by author E. Motketsan
Ó Copyright 2002 All
opened the garage door and stood before it, waiting to walk
underneath. The snow had stopped falling now, but had dumped almost
five inches onto the driveway. He put the shovel's blade to the
concrete and began to push the snow down the driveway, making a long
path down the center to form two sections. When he got to the bottom,
he turned and walked back toward the garage and started to throw the
snow into the already towering mountains that stood on either side of
With each shovelful he threw, he remembered every Christmas his
family spent together. Daniel, his wife Jasmine and their
seven-year-old daughter, Maisha always loved the holiday season. Each
Christmas they would go out and find the perfect Scottish Pine tree;
the biggest one in the lot that would still fit in their living room.
Together, Maisha and Daniel would put the lights on the tree and then,
Jasmine and Maisha would fill it with ornaments. After they finished
with all the decorations, Daniel would lift Maisha bringing her close
to the tree so she could place her grandmother’s star on the top.
He stopped shoveling and looked up at the living room window. He
could see Maisha and Jasmine in the kitchen baking gingerbread
cookies. Maisha’s smile could be seen from across town. Her sweet
smile, large brown eyes, and gentle nature made Jasmine and Daniel’s
life so much more. Everyone who knew her was touched by her
graciousness. She was bright, caring, and never complained about her
illness. How blessed they were to have her.
A small smile grew across his face as he pushed the shovel into the
snow and threw it over the ever-growing mountain of fresh powder. I
will make Maisha a snow angel tomorrow, he thought. She would
like that. They could look at it together through the living room
window and… He paused for a moment as a tear rolled down his
cheek. Leaning his weight on the shovel, he reached his hand up to his
face to push it away. "We promised we wouldn’t be sad. Not now,
not this Christmas," Daniel said aloud.
He grabbed hold of the shovel and continued to make his way down
the driveway. Upon reaching the bottom, he stood up straight, holding
the small of his back. He looked out over the white landscape. The
tree branches were all covered with snow, sparkling with the
reflection of the moonlit sky. It was a beautiful night as he looked
up at the countless number of stars. "God, if you could just let
it be me instead. Please God, let her stay." Daniel lowered his
head and walked back toward the garage where he started to shovel the
other side of the driveway.
Why was someone so small and beautiful and full of life burdened
with this? Maisha had been diagnosed with Leukemia two years
earlier, and though the treatments prolonged her life for a little
while, the doctors recently gave her only until March. It was to be
their last Christmas together. The pain inside of Daniel was so
strong, he could be barely breathe. He felt an emptiness in his soul
and he couldn’t help but wonder why it had to be his child, or any
child for that matter. Children should be exempt from such pain and
He had almost three-quarters of the driveway shoveled when he stood
up once again and looked down the street. He could see a man moving
beneath a street light. He wore an old long coat and a brimmed hat.
Daniel continued to shovel the rest of the driveway. In between the
scrapes of the shovel against the concrete, he could hear the man’s
footsteps crunching in the snow. He glanced up and saw him coming
closer to the house. His head was down, looking at the street as he
walked along the side of the road, the wind blowing his long coat
Daniel had nearly completed the shoveling when the footsteps had
become fairly loud. He looked up to see the man stop at the end of his
"Merry Christmas," Daniel called out.
The man raised his head to reveal a face from underneath his hat.
He was probably in his late thirties and he looked at Daniel with eyes
so blue you would swear that the sky was just behind them. He smiled
at Daniel and looked up at the living room window.
"I can smell those gingerbread cookies from here," he
Daniel stared at him in disbelief. Could he really smell the
cookies from all the way out here? He thought to himself.
"Do you live around here?" asked Daniel.
"No, I had a call and came to answer it," the man
Daniel stared at the man. He had a presence about him that was hard
to describe. He appeared to be a humble, poor man, but had an inner
glow and confidence that seemed to be of royalty.
"Would you like me to help you make the snow angels?" the
Daniel dropped his shovel on the driveway, and though he found this
man to be very odd indeed, he found himself trusting him. He knew
somehow that he meant no harm to him.
"I would like that," he replied.
Daniel and the man went into the snow-covered front yard. Lying
next to each other, at arms width apart, they began to move their arms
and legs making snow angels just below the living room window.
Afterwards, they stood up together and moved backwards a few steps.
Daniel, admiring the perfect snow angels they had just made, smiled
broadly. He looked toward the living room window and saw his wife and
daughter taking the gingerbread cookies from the oven.
His eyes moved back to the snow angels again, and he noticed that
there were no footprints in the snow. Only the two angels had
disrupted the snow covered ground. He turned and faced the man, who
tipped his hat and smiled. Daniel looked out at the shoveled driveway.
Lying next to the dropped shovel he saw himself!
"You will always be in Maisha’s mind and her heart. She will
know the sacrifice you made by the Christmas snow angels," the
"She isn’t going to die?" he asked.
The man looked at Daniel with those tender, blue eyes. "You
have saved her, Daniel, with your Christmas wish and your love. Come,
take one more look and we will go."
Daniel looked back at the living room window and beamed as he
watched his wife and daughter take the gingerbread cookies off the
cookie sheet and slide them onto the serving dish. He moved his hand
up to his lips and blew them one last kiss. He turned to the man with
the brimmed hat and together they walked down the snow covered street.
Every Christmas thereafter, Maisha would wake up to two snow angels
just underneath her living room window, and she would remember the
night of her father’s last Christmas. The night in which she was
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