As a child I remember being outside in fall. I stood in the open field, surrounded by a fence of trees. The wind blew hard and steady, pulling the orange, red and brown leaves from their branches and into the air like snow. I spun around in circles, arms out, head turned up towards the sky, dancing in the leaf rain. They fell so beautifully and slowly, I didn’t want it to end. That magical moment when the world stopped and only I existed in it. - C.A. Sullivan
Category: Short Stories
The City at Christmastime
The passenger train pulled up to the station. Madeline stood with her parents in awe of the majestic beast that approached. Smoke trailing in the chill winter air, train whistle sounding as it came to a halt. The conductor stepped off and said “All aboard!” Madeline was so excited! Her parents were taking her to New York City for the very first time.
They stepped onto the train and took their seats as it pulled away from the station. Madeline sat and watched out the window as they passed houses, trees and towns. Some towns they even stopped in to pick up other passengers. It wasn’t long before the conductor announced the next stop, New York, Penn Station.
Once they arrived in the city they took the stairs out of the train station and up to the busy street. Loud car horns, taxis waiting in line to pick up passengers, smells of both delicious food and dirty streets hit Madeline’s scenes as she emerged from below the city.
Madeline’s parents were taking her to the Winter Village at Bryant Park. Rather than take a taxi, they decided to walk from Penn Station on 34th Street to 6th Avenue, up to Bryant Park. Along the way people walked briskly, stopping and going, not all following the pedestrian street lights. Some bumping into Madeline and her parents as she held her mother’s hand tightly. Buildings lined every street and towered over the people below. Car horns sounded, people yelling, police whistles blowing. There was excitement all around.
As they walked up 6th Avenue, Madeline could see the winter village in the distance. Getting closer and closer, she could make out the green merchant booths and see people shopping all around. Stepping into the village was like stepping into another world full of wonder and amazement. This one, more protected than the city streets and full of cheerful music and laughter. Booths lined the walkways, each with hand crafted gifts waiting to be admired, purchased, gift wrapped and opened with excitement on Christmas day. They walked through each booth, exploring what each merchant had to offer. Jewelry, macaroons, scarves, metal sculptures and more. Stopping at few to purchase wonderful gifts for family and friends.
Then, as they rounded the bend, an ice skating rink caught Madeline’s eye! What fun it looked like! The skaters bundled in their winter hats and gloves, skating round the rink as holiday music played in the background. Madeline wanted a try. She laced up her skates and hit the ice. The crisp winter air hitting her face and blowing her hair as she circled the rink, around and around she went. What freedom is was, to glide over the ice. Madeline imagined skating must feel like flying…right skate, left skate, pushing off the ground with such ease as if it wasn’t even there.
It was getting dark now. The white lights that were strung from booth to booth, connecting each to one another, began to illuminate. And the towering building lights from above, lit up the night sky. Madeline’s parents waved her off the ice. They were waiting on the sidelines with her favorite, hot chocolate. She took a sip. It tasted chocolatey rich, creamy smooth and had a hint of cinnamon. It warmed her to her heart.
Now that her parents Christmas shopping was done and Madeline got to ice skate for quite some time, it was time go home. They made their way through the busy city streets and back to Penn Station. Madeline feel asleep on the train ride home, dreaming of day’s magical adventure. She’d never forget the city at Christmastime and all it’s wonder. As a matter of fact, her parents made it a tradition to visit the city in all the years that followed.
– C.A. Sullivan
I walked through the tomato garden with my Poppy after the fresh rain. The smell of wet earth hung in the air. Bright green vines hung from the plants. My shoes sunk in the moist soil with each step. We walked together as he spoke to me about the tomatoes. I plucked one from the vine and bit into it’s juicy red skin enjoying it’s sweet flavor. Mrs. Pine’s German Shepherd was nearby. My Poppy was house sitting for Mrs. Pine while she way away. He always took me on adventure’s there. Her house was like a castle, filled with rooms to explore.
Inside, it was like a scene out of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As I explored each room, I expected to find the magic wardrobe, but never did. The house library was magical though. My Poppy used to read there. Books of every kind lined the walls. A latter extended up one wall so that you could reach. It smelled like book paper, bindings and old cigarettes. A huge desk sat in the middle of the room. It was full of papers, books and trinkets. Poppy sat in the chair and read as I continued to explore.
I often wondered what he read that kept him so interested. I longed to write stories that kept people’s attention the way books kept his. We spent a lot of time together reading, playing board games and exploring the public library. It was his love of books that inspired me to write. Writing reminds me of his love and the time we spent together.