Amber shuffled through her birthday cards, scanning the well wishes until the words blurred together. A hot tear spilled down her frigid cheek. She stacked them on the end of the kitchen counter. Reading the rest would have to wait.
She shuffled back to the entrance and re-tacked the draft-blocking coverlet over the door. The hefty, black bag lingered beside the mat. Still unwrapped, the gift tarried in the drafty foyer like an unwelcome guest. Although she had gradually moved all the canned goods to the pantry, the trash bag remained.
Amber grunted as she lowered her bulbous shape to the floor. The knotted handle-ties resisted efforts from her numb fingertips. She finally worked the drawstrings open and unpeeled a hulking, vent-grilled space heater. The worn lettering on the control panel suggested years of use. As she freed the base from its plastic trappings, a folded piece of notebook paper fell from the back.
Scrolled in raspberry-scented marker, the note read, “Sorry it isn’t new. I used it in my room, since I get cold so easy. I won’t be needing it much longer. Thought you could use it more. Love, Angela.”
Amber shook her head. “I hope she got a new heater. Otherwise, both of us have been freezing while the heater sat here. I’m such a troll.”
As she wrangled the heater into the living room, her mind whirled. Apologies. Gratitude. And how to make amends with the willowy child whose heart outweighed her. She plugged the device into the wall and sat on the chair facing it. With a tap at the control, the gift chirped at her. Deep inside the grill, an inner glow mounted. Warmth spread across her face and reached around her arms in a soothing embrace. Whatever she managed to say, she must make a point of speaking with that precious girl soon.
****TO BE CONTINUED****
“The generous will themselves be blessed,
for they share their food with the poor.” — Proverbs 22:9
scanned the fresh blanket of snow