know what she was supposed to do. She'd never spent a Christmas alone. There always had been someone.
Lingering bitterness about Paul came back to her too. "Why did I live so long?"
Zara didn't cry. Not in public. Not in Helena. It was a strange city. Nothing like how she remembered it forty or more years ago. Buildings and things that Zara didn't recognize. Apps would guide her to her hotel.
But she didn't want to go to her hotel. Zara's stomach stung. She wasn't hungry. The tears wouldn't stop trying to come out.
Her blind wandering and stumbling ended when Zara took stock of where she'd been going. She looked down. And down. Three stories high above black pavement. The older woman dropped to her knees. She put both hands on either side of the building's edge.
"No." Zara told herself. This wasn't her. She shouldn't even have been able walk to a ledge like this.
Cars and foot traffic moved about below unaware of her. Not much. Most people still seemed to stay indoors. This weather wasn't the cold she remembered as a child. But something about the growing dark of night, it cut to the bone just much as it did when she was younger.
Zara's eyes blurred with tears.
"I don't want to do this. I'm healthy, I'm alive... I'm..."
Maybe that was the center of it. Who would care if she did die? Why was she working so hard to live? Paul never got to have that. Zara couldn't remember what he looked like. The image the net had of him looked foreign to her.
"That was my fault." She told herself. "Why didn't I move up here to be with my brother?"
No one answered it.
"I've locked myself alone for so long." Zara looked down at her wrinkled hands. She still would have worked, if she could find someone willing to hire an old woman like herself. "But why?"
Zara watched the people below. She didn't have anyone left. Her friends had long married, moved or died on their own.
She climbed to the edge of the building. A breeze drifted by, pushing her away from it. She shivered. She closed her eyes.
"I just want a white christmas." Zara told herself. "I just want a white Christmas-"
Zara looked back down. A child's scream caught her attention. A little girl, no more than five or maybe six, was sobbing on the sidewalk below. People walked around her. Zara recognized that look. The lonesome tears.
"Mommy?!" The girl cried. Zara winced at the tone.
"Mooooommmy!" The girl cried again. She fell down at the edge of the sidewalk. Her little blue coat looked like it had been soaked by the puddles and slush of the too-warm winter.
Zara closed her eyes and stepped away from the edge of the building. She listened to the crying little girl.
"Ari?" A woman's voice replied. "You're soaking wet! What happened?"
"Mommy- I tried to make a snowball and fell into the puddle." The little girl sniffed. "I feel cold."
The woman chuckled a bit. Zara watched the woman take the girl's hand. The two walked off, down the street.
That girl wants snow, Zara thought. She doesn't know what it was like. We took that away from her.
Zara's eyes stayed on them, until they disappeared into the cold night. Snowflakes of a sort began to drift from the sky above. The older woman thought about the edge of the building again.
Zara made a decision. She went back to where it was warm.
She didn't know how she was going to make that Christmas happen. But Zara was certain she could give a stranger somewhere a Christmas. Maybe one like the ones she remembered. Maybe that would get rid of the cold she felt in her heart.
"A white Christmas." Zara told herself. "Just like the ones we used to know."