Celia leaned forward to place her eye in line with the retinal scanner, waiting for the device to recognize her clearance to enter. She was uncertain whether to feel relief or shame that this year, unlike the previous five, there were no tears to confuse the system.
Visiting Thomas was a ritual she had lost the will to continue doing and she had spent all week composing in her head the words to tell him that, when she left today, she would not be coming back…ever.
Some part of her would always love the man who had smothered their children to death on Christmas Eve rather than risk disappointing them with no presents beneath the tree.
That part of her had slowly, but irrevocably, been silenced as another December had come and her dreams, once again, contained no visions of sugar plums but only of death and loss and nearly-insurmountable sadness.