Title: So this is Christmas 

Author: Mac <ngaiomw@yahoo.com

Story: short story/vignette 

Rating: G 

Summary: One man's thoughts as his first Christmas in the D.C. approaches. 

Spoilers: Small stuff for "The Crackpots and These Women" and "In Excelsis Deo" 

Timeline: 1998

Disclaimers: The West Wing and its characters belong to Aaron Sorkin and et al. "Happy Xmas (War is over)" was written by John Lennon.

Author's note: This was inspired in part by a Christmas tradition my parents have; they sit down to watch a Christmas episode of Riptide where the song is used (I can't remember the name of it). This hasn't been proofed over so please forgive any mistakes made in it.

Feedback is nice, but only give it if you really want to.

******* 

1 December

I look out the window of my office. My staff is getting ready for the holiday season. I know they are excited. I'm a little nervous; this Christmas is special. It's our first Christmas since the impossible happened. The first day of December and there's no sign of snow. That's not right. I should be seeing great big flakes of crystallized water floating to the ground by now. Instead all I see is barren trees. I shake my head in disbelief and try to find my glasses. "Mrs. Landingham!" It takes a few moments before she appears in the door. She looks at me expectantly. I guess I'm still in the doghouse for not eating my vegetables this afternoon. " Have you seen my glasses lately?"

******* 

7 December

Fifty-seven years today. Fifty-seven years ago our country went into chaos. Now those men and women are asking for just a little recognition. I don't blame them. They deserve to be remembered. Mrs. Landingham comes into my office and announces Admiral Fitzwallace. He's supposed to bring me up to date on something. I can't remember what it is. I know he didn't serve in World War Two, but I have to say it. I have to say thank you. I wave him and before we begin I say, "Thank you for serving."

******* 

1400 EST 

23 December

I noticed that Mrs. Landingham isn't her usual chipper self. She has become withdrawn. So much so that she didn't give me a hard time for barely touching the rabbit food I was given for lunch. As I think about it more, I recall that she usually gets this way every year. I wonder why.

******* 

1730 EST 

23 December

It's the end of the day. I still have a lot of reading to do. Abbey and the girls won't be home until tomorrow morning. Mrs. Landingham stops in to see if there is anything I need before she goes. I start to say no, but I remember that there is something that I wanted to know. I ask her to take a seat. She's startled. In all the time that she has worked for me, I have never asked her to stay late this close to Christmas. I tell her that there has been something that was bugging me all day. I ask as gently as I can about this 'blueness' that seems to swallow her every year. It takes her a couple minutes before she tells me about her boys. I feel guilty. I've known this woman for twelve years and not once have I asked her about her family. She tells me that it's all right. She didn't want to depress me so she kept it her to herself all this time. I understand now. Now I know why she treats the staff the way she does. It all makes sense. I make sure she knows that if she ever needs a shoulder to cry on or just someone to talk to, I'm available. She gives me a small smile. I tell her that she doesn't have to come tomorrow night if she doesn't want to. She thanks me and leaves the office.

******* 

2358 EST 

23 December

I put down the last of my paperwork. I'm done for now. Tomorrow will be a busy day. I start to put on my coat as the clock strikes midnight. The radio station that I've been listening to comes back from a commercial break. I reach over to turn it off when the words "So this is Xmas" reach my ears. I sit down in my chair and turn up the volume a little bit.

So this is Xmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Xmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this Xmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Xmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this Xmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Xmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Happy Xmas

******* 

1900 EST 

24 December

Ron and I had a long talk about what I wanted to do. I didn't want any press with me while I did this. I found the panel I was looking for. 1970. I hadn't even met Abbey yet. I place a votive candle at the base of the panel amongst the roses and light it. Taking a step backward I softly say thank you. As I'm guided back to the limo I notice a Navy Lieutenant Commander touching another panel. Just before I get in, I see him give a sharp salute and slowly walk away. The motorcade heads back to the Cottage and to the first Bartlet Christmas in the White House.

 

The End

 

 

 

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