Last Christmas eve my parents, sister, and I went to bed early, after getting all our presents ready. We had hoped my brother would arrive by then, but he was snowed in at college, and wouldn't be able to get home until much later that night. Jerome was bringing his new girlfriend, Rona, whom none of us had met. My parents were trying to act nonchalant, but were really scared underneath. My sister was very jealous.
It was snowing hard, which was why Jerome wasn't there on time. The wind made a howling sound as it poured down our chimney, giving the white night an enchanted, spooky feeling. I knew I was getting a new iBook, so I was extra excited.
We all were asleep for a couple of hours when the wind died down and the whole world was extremely quiet like it only gets when there is a large blanket of snow covering everything. I looked out the window, but there weren't any tire marks on the driveway, meaning Jerome and Rona hadn't turned up yet.
Back to sleep for me. Next thing I heard was Jerome's voice whispering "good night" to somebody, probably Rona. I lay in bed for a while, hoping she was as attractive in person as in the email photos we had seen a few weeks back. I visualized a tall, slim, muscular college student, with a Brillo pad of red hair over angular features.
Now unable to fall back to sleep, I heard a quiet, rustling sound from the living room. Tiptoeing down carpeted stairs, I saw a moving form reflected in our large front picture window from the lights of our Christmas tree. It couldn't be a thief, but what was going on?
Rona was moving gracefully in the main area of our living room, doing some sort of strange exercise. My mental image of her was accurate, except her hair was now much longer, more like an exploding red mop.
Not wanting to disturb her (for a whole bunch of reasons) I lingered silently, just outside the living room, gazing at the shadowy reflection of her graceful movements. She was completely naked except for some tight black dancing slippers, which must have helped her glide on the rug.
Rona's figure was something I never knew existed in real people, and certainly nowhere in my high school. Her shoulders and arms were broad and strong, with slight bulges from working out. Her waist was tiny, over firm, taut buttocks and legs that rippled gently as she moved back and forth.
When Rona turned toward the big reflecting window, still not knowing I was watching, I got a great glimpse of her upturned breasts and lower hair. The nipples seemed to protrude like little round pyramids, which first made my heart pound like crazy before it just about stopped it beating completely.
The exercises stopped, and I was getting worried she would see me, or hear me going back to my bedroom. I quietly eased halfway up the steps, then coughed and came down again, shuffling my feet on purpose as I neared the living room. Pausing for a moment for insurance, I ambled into the living room just as Rona was covering her figure with Jerome's bathrobe.
"Hi," I offered as casually as I could. "Everything okay, Rona?"
"Oh! You scared me. I was just doing my Tai Chi, which helps me sleep. You're Jerome's brother, right?"
"Yeah, I mean yes I am," I gulped, still remembering those nipples and that unforgettable tiny red forest. "You must be really tired, so I'll see you at the tree again before breakfast. Happy Christmas eve."
"Nice to meet you. Good night."
I heard Rona close the door to our guest room. Waiting a few seconds, I thought again of her lovely, athletic body.
Next morning I played dumb, and she never mentioned doing Tai Chi by the lights of our tree. That's a Christmas image I will have for a very long time.