Vesta took stock of her holiday gifts. In her academic life, she had rarely celebrated much of anything. In an effort to fit in with the other spinsters at the rooming house, she’d feigned at least a passing interest in whatever the seasons brought. Her family had done a scripted exchange, drawing names and spending the required amount. It hardly amounted to an observance, or a gift even. But they were gone now. The black bow she’d received from Velma was incredibly thoughtful, perhaps the only gift she’d ever gotten that she loved. It suited her: conservative but stylish. At least, Vesta could make it so. She might have picked it for herself, she thought so well of it.
Her gift from Velma’s spirited friend, visiting over Thanksgiving and on into Christmas, took her completely by surprise. Not only did Vesta not have a gift to exchange with Scarlett, she hadn’t expected to receive one from her. It was not in Vesta’s style, and yet she loved it, strove to recognize herself in it. Or perhaps, more difficult still, strove to find that spirited angel within. Vesta studied the joyful angel. Vesta didn’t know Scarlett very well, but she was the high-spirited fun-making kind of woman that Vesta usually avoided. Looking at the silver sprite in her hand, she couldn’t at the moment understand why she’d avoided bubbly gals like Scarlett. That night she dreamed of dancing shiny angels beckoning and in the morning she wondered if Scarlett’s gift might not have been the key to something she needed to rethink. Something big.