During the winter months, Celeste’s father was out of work. He stayed home most of the time getting drunk with Doris. Inside their log cabin home, the air was stale and corrupted as Celeste made the most of her time. She would retreat to the little shed engulfing herself with her books and homework, while longing to be with her grandfather. With the help of Mr. Hicks, Celeste was able to catch up on her failing grades. At times, Mr. Hicks would interrogate the cowgirl about her parents. Celeste in the end would never give up morsels of her sad life to the librarian. She tipped toed around his questions, while giving him small happy pieces of her life in the woods.
The time came when school would be out for a two week Christmas session. Celeste couldn’t wait because it meant that she would be staying with her grandfather the whole time school was out. She had pleaded with her father to let her stay with grandpa telling him he needed time alone with Doris. Her father agreed which made Celeste a happy camper. On the day she was to leave, her father went to the store vowing to return and take her later to his father-in-laws home. Doris stayed behind while Celeste packed her belongings in a little suitcase. Her energy felt like it was going to explode with happiness knowing she was going to get the hell of Dodge.
Celeste took a deep breath and could smell smoke filter throughout the home. She stops packing and heads out of her room to see what was burning. “Doris are ya cooking woman?” Celeste asked softly. The minute the cowgirl steps into the living room she watches Doris empty the contents of the pretty hat box she found in the shed in the flames of the fireplace.
Unable to move, Celeste is flabbergasted as she gazes upon her burning mother’s documents in the fire pit. She lets a tear fall in sadness, knowing she would never find out what was in the box. “Burn bitch, burn!” Doris spoke out in anger. Celeste was about to turn around when Doris looked up and saw the little girl’s tears. “She is long gone, there is no need for her shit to be here in my house,” Doris spit out. “As you wish Doris,” Celeste commented without anger, and turned on her heels to finish her packing.
Celeste shuts her bedroom door and begins to ball out her eyes in silence. She would be damned if she let Doris know how much it hurt her to see the burning papers. Thank heavens Celeste had a lock on the door when Doris began to turn the knob unable to enter her domain. She screams out her ugly words pounding on the door for Celeste to unlock the barricade. Celeste didn’t listen and crumbles on top of her bed in sorrow. Since the cowgirl refuses to put more fire on the dilemma Doris created, she finishes her packing and stays in her room until her father came home.
“Let’s go Celeste time is ticking girl.” Celeste immediately grabbed her suitcase and bolted out of her room knocking into her father with great force. “What the hell is a matter with ya girl?” Celeste gawked at her father in fear she might lose her top and spill the beans what Doris did, but she held her tongue and apologized for knocking into her father. “Have ya been crying?” her father asked her. “Just a little papa, I was thinking of mama.” He nodded his head in understanding and said, “Well let’s take ya to your papa’s home, I am sure he is excited to spend some time with his granddaughter.” Celeste smiled and walks away from her father heading through the kitchen where Doris sat and smoked a cigarette while drinking her vodka at the kitchen table.
Celeste didn’t say good-bye she walked out of the house with suitcase in tow, and got into the auto as she watches her father and Doris kiss. Her heart wanted to bellow out the injustice of seeing the smirk upon Doris face as her father was walking towards the car. Celeste lowers her eyelids so she didn’t have to see the bitch’s smug face any longer. “Okie dokie little one, ya got everything ya need,” her father asks. “Yep, let’s go papa,” is all Celeste said when she hears the engine roars to life.
It had been over a few months Celeste spent time with her grandfather, she was so excited to be pulling into his snowy driveway, allowing her to smile for the first time in months. Henry stepped out of his home to greet Celeste and her father. Celeste drops her suitcase and barrels into her grandfathers waiting arms. “Papa, I have missed ya.” Henry lightly touches the crown of Celeste’s ratty hair, and gives her father a lethal gaze. Neither one spoke a word to each other when her father spoke up to Celeste. “See ya in a few weeks girl, mind ya manners with your papa.” Celeste released Henry and gave her father a hug good-bye, and wished him a Merry Christmas.
Henry took hold of Celeste’s suitcase and turned his back on the couple. Celeste let go of her father, and ran to catch up with her grandfather sliding her tiny hand into the protective fold of his powerful mighty hand. He opens the screen door to his home and let’s Celeste enters before he turns his head towards her father and gives him a nasty stare. Celeste’s father started his engine and was quickly out of site when Henry shuts the front door.