Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mariah’s Gift

By Lilly Linville
Christian Mainstream, 278 pages
Cover art by Trisha FitzGerald

A full moon cast long, dark silhouettes across the pasture from the tall bare trees surrounding the farm. The clear night sky glistened like diamonds in the cold November air. Joe and Mariah huddled together watching the splendid display of shooting stars.

Snuggling closer to keep each other warm, he nuzzled her neck. Joe wrapped his arms tighter around his very pregnant wife as their eyes followed another star streaking across the sky. “Honey, did you make a wish on that one?”

“I did.” She smiled and placed her hands over his. “I wished that our child would be here soon. But I’m trying to be patient.”

“From the strong kick I just felt, I don’t think it’ll be long before your wish comes true.”

Mariah leaned back against her husband’s warm body. “I’m so excited about becoming a mother. I can hardly wait to hold our baby in my arms.”

He laid his head on her shoulder. “You just have to be patient a little longer. I already know you’re going to be a wonderful mother. I remember how the children back home always flocked around you. Your sweet ways drew them like a magnet.”

“Joe, have you thought about how special this year will always be for us with the baby coming next month? Our lives will never be the same.

“When I was a little girl, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I always told them I wanted to be a mother. I guess that didn’t sound very ambitious, but I can’t think of anything better than having a family and being just like my mama.”

Joe turned toward the house. “Why don’t we go inside? The wind’s beginning to pick up, and I can feel you shivering. We can sit by the fire and warm up before we go to bed.”

She took his hand and walked by his side. “It’s such a clear night and I love star gazing. I wanted to stay out and enjoy it, but I admit I am freezing. How about I fix us a cup of hot chocolate?”

“That sounds like a great idea and will definitely warm us up. I’ll add some more wood in the cook stove for you.” Joe picked up a pail of kindling by the door. It only took him a few minutes to get the fire built back up as Mariah washed her hands and took a small pot out of the cabinet.

“Do you think you’ll want more than one cup?” Mariah asked.

“Nope, one will be plenty for me.”

“Hot chocolate was one of the first things I remember my mama teaching me to make. I must have been about six years old at the time and scorched it a few times before learning it had to be heated slowly. Guess it was my first lesson in patience. Mama told my sisters and me that the vanilla was her secret touch and we had to keep it between us.”

Mariah placed a cup in front of Joe on the table and sat down beside him with hers.

The rich aroma of chocolate filled the kitchen. “It smells great, Mariah. This was one of my grandpa’s favorites, and many winter nights my grandma fixed it for us. I don’t know if she added vanilla to hers, but it really gives it a great flavor.”

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