The two "chapters" of this story are actually two extremely short stories that stand alone. However, in order to understand this author's intent, they need to be read together. This tale was written before the Internet. It is important that the reader understand that there were no online radio broadcasts from faraway places. If you were hearing something, it was coming from a local station.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
This is a non-profit, amateur publication written for the enjoyment of STARMAN fans, and is not meant to infringe upon copyrights held by Henerson-Hirsch Productions, Michael Douglas Productions, Columbia Pictures Television, or ABC-TV.
THE BEST GIFT OF ALL
"You've got that far off look you always accuse me of having." Paul smiled at his sixteen year old son.
Scott glanced up at his father, and then turned to stare at the Christmas tree again. "Yeah, I guess so. I was just thinking."
"About what?" Paul sat next to Scott on the floor in front of the couch. He didn't want to pry, but Scott had become very quiet in the last hour.
Scott met his father's eyes. "Stella."
"I've thought a lot about her too. It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since we met her. This is our second Christmas together, and we even have our own tree. Just look at it." Paul gestured towards the small tree they'd just finished decorating. It wasn't quite two feet tall, but was burdened with many hand-made ornaments. They'd cut red, green, blue and gold 'snowflakes' from a sheet of multi-colored Christmas wrap. Bows and garlands of ribbon adorned the tiny branches. Many silver stars and silver 'spheres' had been made from aluminum foil and hung with much laughter. A few candy canes were scattered among the branches. "Have you ever seen a better tree?"
Scott had to laugh at his father's enthusiasm over the small tree. "Well, I've seen bigger and fancier, but none I've ever liked better." Scott returned his father's smile for a moment, but soon he was quietly staring at the tree again.
"You're thinking about more than Stella, aren't you?"
"Yes." Scott looked around the dingy, poorly furnished apartment where they'd lived for two weeks. He could hear screaming children in the apartment on the left, and a scratchy rendition of "Jingle Bells" coming from the apartment on the right. "You're supposed to be with your family at Christmas time. I was just wondering where Mom is, and whether she's all right."
Paul was unsure what to say to make Scott feel better. His experience with Christmas and its traditions was limited, but he understood the importance of family. "Stella became very important to both of us in a very short time, didn't she?"
Scott's eyes never left the tree as he mumbled, "Yeah."
"Well, don't you see, you don't have to be related to be family. We must believe Jenny is with people who care for her, as if she were a part of their family."
"Yeah, I suppose so." Scott sat silently for a moment before turning to his father. "But, like the song says, you're supposed to go home for the holidays. Does Mom even have a home?"
Paul looked at his son and wished he knew the answer to that question. "We can hope so. Most people I've met are very nice. Christmas is supposed to be a time for love and goodwill, so I want to believe your mother is with friends."
"Me too." Scott gazed deeply into his father's eyes. Here was a man who'd given up his whole world for him. What better example of the true meaning of Christmas could there be? "I'm just glad we're together, even if we don't have a real home."
"But Scott, we have a home wherever we are, as long as we're together." Paul placed his hand on Scott's knee. "I know our life is hard, and our Christmas memories may be very different from other families, but that just makes them special. Like you're special to me."
Scott didn't respond, but nodded in agreement. He turned away so his father wouldn't see his tear-filled eyes. "You know, I don't even remember having a Christmas with Mom. I was too little when she had to give me up. I've...I've never even given my mom a Christmas present."
Paul moved his hand to his son's shoulder and squeezed gently. "Yes you did, Scott. You gave her your love, and that's the best gift of all."
Scott blinked to clear the tears from his eyes. He turned and embraced his father in a tight hug. "I love you, Dad. You're special to me, too." The sound of Bing Crosby singing, "I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams" came from the adjoining apartment.