Cozy Comforts

Barbara snuggled beneath the bearskin blanket as snow fell in giant flakes outside the picture window. She breathed on the glass, drew a doodle in the mist, and watched it disappear. The evening grew darker and the flakes came with a fury she had not seen in many years. She glanced at the calendar: if her calculations were correct, a new year was dawning on Earth. She touched a spot on the window and a screen appeared. When the red light stopped blinking, she began:

It’s been 450 years there. Hard to believe that in space-time, I’ve only been gone 16 years. I think I look the same but you’re …

She stopped as the tears fell freely. She’d been the only one selected from her family and friends to go. It was a combination of heath, stamina, and fitness for the journey the officials said. Before she could think on it too deeply, the screen beeped.

‘Hey great-great-great-gramma!’

She wiped her tears and looked up to see a smiling face. ‘Hello, darling,’ she answered. ‘Hold on one moment!’ She dashed to the kitchen and returned with a tall glass of chocolate milk with a straw.

The little girl on the screen held up a similar glass. ‘I thought you might have forgotten.’

‘How could I forget our New Year’s tradition?’ Barbara and the child smiled and blew milk bubbles together to celebrate the dawn of another year. Together.

I’ve been on a break from work. Sort of.

My primary gig took a pause as of the 22nd of December and won’t get going again until the 5th of January. This gave me a chance to let my arm rest as I’d had a repetitive motion injury. I spend all day on the computer and add that to the repeated motion of going to the gym and well, yeah. Ouch. I spent a good bit of time on my loveseat under a fleece throw as I caught up on a number of television series episodes and movies. I still did my other usual stuff like house chores though — one day, I posted a ‘guess what I was drinking whilst washing dishes and I’ll write you into a story’ comment on social media. My friend and colleague, Dr. Barbara Randolph, guessed hot chocolate with a candy cane in it, which was closest to a glass of chocolate milk with a straw in it.

And there you have it!