By Christmas Eve, her eye had healed completely and she was in high spirits. It was now three days before their wedding, counseling was doing them good and this was her and Alan’s sixth Christmas together. Each year they spent Christmas Eve with his family, and Christmas day with hers. Though she was used to the rural Christmas’ her Mothers family hosted at their farmhouse in Homestead, the 23rd was typically held in Sunny Isles at his father’s condominium. It was all champagne glasses, heavy Cuban accents and women who saved their sexiest outfits for this holy-day. Christmas day, with Lydia’s family, was a stark contrast. Her mother’s family had moved to Homestead from Alabama to expand their farming business a few years before her parents met, and their Christmas celebrations still held onto those warm Southern ideals. The accents here were country, the dresses were loose and festive and the drink of choice was eggnog. Unspiked.
Perhaps this was why it never failed that Lydia was alone more often than not at these soirees. This Christmas was particularly uncomfortable for her because she wasn’t one who loved to be the center of attention. By the time she could escape the “Ayye Que Divina tu pelo”, and the “are you ready for your big day?” and the “despues la wedding, it’s time for a baby” the moon was so lost in the sky the stars took center stage. She listened to the waves
Alan had drunk himself into a stupor well before midnight. Lydia attempted to calm him down, as he was beginning to embarrass himself, but her attempts were futile. The more she tried to quell him, the more enraged he became. Until finally, in front of everyone he yelled “Get out, you bitch! No one wants you here but ME and you’re pushing it.”
She called a cab but while she was waiting outside Alan came out.
“That’s right, run. Everytime someone hurts your little feelings you go cry in the corner. Well WAHH WAHH WAHH”.
Alans sister and a few of his cousins followed Alan out. Some of the men were able to sit Alan down. His sister approached the cab as Lydia climbed in.
“I’m sorry Lyd,” she said.
“Me too.” And with that Lydia took off into the cab.
Utterly embarrassed Lydia allowed the door to be closed and sat facing forward as though she were a race horse, Versace blinders and all. The tears began falling slowly, heavily down her Givenchy powdered face. She felt flattened, as though Atlas had, indeed, shrugged. Trying to get her wits about her, she rummaged in her purse as the taxi pulled off, looking for her cell so that she could send another “How dare you” text to Alan. When the driver asked “where to” for the second time, Lydia cleared her throat, but before she could answer a heavy Creole accent replied “ENTER ADDRESS IN SUNNY ISLES”
Turning and nearly getting whiplash Lydia noticed that there was another passenger in the cab. A middle-aged woman who emitted grace in every movement. Not looking at Lydia she opened her Chanel clutch, and daintily removed an old-fashioned cigarette holder, cigarette and lighter.
“I hope you don’t mind Lydia, but it’s high time I introduced myself. Thought this ride home could best be put to use if I explained it all to you.”
“How do you know my name?” Lydia was curious, not frightened.
“I know everything about you. Including the fact that you are going to be married in three days’ time, but for now, you’re miserable, and you need my help to get you and this young man out of a rut.”
“I’m sorry. Who –“
“Baby girl I thought you watched all those Disney movies when you were a child. I know you did. Now, you tell me what you need, your deepest desire, and *poof* just like that it’s yours. Who else could give you that?”
“Some stalker, a lunatic, this ain’t no Disney movie darling.” She sighed. Though she thought this stranger to be crazy, her emotional frustration was at it’s peak and she felt no need to cause any commotion with this woman, She was always taught to respect her elders. “I’m sorry,” she repeated with a mild coldness in her voice, “I really don’t mean to be rude, but it’s kind of creepy that you know all this about me and I don’t even know you’re name.”
Sarcastically, Lydia responded “Please to make your-“
“I don’t have a-”
“Your fairy godmother.”Lydia glanced at the driver.
“Don’t worry about him” Evangeline chuckled, “He doesn’t even speak English.”
The statistics ran through Lydia’s mind. The chances of her running into someone who knew her name and that she was about to be married weren’t very high. True enough Alan came from an extremely social family, and yes their wedding announcement was in the papers, but this was Miami. She was no celebrity. And there was something in Evangeline’s eyes that said purely and simply: I’m telling the truth.
“Here,” Evangeline said as she smiled softly at Lydia. “A Christmas gift”.
And there it was. As they rode down Colins back to the hotel Lydia was staying in in preparation for the wedding, snow began to fall. It was a miracle. As the raindrops fell they seemed to have decided that they weren’t raindrops at all, but snowflakes. They fell on Palm trees and as far as she could see in the dark, they blended with the sand. Hazy lights from Art Deco signs poured through the snowfall.
Lydia was speechless. She rolled down her window and let a few flakes fall onto the palm of her hand. They weren’t as cold as she’d always imagined them to be. When she turned back to speak to Evangeline, there was no one there. The cab pulled up to her hotel, she got out, paid the driver and as she turned, her phone notified her of a new text message.
“What is it you really want, honey? – Evangeline”
Lydia took a shower and climbed into bed. As she lay there she stared at her wedding gown placed on a mannequin until it was time for the big show. She wondered what had happened to her and Alan. Wondered why he was so angry now. She took out her phone and saw a log of twenty missed calls from Alan. And another “I’m sorry” text. Then she went back to the message from Evangeline.
“Well,” Lydia said aloud to the empty room. “If you are it. Really it. I want a happy, peaceful, marriage. I want love, true unconditional love and I want Alan to be a the best man he can be”.
And with that, she fell asleep.
Evangeline stood for a moment watching the woman breathe softly. “Tomorrow,” she whispered into her ear. And she pulled the covers up to tuck Lydia in properly.
When Lydia awoke there was a huge breakfast with all of her favorites being carried in by room service. Along with a rather grotesquely large flower arrangement.
“Lyd, I am a changed man. Please do whatever you need to do to clear your head. I’ll be waiting on your call. No more drinking, I promise. Please, please forgive me. –Alan”
Lydia smiled to herself. She wondered if this was the magic that was meant to be hers. The magic she’d waited for her entire life. Was it true? Was Alan born again in the night?
As she pondered she reached for the mimosa glass and noticed a small note tied to it. “Drink with caution Lydia. Should you prove to love someone truly in three day’s time, you will get the love you deserve. The true love you wish for. If you drink and do not show love, then honey, you will be miserable. But, if you don’t drink, you will have the life you would have had, had I not come along. –Evangeline
Lydia thought of last nights snow. She drank the potion without pause.