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December 1980:

The little girl’s auburn hair shimmered with the dancing of the yellow flame. Her cheeks were a rosy pink that blended perfectly with the few dots that aligned her slender nose. A white grin spread across her face as her baby brother peered around the room. Her forest green sweater nearly matched the welcoming oak that stood proudly over her family. Each of its leaves reflected off of the fluorescent wrapped boxes that laid below it. The baby reached for one of the colored ornament’s that dangled above. He was amazed with his reflection that abstractly stared back at him. His attention was diverted when the smell of a freshly baked ham crept throughout the room. A tall, slim, woman set it down on the wooden table and removed her decorative oven mits. She then strolled over to the sofa and seated herself. She embraced her husband’s masculine hand and looked to her beautiful child.

“Erica, why don’t you open one first?” She smiled as her daughter’s blue eyes lit up as bright as her Christmas light’s that surrounded the room.

Erica quickly dropped to the floor and looked under the tree. She was overwhelmed by the amount of gift’s that lay unopened. She grasped onto a bag that was beautifully decorated in snowmen and sled’s. She looked to her mother who nodded warmly. Erica pulled the red stuffing out of the bag. Her facial expression turned to one of utter amazement. She stuck her tiny hand’s into the bag and came back out with a shiny snow globe. Glitter floated through the water gracefully. She twisted the dial in the back and cheerful holiday music played.

“That’s from us,” her father proudly informed her.

“I love it,” her genuine youth shined through.

“Go ahead, dear, open another,” her mother offered.

Gently, Erica set down the snow globe as the water splashed around. She admired its perfection for a moment before grabbing a small box. She happily set it on her lap and started to tear the paper. She set the ripped paper beside her and looked down at the dull, cardboard box. She ripped the tape off of the openings in the box and top flap opened. There was white tissue paper surrounding a brand new pair of fuzzy blue mitten’s.

“Who is it from, my darling?” Her mother wondered.

Erica responded with a puzzled look, “I’m not sure…”

Her parent’s looked at each other and then back at Erica. Her mother looked at her father as if urging him to say something but he didn’t speak. Her mom looked at her and smiled, confused.

“I’ll bring them to the store tomorrow to see if they can tell us,” her mom said.

“They are probably from the thrift store,” Erica’s father chimed in.

“They’re beautiful,” Erica said, her face still in an expression of utter amazement.

“I’ll bring them to the thrift store tomorrow. How about some dinner?” Her mother smiled.

November 1993:

Anita climbed out of the limousine and ran into the fancy hotel in Chicago. She held her hair under her black hooded coat as she bounced across the rough pavement. Her clear heels slid on the cold frost and she nearly lost her balance. She spun through the revolving door and past the front desk. The clerk raised his hand to attempt conversation but Anita slid past him. She slid down the hallway until she burst into the room to find her mother, father, and sister’s.

“Anita, do you realize what time it is? You’re going to be walking down the aisle in two hours!” Her mother scolded.

“Are you serious? Getting married? I’d better hurry!” Anita smiled and kissed her mother.

Her four sister’s stood up to reveal long lavender gowns. The tops were fitted corsets that sat upon their bodies perfectly. The bottom of the dresses flowed out just under their slender hips. Anita shook her head and smiled.

“I hope that I look half as good as you guys do when I am ready!” She exclaimed.

“You already look great. Let me see your hair,” her youngest sister, Jenna said, getting antsy.

“Oh, Jen, I don’t know, I am so cold!” Anita laughed.

“Don’t be a brat, Anita Maria!” Jenna replied.

Anita pulled off her long black jacket to reveal a long snow-white gown. The top of the gown connected perfectly with her breast’s. Shimmering beads swam across the top through the middle of the waistline in a downward spiral. The back of the dress gracefully hung only slightly under her hip’s. It was like a gown that a princess would wear. Her hair rested in curls on the top of her head with a diamond beret sitting across the top. One long strand of her black hair bounced above her emerald eyes. Her family was speechless. Her hair went perfectly with her diamond studded gown. The back tied up, showing just enough of her dark toned skin. One beauty mark stood perfectly over her left shoulder. She cut the tension and began to giggle.

“Well,” she looked at them, “would somebody say something?”

Her mother shook her head in disbelief as her father set his arm on her shoulder. Her father used his other hand to wipe away a tear drop from his eyes. Anita’s own eyes filled up with tears and she leaped to her father and embraced him in a tight hug,

He talked behind tears, “you’re beautiful.”

She pulled away and looked at him, her eyes were filled with tears. She touched the side of his face and kissed him again before stepping back.

