Zosia said to Annie, 'I'm glad you got home before I left.'
Annie dumped a whole lot of Christmas shopping on the table and ran her fingers through her hair. Bad-hair day. Very bad-hair day. 'So am I. Are you in a hurry? Would you like a glass of wine?'
There were just the two of them in the kitchen and the house was quiet and dark. Zosia always turned the lights off as she worked through the rooms. When Annie commented on this thrift, she had replied, 'We must not waste,' for the deprivations of Zosia's upbringing were lodged deep in her.
Annie retrieved a half-drunk bottle of excellent claret left over from the previous evening and gave her a glass.
Zosia took a mouthful and leaned back in the chair. 'Very nice, Annie.'
'Here, look.....' Annie burrowed in a bag and shook out an expensive man's sweater. 'That's for Tom. Unimaginative, I know, but I haven't a clue what he wants these days. And here...' She produced a leather notebook. 'That's for Emily. I've still got to get Jake and Jocasta's. But look at these...' She waved a box of Christmas lights, plugged them in and, razzle-dazzle, hoop-la, river of brilliance looped over the table.
'Beautiful Annie.' Zosia closed her eyes. 'You always make everything so.'........
- Debolina Raja Gupta