Title: Where the Love Light Gleams
Where The Love Light Gleams
Sam smiled at his childhood home; sitting nestled among the liquid amber trees that held tight to some of their golden leaves. The grass leading to the front door was yellowed slightly with winter cold but sparkled green in the morning dew. It was Christmas morning and he couldn't wait to walk up the driveway and knock on the door. It had been so long since he had been home. Home on this street in LA where east coasters pretended that a white Christmas might happen.
His sister was here, and that looked like Nana's car, he thought as he looked up the street. They would be surprised to see him. He raised his hand to knock on the door, the feeling was heart warming, the gentle thud of the wood door. He closed his eyes remembering the thud of the door as he and his friends slammed in to it. "Ollie Ollie Oxen freefreefree!"
"UNCLE SAM!!" His niece screamed as she opened the door. "MOMMY! UNCLE SAM'S HERE! GET UP!" The six year old slammed into Sam's legs and squealed as Sam looked on slightly afraid.
"Uncle Sam!" His nephew holding a present came to the door.
"Hey Beth, Nikki."
"It's Nick now, Uncle Sam."
Sam smiled. "Nick, it is then. Is everyone up?" Sam picked up Beth and moved inside the house.
"We are now." Sam's sister, Sarah, was loping down the stairs pulling on her robe and finger combing her hair. "Hey little brother how is Washington?"
"Busy. How's teaching?" Sam hugged his sister handing off his niece to her.
Sam looked up to see his mother flying down the stairs at him. She looked beautiful, her hair already pulled back ready for cooking the feast. Sam's eyes prickled as he hugged her tightly. "I've missed you, mom."
"You should have told us you were coming." She chastised as she pulled back.
"I didn't want you to be disappointed if I couldn't get out of Washington."
"Yes, but I didn't buy any of makings for Watergate Salad."
"Its fine, mom. I'm happy just to be home for Christmas."
"Sam, son. How's it going?" Sam looked past his mother to see his father dressed and coming down the stairs followed by his brother-in-law, Mike.
"I'm good, dad. Hey Mike. How's everything?"
"Everybody's fine, Sam." His mother chastised. "You're the one we worry about."
"Washington isn't the cutthroat place that it seems to be." Sam lied shamelessly.
"We thought after the shooting, maybe." His sister, fidgeted with Beth in her arms.
"I'm fine. Josh's will be fine too. The President's fine. We're all fine."
"We worry. It's perfectly natural." Sam's father clapped Sam on the back. "So how long are you staying?"
"I have a flight back tonight. I couldn't get a later one." Sam watched the faces around him fall. "I don't have to leave until late, though. So we have all day."
"Is that my Sammie?" His Nana asked walking into the room. "Come here and give your old Nana a kiss, sweetie."
"Hey, Nana." Sam bent to kiss her cheek and give her a hug.
"Your mother been telling you we all worry."
Sam felt a light smack on his cheek. "Don't you forget it. Just cause you' re living the life there in Washington doesn't mean you don't have family that worries."
Nana turned back to large group gathered in the foyer. "Did Santa visit last night?" She asked the kids.
"YES!" They both shouted.
"Good. Then lets go rip paper." Nana turned to beat the children into the living room where the large tree sat. Sam smiled at the hodge podge of ornaments that covered the eight-foot Douglas fir. There was the one that he had made in the fourth grade. And the one Sarah and he had made at the mall together. The golden engraved one he had sent from Princeton his first year there.
"Uncle Sam! Come sit by me!" Beth called out from her place beside both the tree and the fireplace. Sam smiled as Sarah handed him a bag for the wrapping paper her daughter was about to shred.
Sam smiled at his family who laughed at the various gifts that surrounded them. The paper was cleaned up and all that lay between them was warmth, love and a serenity that Sam tucked in his heart for the coming year.
"I need to go put the turkey in the oven." His mother stood up as Nick unwrapped his game of scrabble.
"So who wants to play a game?" He asked the adults. Sarah said something about a shower but Mike, Grandpa and Beth raised their hands. "Sure you guys don't want to play with the Playstation?" Nick asked glancing at the box longingly.