She smiled, “Thank you, Daddy,”

She walked back to her jacket and lifted it up. She dropped it on a chair and something fell out of her pocket.

“Hey! Anita! That’s my mitten!” Caitlin, her middle sister, exclaimed.

On the floor, next to the chair, there lied a fuzzy blue mitten. Caitlin bent down and picked it up.

“Sorry, Cait. I was really cold when I was leaving and I didn’t know where my gloves that Dan gave me were. Can you forgive me?” She asked.

Their mother grabbed the mitten, “Where’d you get this rag anyway Caity?”

“Some garage sale or something,” Caitlin shrugged.

Caitlin stuck her hand in Anita’s coat pocket and moved her hand around. She came back with nothing but an angry face.

Anita tapped her foot, “I’m sorry. It must have fallen out when I was running. I’ll buy you new one’s.”

“They better be nice new one’s. You’re going to have to have lots of money in wedding present’s, soon to be, Mrs. Dan Calloway,” Caitlin laughed.

Anita smiled, “You got it, kid.”

December 1996

The dog’s bark echoed through the tree’s. His gray fur was matted with the chill of the December wind. He stuck his large paws through the deep snow and he shivered. A soft huff came out of him as there was a tug on his leather leash. His master walked up close behind him, moving her blind stick around, her gray hair stuck closely to her head from the dampness of the melting snow. She wasn’t completely blind but with the fog of the snow and her old age, Charlie was her most trusted companion.

Her path was very familiar to both her and Charlie. She walked it every day to get to her antique shop that had been in her family since youth. However, lately she had been tending to her pregnant daughter and had been unable to make time for the shop. She was in a rather pleasant mood that morning because the shop was her passion and her sanctuary. She continued to carve and knit, even with her loss of vision. Madam Cornella DuLac was an extravagant woman,

She walked right through the same steps in the snow that she had made the day before. Her shriveled feet left lasting footprints. The sound of the snow mashing underneath her shoe was overpowered by the tree branches blowing together with the swaying wind’s. The swish of the branches was like music to her ears. She didn’t even notice the bitter wind’s transforming her face to a cherry red that clashed with the milky white of her skin. Her thin lips were curled into a smile that showed contentment. She pulled her jacket tighter against her chest to shelter herself from the anger of the snow blowing wind’s.

She was nearly at the end of the crystal glazed path when Charlie pulled her in the direction of the thin maple’s that possessed the forest. He began to sniff around and kick snow in back of him with his paw’s. He stuck his nose in the snow.

“What is it, Charlie?” Madam Cornella was curious.

He shot up from beneath the snow with something hanging out of his mouth. The lady looked surprised as she saw through her blur, one fuzzy blue mitten. She looked at it for a moment, trying to gain focus. She then went and padded her snow-covered dog on the back and took the now stretched out mitten, She examined it for a moment before looking at Charlie.

She smiled at him, “I’ll make baby mitten’s out of it!”

November 1997:

The baby’s eyes shot open as she looked around the grassy surroundings. The gloomy dirt crumbled beneath her mother’s black heels. She observed as her mom wiped her own tear stained face. Everybody around her looked so sad and she couldn’t understand it.

Aunty put her hand on her mother’s, “It’s going to be okay, Annie,” she said.

The sun glared off of the shiny casket but the surroundings remained cool. The breeze sang off of the colorful autumn leaves as they glided to the gravel. The man that was in charge of the service had to blow his nose as tears built up in his eyes. He set his hand on the casket and looked to the people standing around in bereavement.

“She will always be missed and never forgotten,” he said through genuine tear drops and a stuffy nose.

Two empty looking men began to turn two handle’s as the coffin lowered beneath the dirt. Annie turned to her sister and put her head on her shoulder. She began to cry hysterically as her sister took the baby and held her. A couple of minute’s later, the coffin was in its eternal spot and people started to walk up, grabbing shovels to pour dirt over it. Annie took the baby back and let her sister go to help with the burial. This was the greatest gift that they could give their mother for it was the one thing that she’d never be able to repay them for.

Annie looked down at her baby and sent her a warm smile. She kissed the baby’s small button nose and the baby replied with a pleasing expression. The baby began to fidget and waved her arms in the air. Annie grabbed her daughter’s hand’s and held them tightly, in order to keep them warm. The baby kept playing around with her own hand’s but couldn’t feel her skin. She looked down at her tiny fragile hand’s and started to observe the fuzzy blue mitten’s that stood protecting her from the cold.

January 2000:

Gloria walked into the fashion management room with a cup of brown coffee for her boss. Her boss looked up from his magazine and gently took the cup. He shook his head and took a sip.

Dropping his magazine on his desk, he said, “Wow, Marcella really hit it big time with this one. She looked fantastic!”

