All Stories, General Fiction

Winter Solstice by Jon Beight

I sit in silence amid the scattered, worthless rubble of what were the symbols of your life’s bright flashes and triumphs that you hold so dear. These shattered remains lay in tribute to unbridled, hate-filled rage, spawned from the union of betrayal and deceit.

# # #

In our town of twenty thousand people, there is a celebration each year of the Winter Solstice. This three-day party is complete with a parade, ice sculptures, crafts, food, music, dancing, and culminates with a brilliant fireworks show. The town has been celebrating in this manner for over thirty years. It is a heartfelt, festive celebration of the four seasons, of the magic of winter, and of the uplifting thought that from then on the days will be getting longer.

When my sister Darla and I were younger, we would cruise the festival for wintertime boyfriends. I hoped to find more of a long term relationship, but Darla was never satisfied with anyone for more than a few weeks. Shuttered indoors against winter’s boredom, she would quickly tire of her “flavor of the week” and begin looking elsewhere, including my boyfriends. It never failed.

So having Darla living with us after her latest marital implosion, I should have suspected something might be going on. But it wasn’t until she called you on your cell phone at your office that the first pangs of mistrust asserted themselves.

I had shown up unexpectedly to take you to lunch as a surprise. When I heard that silly, stupid, Charro “Cuchi-Cuchi” ringtone that she insisted be loaded into everyone’s cell phone, and saw crimson guilt in full bloom on your face, I knew things were about to come apart.

The match that lit the fuse was struck at last night’s dinner and dance. I arrived earlier than expected. You didn’t see me, but I saw the both of you, locked in an embrace. Biting down hard, I walked up to both of you, looking as though I was completely unaware of what you had just finished doing. But inside, I ushered my anger to a small, dark, stifling, place in my heart, where emotions are allowed to persist, open and raw. There it has sat, burning, festering, challenging its confinement.

Then this morning you left your phone at home. Maybe it was deliberate. Maybe you simply forgot it. Whatever the reason, there it sat on the coffee table. This afternoon it began to ring. It was Darla again.

Without thinking, I grabbed the fire poker and laid into everything of yours within sight. Everything that made a statement as to the type of person everyone thought you were. Say goodbye to your Salesman of the Year award, your bass tournament trophy, the framed picture of you and the mayor, the glass beer stein you won in the charity golf tournament, and, of course, your phone.

# # #

This evening, I watched the sun set on the shortest day of the year. Still holding the fire poker, I sit quietly with the lights off and the doors thrown open. Out in the frigid distance I hear the dull thuds of fireworks and watch their fleeting glow illuminate the night. I marvel at the translucence of my breath in the headlights as our car pulls into the driveway. My grip tightens as two pairs of footsteps clack and scrape on the walkway. I’m in my private celebration of the Winter Solstice, and my heart has never been more dark or cold.


Jon Beight

Image by wnk1029 from Pixabay



6 thoughts on “Winter Solstice by Jon Beight”

  1. Rage.. that woman must’ve had a lot of testosterone, it’s almost always the guys who explode in outward anger like this, and end it with a homicide. Having Darla living with the protagonist and her significant other was definitely a major error in judgement. Chilling scene.


  2. You get more time to wish upon a star during the longest night. Sometimes stars explode, as seems the case here.
    Sort of a fitting story for Independence Day (which in England, not coincidentally, is known as Good Riddance Day).


  3. Hi Jon,
    This is an excellent example of a story being all about the build up. The ending is left to the reader even though you have stoked their thoughts on the outcome.
    If this type of story isn’t done well the reader can be left feeling cheated. Not in this case, all we are left with is a satisfying smile!


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