"What did I tell you about the Playstation?" Sarah asked from the doorway.
"I can't open the box until my room is clean, and since we're two hours away that means I have to wait for tomorrow."
"Yes, sir. You do." Sarah started up the stairs as Sam's dad started to set up the game board, making sure the tray swiveled.
"Sam, aren't you going to play?" Mike asked drawing his seven letters.
"Beth and I are a team. Aren't we?" Sam asked the little girl that sat in his lap.
"We're going to kick but." She said simply, counting aloud as she pulled the letters.
Sam couldn't figure out how, the stupid pants fit Barbie. They were the same size as Barbie's legs, but they weren't going on.
"Here Uncle Sam, it just takes practice. You can put the top on Krista while I fix this." Sam watched fascinated as Beth's fingers deftly got the pants on Barbie, and then combed through her plastic hair.
Sam looked at the red headed doll in his hand and then examined the top, finally figuring out where what parts go. He snapped the top on and marvel at the twenty dolls that surround him. There was a plate that held high heels and tennis rackets and other assorted pink items. He looked again at the scantily clad dolls. Didn't they have any suits like CJ and Cathy wore? Elegant and feminine, without belonging to the women he used to skirt around in New York?
"Here, comb her hair now." Sam had a very small brush thrust into his hands. He pulled it through Krista's hair losing his grip on the brush in her tangles. Beth looked at Sam's oversized hands and the small brush. Her brow furrowed and Sam looked too at his hands and brush. He saw a bright flash and saw his sister Sarah laughing with the Camera.
"You two had on the same face." She laughed as both the Barbie people stuck their tongues at her.
"His hands are too big, Mommy." Beth said in complaint. Sam held up his hands in surrender.
"Well that's a shame, honey, but it's time to put away your Barbie's and help Grandpa outside."
Sam watched as the Barbie's were put away and each shoe was accounted for. He gratefully handed over the brush and Krista and sighed as Beth raced off to find her Grandpa.
"Make yourself useful and find the poem." His sister directed him, tossing a book at him. Sam grunted as the heavy volume landed in his lap.
Sam wrinkled his nose, trying to return feeling to it. It wasn't cold enough to wear a jacket, just chilly enough that the wind ruffling the leaves reddened his nose. The families of the neighborhood gathered together on their wide front lawns each with an assigned task. The Seaborn task, the poem and benediction for a wonderful Christmas and a plentiful new year. His father smiled at the longtime neighbors and friends.
"This year, we have a treat. My son, speechwriter for President Bartlet wrote the benediction. I'm gonna sound like Bartlet, so Ha!" Sam laughed as his father played trombone with the paper in his hand.
"My longtime friends and neighbors,"
Sam heard a siren in the distance, the wails coming closer. He looked at his mother and Nana but they were ignoring the warnings. Sam felt a hand on his shoulder, shaking him lightly.
"Sir? What's your name? Can you tell me your name?" A man in an EMT uniform asked as Sam's blinked.
Sam closed his eyes and shook his head. Opening them, he found the neighborhood clapping as Sam's dad closed the book with the poem. His dad was bowing and his mother was hustling everyone inside for dinner. Sam waved them inside and sat down on the stairs to the front door.
Just a flashback. They were all having them now that the bustle of election was over. Some nights Sam thought he was really on the street in Roslyn, Virginia. Hearing the shots echo in his ears and against the warm street.
"Sir? Sam? Stay with me." Sam didn't remember that phrase, but that didn' t mean he hadn't heard it. "Sam?" Sam shook his head before turning to see his sister standing in the doorway.
"We're all ready, now." Instead of moving back into the house she came outside and sat on the stairs. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, just having a little problem. It'll go away."
"What's up little brother?"
"Nothing important. Just you know, nightmares, flashbacks. We had a counselor in. He said it was perfectly normal."
Sarah just nodded looking out over the neighborhood. "You did good, Sam. That night. Tackling CJ and all. You did really good."