Gloria smiled, “She learned from the best. You taught her everything that she knows about modeling.”

“Oh, you can only take a person so far, though. The rest is up to them,” he said, he’d always been humble about his ability to teach.

Gloria peered down at the thick fashion magazine that Marcella stood on the cover of. Marcella did look perfect in her yellow tank top and fitted blue jeans. Magazine editor’s had such a way of making a person just look natural. However, they probably took hour’s longer to be natural than to just wear obvious shades of makeup.

Gloria was about to speak to her boss once again when the door burst open. Marcella appeared in the doorway, her hair in a magnificent curl. Mark, her boss, quickly stood to his feet and held out his arm’s. Marcella walked right past Gloria and ended in Mark’s arm’s.

“Well, if it isn’t the future Miss America!” He exclaimed, a smile spread across his chiseled face.

She smiled back, “Oh, don’t flatter me.”

“Marcie, have you met Gloria, my trusted assistant of many years?” Mark asked, pulling Gloria over to them.

Marcella looked at Gloria. Her Italian eyes stared at Gloria’s mocha skin. She looked her up and down with a rather disgusted look on her face. Marcella cleared her throat and Gloria broke the awkward silence.

Gloria started, “I think we’ve me-”

Marcella interrupted, “I don’t think that we have. It’s a pleasure. I am Marcella Dorzianni, I model here for Mark. What was your name again?” She looked at Gloria, a fake expression in her honey eyes.

“Gloria McGuinn,” Gloria smiled and held out her hand to shake Marcella’s.

“How sweet,” she smiled, “My sister’s cat’s name is Gloria!”

Gloria smiled at Marcella again. That was what the assistant’s had to do- make the model’s feel like they were the center of the universe. Unlike some of Gloria’s coworkers, she never envied Marcella. She wasn’t naďve to the fact that one day Marcella’s flawless shell would eventually shrivel up. Then, what is she left with? Marcella was but a lifeless soul with a figure.

Gloria once again broke the silence, “Do either of you want anything? Coffee? Tea?”

“More coffee would be great, Gloria, thanks,” Mark replied.

“Of course. Marcella?” Gloria looked to her.

Marcella shook her head, “No, no thank you. I have fat free snacks in my dressing room. I am trying to lose a few pounds. When I got back from Hawaii, I had gained two. So, now I am trying to lose five.”

Marcella crossed her arms over her chest and Gloria observed her. How much more perfect could she have wanted to be? Her waist was the size of the pole in the corner of the room and her hips only expanded a little more than that. Gloria couldn’t believe that Marcella was serious. Did she know any of the importance in life? Had she been through anything? Was being a stick figure really important?

“Gloria, the fat free bar’s are great. I have tons of extra’s if you want some,” Marcella offered.

“Thanks, I’ll pass. I will be right back with your coffee, Mark,” Gloria said behind clenched teeth.

Gloria exited out of the room and could feel Marcella’s eyes following her. It was only a couple of minute’s later that Gloria came back with another black coffee in her hand. She held onto it rather loosely because of the heat that escaped through the mug. Marcella was standing in the way of Mark’s desk where Gloria had to place the coffee down. Gloria looked to Marcella who still didn’t move a muscle in her body.

“Excuse me, I have to put this down,” Gloria pleaded.

Marcella looked surprised at Gloria and slid out of her spot and right into Gloria’s arm. Gloria stumbled over and spilled the coffee on Mark’s desk. Mark’s hand’s went to the sides of his face and Gloria quickly got back up to her feet. Gloria looked around for a towel.

“Where’s a towel?!” Gloria panicked.

“In the closet, in the closet,” Mark told her.

Gloria ran over to the closet and struggled to pull it open. Marcella stood to the side and watched the whole scene with an amused look on her face. Gloria leaped back to the desk and started to wipe the dripping coffee off of it. Marcella came next to her.

“Hurry up and wipe the desk! His coffee coaster is getting wet,” Marcella said.

Gloria looked up to Marcella with an angry expression on her face. Gloria slammed down the towel onto the desk and Mark’s expression twisted to one of surprise.

“Marcella, this fuzzy blue coffee coaster has probably had more life experiences than you have. Please, don’t ever offer me advice,” Gloria said, coldly.

Marcella looked very surprised at Gloria’s stern reply. Gloria simply turned away from Marcella and there was silence throughout the room. Mark stood in the corner and pretended that he didn’t hear anything because he knew that Marcella got what was coming to her.

Mark grabbed the coaster off of the table and rang it out, lightening the mood, “My little girl made this for me out of a pair of mittens that she used to have.”

