Golden Box Book Publishing GBBPub February Magazine - Page 31

Luca and Elana laughed and chased each other on the ice. The Whelks watched them, hearts warm with the sight of their youthful frolic. Even at death’s door, Mrs. Whelk wanted nothing more than to watch the happiness of her children. She wanted to relish the feeling for as long as she could. Later that night on the ride back home, Luca and Elana tenderly held hands in the back seat. “Merry Christmas, Elana,” Luca whispered, digging a tiny box out of his pocket and handing it to Elana. Wrapped not so perfectly in the Sunday comics section of the newspaper, Elana opened the box and had to keep herself from gasping out loud. Inside the box was a necklace. It was a half of a carved wooden heart attached to a leather thong. Luca pulled the other half of the heart out of his shirt and said, “I don’t have money to buy you a proper gift. I carved this pendant from rosewood and cut it in half, so even when we’re apart, we’ll always be together. Two halves of one whole.” “Thank you,” Elana mouthed to Luca. She let go of his hand, bending over across the seat and kissing him lightly on the lips. Luca was stunned at first, eyes wide and mouth slack, and froze in his seat. Even under the dim light of the passing streetlights, his cheeks flared crimson against the paleness of his skin. Elana didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the last Christmas that she would spend with this loving family. Mrs. Whelk died in her sleep two weeks later. *** Mr. Whelk tried to do his best for months, but without his wife, he lost his will to carry on. The once warm and loving home had turned into a place of sadness and sorrow. Elana and Luca tried everything to cheer up the only father they’d known. They let him know how much they loved him, but Mr. Whelk slowly slipped into deep depression. The children tried to hide it from the social worker during her regular