Woman’s World 24 Dec 12 Story by Connie Ferdon
by Linda C Butler
The black moment comes as Hannah sets the box down and turns to leave, and the reader wonders if the meet will take place. Our first introduction of Adam is when he addresses Hannah’s back as she retreats down the front steps. Most people would say “Hello”, but instead Adam says “May I help you?” He sounds like a salesman. What is he selling? Maybe the answer is “himself”.
Hannah is greeted by a “tousle-haired man pulling on a sweater over a close-fitting white tee shirt.” He is just getting dressed and because he was slow coming to the door, we can assume he just came out of the shower, or just got up. The white tee shirt is probably form-fitting and shows off his chest to advantage. He has no shirt. This is a strong sexual image. Hannah acknowledges that this is “no middle aged retiree.” However, she is efficient and hands over her package and an explanation and is ready to leave again. He blinks, indicating his surprise and smiles crookedly, indicating that he is thinking of her in the negligee. He hands over the negligee package and says that he did not select it for his aunt, which suggests that she is the only female in his life that he shops for. We assume he is single.
Adam, in a reckless moment, asks Hannah to come in for coffee and to get acquainted and says he knows about her taste in sleepwear. She responds with a snide comment about his golf, and he realizes how bad his joke sounds. He says “I’m sorry if I added to your distress by joking about it.” This apology sounds like it is more than just an apology for a joke. If he had her package for a number of days he may have fantasized about her in the Christmas red negligee, although he was too shy to invite her into his life by delivering the package to her. In addition to apologizing for the joke, he is apologizing for his thoughts about her.
Adam asks her for a new start and introduces himself and asks her to join him for coffee. He’ll start a fresh pot, another new beginning. He now sees Hannah as a person he wishes to get to know for herself.
Hannah’s movements are interesting. Adam first talks to her back as she retreats but fortunately she turns around and comes back up the steps. They face each other in conversation, but as Adam holds the door for her, and as she steps into the house, he draws her attention to the snow. Hannah, who had been facing the interior of the house, now turns to look outside and “looked at the soft flakes that had begun to drift from the sky.” The snowflakes will form a soft blanket which suggests that all their past mistakes will disappear and they can start afresh.
Her physical position has gone from retreating, to coming back, to facing him, facing the interior of the house, then looking out at the sky. Maybe this movement is symbolic of her life – perhaps she retreated from love, then took a few steps to come to the top again, met Adam, saw her future as she looked inward at home and family and then outward towards the world. When she says that “It’s going to be a beautiful Christmas!”, it is because she and Adam are both ready to find and receive love. The story takes place at Christmas but it contains the hope that this new start will continue into the New Year. What she really means is that “It is going to be a beautiful life.”