by H. A. Titus -
The glimmer of something shiny caught Marly's eye through the stacks of stuff in her grandmother's apartment. She slipped away from the two women standing beside her—the lawyer and her mom—and crawled over a chair laden with clothes.
"Marly? Don't wander far. We don't know what could be in here," Mom called, her voice sounding wrinkly with disgust. "I hadn't spoken to my mother in years, and for good reason. Why would she care if I inherited all this bugcrap?"
That last must have been to the lawyer-lady, who hadn't stopped fidgeting since they'd met. Marly twisted her mouth and carefully moved a few knickknacks from the table she was half-standing on.
The dusty glimmer she'd seen was a round globe with weird-looking white stuff and glitter inside. Porcelain figures holding hands gathered around a tiny wooden-looking house-like building that was open in the front. Marly picked up the globe and peered inside the house. Animals? And a couple holding a baby? What was this thing?
She shifted to bring it closer to the lights, and the foot not on the table slipped. Marly squealed as she tumbled headfirst into a pile of clothing.
"Marly!" She felt Mom grab her ankle and pull. "Marly? Are you okay?"
Marly flailed free of the clothes. "Yeah, fine. Hey Mom—"
Mom turned to find the lawyer-lady, and Marly caught a glimpse of the woman's coattails as she slipped out the door. Mom sighed and planted her hands on her hips. "Wonderful. I suppose I'll have to find a cleaning crew to haul all this junk out of here. Maybe we can rent it out once it's decent."
"Mom?" Marly stood up and held up the globe. "What is this?"
Mom's eyes went soft, reminding Marly of the blue crocheted blanket her grandma had made for her when she was a baby. Mom took the globe from her and turned it upside down. The white stuff flew into the top part of the globe, and when she righted it, slowly drifted down among the figures.
"It's a snowglobe," Mom said. "And this is a Nativity scene." She pointed to the wooden house. "It's to celebrate a holiday Grandma called Christmas. I'd forgotten all about it! I think it's actually close to the time she used to celebrate it."
"What's…" Marly rolled her tongue around the weird word. Just the syllables themselves made her feel a little shivery and expectant, like it was something she was supposed to be looking forward to. "Christmas?"
"A wonderful, beautiful holiday, Marly. Let's go home, and I'll show you." Mom straightened, cradling the snowglobe close to her body, and looked around the apartment. "Merry Christmas, Mom."