December 2003:

The door swung open, causing Dan to jump about three feet into the air. The paint that spread across his paint brush splattered onto the wall around him and his face turned a bright shade of red. He put the paintbrush down on a piece of paper that sat on his desk as if his boss wouldn’t see it. Dan sent him a weak smile.

“Mr. Calloway, how many times have I told you that you’re not here to paint?” His boss, Mark scolded him.

“I’m sorry, sir. I had very little work today, everything was going so slow. Gloria had happened to be in a generous mood and offered to call the editor’s about Marcella’s last shoot. I have been so stressed out because Anita is due with the baby in a month and Christmas is right around the corner. I don’t even know what to do with myself,” Dan complained.

“Ah, Danny boy, I feel your pain. Annie is trying to get custody of our daughter for Christmas time and it is killing me. Ever since her mother died she’s been crazy,” Mark responded.

“Her mom was a good woman, yeah? I remember Cornella like I had just met her yesterday. She was quite good at crafts even in her later years,” Dan said.

“Madam Cornella was fabulous. I am not really sure how she raised a girl like Annie. I just hope that I can raise Kaylie to be like me and not her mother,” Mark laughed.

“We can only hope, I guess. That’s the only thing that I fear about Anita giving birth, she has a crazy aunt somewhere down the line in her family. I heard that the insanity could skip generations,” Dan joked.

Mark thought for a moment, “I guess anything is possible.”

Dan looked down at his painting and had an unsatisfied look on his face even though the painting was near finished. Dan took his paint brush and stuck it in the water, watching as the green and blue paint swirled around. He set his hands on his desk as Mark walked to the other side to observe the painting. Mark was about to speak when the office door swung open and Gloria appeared, out of breath.

“Hi, Dan,” she said, then turned to Mark, “I have been looking all over for you. Marcella is having a fit because her eye has a red tint in one of the magazine photos. She needs you right away.”

Mark chuckled, “Tell her to cool her jets, I know you don’t have any problem speaking your mind to her. I will be there shortly.”

“Right,” Gloria said and slid out the door in a hurry.

Mark laughed again and then looked back down at Dan’s painting. The painting was so colorful and beautiful. Mark shook his head in amazement and then looked at Dan who still looked unsatisfied with his work.

“You know, it is a lot easier to have someone just take a picture of you rather than you painting something from your own head. To pose, all you have to do is smile. To paint, you need a lot more,” Mark said.

Dan thought about what Mark had said for a moment, “It’s just a different kind of beauty.”

“It’s beautiful, alright. What is this picture of? Is it going to be a Christmas present for Anita?” Mark asked.

“No, no, it’s actually sort of funny, really, you’ll think it is stupid,” Dan started to turn red.

They were both silent for a minute while Mark once again looked at the painting. It was a winter scene with lots of details that represented Christmastime. Mark didn’t understand how Dan could think it was stupid.

“I think that Anita will love it,” Mark said.

“It isn’t for Anita. It is for my older sister Erica,” Dan began to explain.

“Oh? Is there significance or does she just like snow and fuzzy blue mittens?” Mark laughed again.

“When I was only a baby and she was about seven, she got this present for Christmas. It was just a plain pair of fuzzy blue mittens. My sister loved them, though. She opened them and instantly fell in love with them but her and my parent’s couldn’t figure out where they were from. My parent’s were very conservative and felt threatened by its mystery. They flipped out and brought it to some old antique store that was around back then but they referred to it as a thrift store. Erica was so upset about it for so long and she still talks about her mysterious fuzzy blue mittens to this day,” Dan explained.

“Wow, did she ever get them back?” Mark asked.

Dan shook his head, “She hasn’t seen them since the day that our mother took them back to the store. I figured, we have no idea where those mittens came from or where they are now so they might as well be in a painting back with the person that they really belong to.”

“I’d say that’s fair,” Mark agreed, “Did you ever find out where they came from?”

“No, it was so odd. The lady at the store didn’t even recognize the material that it was made out of. She was very happy to take them from my mom. I really think that it scarred my sister for life, though,” Dan laughed, “It was like twenty something years ago and she still wants to find her fuzzy blue mittens.”

Mark smiled, “they probably kept a lot of people warm in the meantime, though, right? Well, now no one can take them from her because they’re stuck in this painting forever!”

“Agreed,” Dan said.

Mark and Dan both observed the mysterious fuzzy blue mittens one more time. The painting was almost mesmerizing. Mark shook his head to break the trance and took a sip of the black coffee that he’d been holding.

He put his hand on Dan’s shoulder, “Well, son, time is money, get back to work, I don’t think that the fuzzy blue mittens are going anywhere this time.”

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