Christmas Dreams in Twilight

Originally posted 2006-12-05

Ira and Mae in their golden years, still find love and magic in Christmas.


Hello, this is my second story, and I am still a novice wrestling with grammar and spelling errors. This story does deal with DEATH during the holidays. If you feel this would upset you, please discontinue reading. There are mild Transgender themes and cross-dressing so the same applies for this as well! Once more, warm hugs goes to Angel and Karen P. without whom this story wouldn't be half as good.


Christmas Dreams in Twilight

By Grover

Ira was waiting to die, as he sat in the front room of the old folk’s home. It was after all, what an old folk’s home was for. No matter what new fangled name the kids in charge called it now days. He’d gotten his four score and plenty more besides, and still was able to make his way with the help of his cane, regardless what his children thought.

The biggest regret, he had was that he had to give up his clothes. Oh no, not the suits and ties, those he wouldn’t miss. It was the others things, that no one had ever found, made of silks and satins, wonderful dresses, slips, panties, other items forbidden to him.

He couldn’t outfight his kid’s wishes, and they had remorselessly bullied him into moving here. Packing up his special things, he’d placed them with his wife’s old stuff. She was gone now, but in all of their years of marriage, she’d never said a thing, but he knew that she had suspected.

That was where Ira first saw Mae. They brought her in with a wheelchair that swallowed up her small frame. She was obviously unhappy, but made polite sounds when her son left her sitting there.

Ira didn’t make friends easily, for too many of his had died already. Despite a voice that told him that no good could come of it, he stamped over to her on his three legs anyways.

“What are you in for?” he grunted to her.

A fierce spark still burned in her eyes in spite of her condition as she spat out, “For being too Damn old.”

He nodded, “That’s a capitol offense these days.”

“And you?” she asked him.

“Inability to take care of myself, and too hard headed to listen to idiotic children,” he said with a straight face.

“Inability to take care of yourself must be why you’re here, because being the hard headed is just good sense,” she replied.

“I’m Ira,” he introduced himself.

“Hi Ira, I’m Mae,” she said back.

It was the beginnings of those strange oddball friendships, which baffled people. He was standoffish, and she had a tongue that made acid seem like sugar. The only one of the staff glad to see them hit it off was Nurse Harriet Callahan. Her nickname was Dirty Harry, because her section received more than its share of hard-cases like Ira and Mae. She got the dirty jobs and did them well. Nurse Callahan got the reward for doing a dirty job well, another dirty job. The truth was Nurse Callahan was glad to see Ira taking an interest in life around him and she liked Mae’s spirited altitude.

The truth of their friendship was a whole lot stranger than anyone could guess, and it wasn’t until Ira’s birthday that he found out the kind of friend Mae was.

Ira was dreaming, today was his birthday, never mind which one. So many had come and gone that he’d stopped counting long ago. Mae had gotten him a cupcake with a candle with the help of Dirty Harry. They each had given him a peck on the cheek and a hug. Mae had mystified him by winking as if she knew something he didn’t.

In Ira’s dream, he was a little girl at her birthday party and she was fixing to blow out all of the candles on her cake. Then to her surprise, Mae walked into the room. Not Mae as he knew her, but a younger more alive Mae, that was full of life. Ira looked at Mae wondering what she was doing in this dream, when she winked at her! Mae looked around her with interest and then back at Ira, with humor in her voice she said,

“I was going to give you another present, but now I see that I have to change my plans.

Ira blinked nervously this seemed so real! Mae reached behind her back and like a magician, pulled out a brightly colored box wrapped up in bows. With a flourish Mae, offered the present to Ira.

Unsure, Ira took it.

“Go ahead and open it. It’s nice, I swear it,” making an old gesture from their youth.

Unable to contain herself Ira tore open the wrappings and found the most gorgeous pink dress of lace and ruffles. She was so happy that her eyes filled with tears.

“Happy birthday Ira, or is it Irene?” asked Mae softly.

Irene somehow managed to nod yes.

Mae smiled and said, “Come on then! There still is cake and ice cream!” Needing no more urging, Irene joined Mae as they enjoyed the wonders forbidden to them awake.

The next morning, Ira was so confused. The dream had been so real. The cake and ice cream had been so good he could still taste it. When he met Mae that morning, he still wasn’t his usual self. They were playing cards and he hesitantly, thanked her for helping make his birthday one to remember. He almost didn’t, but then added that he’d a dream about it last night

Mae took his much larger hand in hers, and said so softly only he could hear, “I know.”

In her eyes, he saw his answer, and he asked, “How did you do that?”

“I told you that I was in a bad accident, and that it had nearly killed me. The doctors were ready to wheel me out to the garden so I could be with the rest of the vegetables. Somehow, I came out of the coma but I was really banged up good; I was paralyzed from the waist down, and never fully recovered completely from the other injuries. I pitied myself, but discovered that although I had lost so much that I had gained too. I could visit other people’s dreams and when I did, the dream became real somehow for both of us,” Mae revealed to him.