"How did you know about that?" Sam asked curiously.
"I have my ways little brother."
"I was scared. I've never... I was really scared."
"I know." Sarah grabbed Sam's hand and gave it a squeeze. "We were all pulling for you here. You and Josh and the President."
"I know." Sam said simply, squeezing her hand in return.
"Lets go eat some turkey."
Sam sat by the fireplace; Nick snuggled by his side, Beth in his lap. They were both tired from the excitement of the day. Sam weary from the traveling and the long day closed his eyes listening to his family singing Christmas carols as they did every year. Drifting off with the lick of flames near his face, Sam felt himself floating in the air and heard a strong beep fill the air. The beep he remembered from Josh being hooked up in the ER. Josh. His heart called out. Sam opened his eyes and found himself looking at someone. He was wearing scrubs and speaking to Sam, but Sam closed his eyes feeling the flicking of the fireplace.
"I'll be home for Christmas You can count on me Please have Snow and mistletoe And Presents under the tree Christmas eve will find me Where the love light gleams I'll be home for Christmas."
Sam drifted off, holding tight to his niece and nephew, the warmth of the fire and the off key voices of his family calling to him.
Sam felt the coldness of the sheets. It was the first thing he realized. Followed by that was the beeps of a heart monitor and overhead calls for this doctor or that doctor.
"Sam?" A voice asked. "Mr. Seaborn?"
Sam opened his eyes and recognized the fact he was in extreme pain.
"Mr. Seaborn. My name is Dr.Weasley. I treated you when you came into the emergency room. You had been shot. Do you remember?"
Sam thought back to the day with his family. "No. Where?"
The doctor looked at someone behind him. He looked back at Sam. "Your at Georgetown University hospital. You were shot when you left a shelter, do you remember that? You were helping pass out gifts?"
Sam vaguely remembered telling Toby that's what he was doing Christmas Eve. But that was before he went to visit his family. Wasn't it?
"What day?" Sam asked.
"It's Christmas Day, Mr. Seaborn."
"The White House?"
The doctor nodded. "We got in touch with a Mr. McGarry. He was here until just a few minutes ago, he said to tell you that he'd send Toby or Josh to sit with you."
Sam took a deep breath, coughing and crumpling at the pain.
"Why don't I give you some more pain medication?"
Sam closed his eyes feeling the numbness spread from his right arm to the rest of his body.
Sam felt a hand gently holding his when he woke up again. He opened his eyes to see the first lady beside his bed.
"Hello, Sam. Nice to see you awake."
"I'll bet." She stood up so he didn't have to look so far over. "You gave everyone a scare."
"It's fine, Sam. We're just glad your better." Dr. Bartlet smoothed Sam's hair from his face. "Do you remember what happened?"
"They said I was shot."
"You were helping at a shelter. And when you came out, you were hit in a drive by. They had to remove you're spleen."
"I saw my family."
"I saw them on Christmas, I went home."
The first lady smiled sadly. "Sam, you were in the hospital all day yesterday. You couldn't have gone home."
"Yes, ma'am." Sam looked at her, realizing that what she said was true. "Why are you here? I mean-why isn't Josh or Toby-?"
"I decided to stop by and give the guys a break. They've been waiting for you to wake up again since yesterday.
"Sam is there someone else I should call? I mean Josh didn't call your family or anything."
"No, ma'am. They pass away a few years ago."
Dr. Bartlet though about that a few minutes and looked at him. "I thought you had a sister and her family."
"Yes, ma'am. They were killed in a drunk driving accident four years ago. It was one of the things that made me want to come to New Hampshire with Josh."
"I'm sorry, Sam."
"I had Christmas with them, this year. My sister, and my parents and my niece and nephew. My Nana kissed my cheek and told me she loved me."
"You had some nice dreams, Sam."
"Yeah." Sam's eyes drifted shut.
"If only in my dreams." Sam could hear the scratchy voice of his Nana finishing off the Christmas Carol in his head.
Why would a man who has a family spend Christmas in Bermuda? JUST A THOUGHT