The arrival was pretty standard. Lots of people milling about to get off the plane and then the separation as space in the terminal permitted. I was in no rush, so I waited patiently to deplane. The business people in rows behind me passed me as I ambled up the jetway.
I was passing the other side of security when I saw Mikey and Ginny clustering their father. He held the baby and an arm around his wife as she related the events of the flight. I passed behind her so as to not get named, but Mikey saw me and waved at me. I responded in kind.
It wasn’t until I got to the street that I saw Ellie again, waiting for her ride. Like me, she had packed light and bypassed the baggage claim. She saw me in between checking her cell phone, and nodded to me.
A minute or so later a car swung in. The driver didn’t get out, and Ellie put her carry-on in the back seat. She gave me a last look and a nod before getting in. “Hon, you will never believe this. That guy in the hat ordered a chocolate milk—” the rest was cut off as the door shut, but the car didn’t drive away for at least a minute.
I felt something grab my leg then hit my foot. I looked down to see my Chandler novel, which I had forgotten on the plane. There was no sign of who had dropped it off, but I noticed something was different. Instead of my boarding pass for a bookmark, there was a jolly Santa Claus proclaiming “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”
Nikki sat there, her face unreadable. I had already finished my hot chocolate, and wasn’t looking to make any more, even though there was enough gingerbread to warrant it.
“I am no believer in fate or destiny, Matthew,” she said, finally.
“Okay,” I drew the word out.
“I say this because I think that you are enmeshed in something greater, an array of powers beyond your knowing have either planned something for you, or, by your own actions you have touched upon their plans and so have become part of them.”
I shrugged. “It’s like I told Ellie, I can’t think of the bad reality. That becomes paralyzing. I’ve got enough real, supernatural fear to deal with. I don’t have time for the existential stuff.”
“A pragmatic approach, but I do worry for you.”
“It’s Boxing Day. Nothing to worry about.” Then, I frowned. “I think. I don’t actually know anything about this holiday.”
Nikki laughed. “I think that what you have done is an adequate celebration. I confess that my yuletides are more enjoyable when spent in your company. I think I shall have to make it a tradition.”
“I’ll set another place at the table,” I smiled.