“You’ve been such a good friend, I wanted to do something nice for you so I did,” Mae said defiantly.

Ira said half-fearfully. ”Doesn’t it bother you, what you found out in my dream.”

“Twenty years ago it might have, but last night all I saw was a person enjoying a birthday party. Nothing wrong with that,” Mae smiled.

Blinking away tears, Ira said, “Thank you for the present!”

“You’re welcome,” replied Mae blinking away her tears as well.

After they had dried their tears, Mae asked, “Ira can I visit you again? I mean, visit Irene?”

Ira just nodded as he grasped his friend’s hand.

Together they relived many happy times of days past, Fourth of Julys, birthdays, Christmas, and many other joyous times, sometimes as children, adults, or teens, but always as friends.

The year came and went and Mae grew weaker. The time came that she couldn’t leave her bed, but that didn’t stop their friendship. In the day, Ira stayed with her, talking, or sometimes reading to her. In their dreams, as Irene, she gave comfort and love to her friend. Mae’s son came by sometimes, but never stayed for long.

Nurse Callahan knew that time would soon decide Mae’s future, but was concerned that when Mae passed, Ira would soon follow. Her condition never got worse, causing Mae to be transferred to the hospital, but always just on the brink.

Irene and Mae’s friendship deepened and grew in their shared dreams, while fall faded to the gloomy days of winter. In no time at all, Christmas was upon them.

Ira’s children sent a card, but said that they would try to visit in the New Year. Mae’s son came by with a vase of flowers, but didn’t stay long, when a disgruntled Mae told him, that in the old country cut flowers were for funerals.

The best gifts the two of them received were framed photographs, Nurse Callahan had taken of them together, and the ones they gave each other in their dreams and kept near their hearts.

Christmas morning came and Ira was reading to her when he drifted off to sleep. Irene opened her eyes to a wonderful Christmas tree decorated the old way with stringed popcorn and with large old fashion lights. A small mountain of gifts was stacked underneath it in a sea of bright paper and colorful bows. A beautiful Mae greeted her with a rich mug of coffee denied them while awake, and together they took turns opening presents or nibbling on pastries.

Relaxing in front of the fire after Christmas dinner, Mae took Irene’s hand, and she feared that it was time for Mae to go on. Irene would miss the time she could be herself, but would feel a void without her dear friend.

“Irene,” said Mae softy, “It’s time.”

With tears welling up in her eyes, Irene sobbed, “What will I do without you?”

Mae handed her a hand full of tissues and with a sigh said, “Let’s have none of that. It’s time for YOU to go on!”

Irene confused asked, “Me?” Searching her friend’s face with suspicion, Mae’s smile gave her away. “You’ve waited for me somehow haven’t you,” Irene accused Mae.

Mae nodded, “Another part of what I got because of my accident, I guess.” She gave Irene a big hug, and said wistfully, “I’ve had dreams of my own, of Angels chiding me for being late!” She giggled, “Mama always said I’d be late for my own funeral, and she was right!”

Holding her friend tight, Mae said, “All these months you’ve stayed with me when I couldn’t leave that damn bed. What kind of friend would I have been, not to stay a short while with you?”

“So, I’m dying?” asked Irene.

“Your heart, I think. I’m not a Doctor you know,” said Mae.

Irene stood up and smoothed her dress. She’d thought about dying a lot since, Mae had gotten so ill. Now that it was her turn, she simply felt that it was time to go. Opening the front door for Mae, she found a Glorious White Christmas lay before them. Hand in hand, the two friends walked into the crisp air of a Christmas evening into the setting sun.

Back in a nursing home, an old man and old woman’s heart gave their final beats, and together their spirits rose on high.

Harriet arrived back at home sad after working an extra-long shift. Her relief had called in ill, and she worked Christmas Eve night, and Christmas morning. Two of her charges had passed that morning and as she thought they might, they went together. When she found them, the gentle smiles on their faces, took away some of the ache that came when the Dark Angel took one of hers.

Everyone who works with the ill has his or her own way of dealing with that Angel of Death. Hers was to seek comfort from friends and family, so she spent the morning emailing and talking on the phone to them. Mr. Whiskers, who after he’d demanded to be fed and pampered, knew that his mistress needed to be distracted from the events of her previous day, so he purred and lap-sit doing his part for her.

Stroking her cat’s soft fur and hearing his soft rumble, she knew that it was time to try and grab a bit of sleep. Snuggling deep into her bed, as Mr. Whiskers kept a careful watch, sleep sooner than she thought claimed her, gently guiding her to the hall of dreams.

A wonderful Christmas Dream, of trees decorated with popcorn and not plastic with a sweet mug of coco and marshmallows in front of an inviting fire. Best of all, the visit by two beautiful new angels, with their arms full of happy gifts, and smiles of glad tidings foretold.

Merry Christmas to All!


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