Combative, adjective: Ready or eager to fight; pugnacious.
Represent, verb: Be entitled or appointed to act or speak for (someone), esp. in an official capacity; of a competitor) participate in a sports event or other competition on behalf of (one's club, town, region, or country; be an elected member of a legislature for (a particular constituency, party, or group); constitute; amount to; depict (a particular subject) in a picture or other work of art.
Sluggish, adjective: Slow-moving or inactive; lacking energy or alertness; slow to respond or make progress.
by C. Deanne
"My feet hurt. My back hurts. I can hardly move." He threw his hat on his chair with a sigh.
"How was your day?" Her back and feet hurt too, but she said nothing about them. She followed him into their small bedroom and closed the door behind them.
"I don't know why you still do that. There's no one around that would peak in on us." He took off his jacket and threw it into the hamper just beside their bed. She picked it up and put it on a plastic hanger.
"This is wet. Give me your pants and I'll hang them downstairs in the basement where they can dry. Would you like some tea?" She waited for him to hand her his pants.
"It's not like anyone appreciates me. Wait, that's not exactly true, is it? I am only appreciated at certain times of the year. But even then, they just want more, more, more from me. Just once. Just one time, it would be nice for someone to say thank you."
"Hand me your pants." She watched as he whipped his damp trousers on the top of the hamper. "You know, you are always a little cranky when you get home. I can deal with cranky but the last few years, you've been downright pugnacious. Like you are waiting for me to start something. Well, I won't. We're getting too old for this conversation. I'll wait while you change into your pajamas."
"I am not a child. I'll wear what I want where I want." He almost growled as he took off his socks, then his long underwear, then his white t-shirt. "Just give me my tea by my chair."
"Your pajamas are in the top drawer. I bought you new ones. Blue fleece, just the way you like it."
"I hope you used your 30% discount." He opened the drawer and the handle came off in his hand. "Oh, my--Really? This has to happen now, of all nights."
"We'll fix it in the morning. Put the bottoms on and go sit in your chair." Her arms were full of his damp clothes. She took the belt that he had put on the bed.
"Stop standing over me and get out of my way," he said as his eyes narrowed in anger. Early in their marriage she would scurry out of the way. Too many years had passed so she stood her ground
without a word. Finally, she heard his weary and defeated sigh. "Come on. I want to sit down. I'm tired."
She stood in front of the door. There was no where for him to move as the bed took up almost all of the room.
"I'm sorry, alright? It's been a long night."
She left the room without a word and walked down the stairs to their little laundry room. She could hear him shuffling across the room, sluggish and slow, to his favorite recliner next to his favorite lamp and table. The jacket was hung on the hanger. The pants were pinned to the line. She let the belt hang next to it to keep everything together.
The stairs were getting tougher each year. Her knees ached. This would be the year she would ask him to put the washer and dryer on the first floor. But that would come later and after he fixed the drawer pull.
He already sat with the chair reclined all the way back and his feet dangled.
"Where are your slippers? Your feet will get cold."
"I dunno. So tired, hon."
She found them by the front door and put them on his feet. "Come on, Pudge. Get off the blanket. Daddy needs this more than you."
"This is nice. Is it new? Pudge seems to--oh" His face softened as their cat jumped into his lap. "I'm sorry I snapped at you. It's just that it's so demanding this time of year. I love my job. I really do, but sometimes, I'm so tired of being taken for granted."
"Your job is hard and you will always be taken for granted. But look what you bring. A little bit of magic. A little bit of mystery. The hope that there is still some good left out there. People have forgotten what you represent or rather Who. And each year, people forget a little bit more."
"It's all about giving, they say, but it's really about the getting." He rubbed his hands over his face.
"There are merchants who want folks to believe that, Claus. But there are so many who know. That there is hope. That there is still a little good left in the world. And that giving doesn't need to be selfish and that receiving takes a little bit of humility. You remind them, Santa." She kissed his forehead. His eyes were already closed and he snored softly.
The tea kettle sang in the kitchen.~
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