“I don’t know,” Margie responded. “I have never talked to her.”
Charlie was dumbfounded. “What? Why not? She’s your neighbor isn’t she?”
“Well, she seems so timid around other people, and I didn’t want to intrude…” Margie began, but her words sounded silly even to her. “I suppose I could introduce myself.”
“There’s no time like the present!” Charlie announced and Margie had to laugh.
“Very well, then, let me get my coat.”
While Margie was getting her coat and scarf Charlie noticed a man marching up the apartment steps and knocking solidly on the door.
“It looks like she has a visitor now,” he said.
Margie scurried over to the window to see what her nephew was talking about.
“Oh, that’s just Mr. Bernard, the landlord,” she replied and finished wrapping her scarf around her throat.
“Well, he doesn’t look too nice, does he?” Charlie muttered.
Charlie and Margie made a clumsy pair as they made their way across the street, an old woman leaning into the support of a man with one leg. As they approached the staircase to the apartment complex Mr. Bernard came out of the young woman’s apartment, banging the door after him. He turned so violently that he almost ran into Margie. He mumbled through a gruff apology.
“What seems to be the matter, Mr. Bernard?” Margie asked him while she repositioned her scarf.
“It’s nothing, nothing,” the landlord muttered. “She’ll be out by next month anyway. Good riddance to her and her little brat.” Then he stomped off down the street.
Margie looked at Charlie, a worried expression on her face. He had noticed the wad of bills stuffed in the man’s fist and wondered what was going on.
“This doesn’t look like a good time for a social call,” she said.
Charlie agreed, and they started heading back home. Just as they were about to cross the street, however, Charlie stopped abruptly.
“Aunt Marge,” he said slowly. “What was it you were talking about earlier, something about a doll in the window?”
Thirty minutes later the two were back at Margie’s house, giggling like little kids. Margie found a box that was the perfect size, along with some pretty red paper. Charlie tied the bow. When Margie decided she should include the recently completed quilt with the gift, something inside her seemed to click into place. She realized that she had been making the quilt for the young woman the whole time but just didn’t know it. Now it felt right, like it was meant to be. She hoped that the girl would feel the love that went into every tiny stitch.
“You know, I think that I better stay the night,” Charlie said nonchalantly as they finished up the package. “I don’t really want to drive all the way home tonight, plus you might need some help with this in the morning.”
Margie suppressed a smug smile.
“That’s a fine idea,” she said. “You know that you are always welcome.”
Christmas morning came, and after Margie had sufficiently spoiled her nephew with a breakfast fit for a king, they decided that it was time to deliver the package. Margie waited in her front room, watching as Charlie awkwardly made it across the street, the shiny red box under one arm and a crutch under the other. He deposited the package at the young woman’s front door and knocked. She couldn’t help but laugh out loud, her hand over her mouth in anticipation, as Charlie made his way down the steps and crouched behind a car parked on the street. He barely made it before the girl opened the door and stepped outside. She looked around curiously, and then was joined by her daughter. The two of them took the package inside and shut the door.
It took a long time for Charlie to make it back to the house. He sat for a while behind the car and Margie wondered what was taking so long. Finally he opened her front door.
“Well?” she asked, and then bit on her lip when she noticed Charlie’s eyes glistening with tears.
It took him a few moments before he was able to respond.
“You were right. The doll looks exactly like that little girl. It’s like she was meant to have it for Christmas this year.” His voice choked for a moment, and then he continued. “You know what the Mamma said? ‘It looks like Santa found our house after all.’ I don’t think they had anything else for Christmas.”
“Oh, the little dears,” Margie cooed. She then took Charlie by the hand and sat him down by the window. “Come sit down for a while, Charlie, before you head home. I’ll make a nice mug of hot chocolate.”
Charlie smiled. “That sounds nice, Aunt Marge.”
As Margie went into the kitchen and warmed up a pan of milk, Charlie looked out the window at the apartment across the street. He could see a tree in their front window, with light glowing around it. Suddenly his eyes were caught by the silvery sparkle of something shimmering at the top of their tree.
It seemed fitting, he thought, that a beautiful glowing star would shine over the home of two angels, almost as though they were being watched over and protected.
He knew that he would be visiting again very soon.