Ribbon on a Lexus: A holiday short story

Lucy Chesterton slowly opened her eyes as her children came barreling into the bedroom she shared with her husband, David. Sure, her little boy and girl were coming in much earlier than they usually do. The sun was barely starting to rise in the cold December sky. But today, Lucy could not blame her little ones for being excited to start the morning. Today, after all, was Christmas Day.

With matching pajamas on and coffee made, Lucy and David watched as their two young ones tore into the pile of presents that “Santa” had brought them. Soon, there was hardly an inch of hardwood floor that wasn’t covered in wrapping paper and the room was filled with presents and exciting screaming and hugs. But as abundant as the holiday spirit was in the Chesterton house was, Lucy couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness as she wondered to herself, “Did David forget to buy me a present?”

Sure, the homemade gifts her children made were amazing and thoughtful. And, yes, David had been putting in way too many hours at the investment firm over the last few months, sometimes not getting home until she was fast asleep. But to get her nothing? For Christmas? A wave of concern washed over her.

Almost as if sensing Lucy’s concern, David wrapped his arm around his wife and said quietly to the kids, “I think there’s one more gift for your mother. But, if we’re going to open it, we all need to get our coats on…”

Lucy looked quizzically at her husband before gathering up the children and heading to the coat closet.

Lucy Chesterton opened her front door and stared at the present David bought her with stunned silence. From the excited screams of her children, they clearly were not moved to silence the way she was. And David could not help but have a smug grin seeing the family this excited about the new Lexus he bought them, with a big red bow on it. Sure, it was cheesy, but today was Christmas Day.

The family all got in and started the car, each imaging the different and wonderful places this beautiful SUV would take them. But as the cheer slowly died down, David looked over at his wife and saw as her smile slowly changed to a look of concern. He excused the kids to go back in the house and play and then sat in the car with his wife, both silent for a long while. David was finally the first to speak when he asked, “Do you not like it?”

“No, I love it. It’s amazing,” Lucy said, “but my car still is pretty new. Can we really afford a new car payment?” she asked, with concern in her eyes. She seemed confused as a big smile spread across her husband’s face.

“Oh, sweet Lucy… we’re not making payments on this car. Don’t you know? We’re rich.”

Lucy had never really considered the Chesterton family as wealthy, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized David was right. After all, their family was able to take multiple extravagant vacations every year. And David frequently complained about the “Biden economy”, but the reality was that they hadn’t done anything to alter their lifestyle at all. From the moment she realized as a teen that her family was upper-middle class, Lucy just wanted to take that next step to be wealthy. And here she was in the ultimate sign of her high status: her husband bought her a fucking car and put the stupid bow on it. And not just any car. This wasn’t some Honda Days event. This was a full-on Lexus December To Remember Sales Event.

Lucy pulled her true love in for a kiss. They barely heard the crashing down the block.

As the gate to Lucy and David’s community broke open, in poured a countless amount of the working class who so many roll their eyes at when they pass by. These were the people who were called lazy because they didn’t want to return to their minimum-wage jobs in a post-COVID climate, making not enough money while working a full week. These were the people who were told it was there fault they were on government assistance programs. These were the people ad companies asked, “Oh, you can’t buy your spouse for the holidays? What’s wrong with you?”

And these people all decided that they had enough.

Lucy and David ran inside to find the kids. Lucy’s mind was racing. “What is going to happen,” she thought to herself, “to me and David and little Alex and… shit, what’s the other one named? Also, is Alex the boy or the girl? Why is this so confusing? What’s going to happen to the car? And why are all these people together? Don’t they all have jobs? How did they all get to not work today?”

And then she remembered. Today was, of course, Christmas Day.

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