Adam felt lonelier than ever this holiday season. His son, Mason, was on a ski trip with his wife’s family, and Adam would be spending Christmas completely alone. But he ran into his neighbor, Riley, at the store and invited her over. After spending Christmas night together, they decided not to waste more time.
Adam Tillman sighed while pushing his cart at the supermarket. Christmas was only two days away, and he would be spending it alone for the first time in his life. His wife, Amalia, died three years ago, but his son, Mason, always came to visit him in Yuma, Arizona.
Unfortunately, Mason’s wife’s family planned a skiing trip to their lodge in Aspen, Colorado, which was over three hours from their home in Denver. At 77 years old, Adam was in no shape to go with them. His son promised they would visit on the 26th, but that still meant that Adam would spend Christmas day alone. It wasn’t a great feeling. He was a family man, through and through.
But he understood. Mason was in his 30s, and he deserved to have fun. Moreover, his wife and kids had not spent the holidays with her side of the family in a few years. This was the best option for them, but it meant that Adam would be alone.
Adam felt even worse as he walked the aisles at the supermarket, watching people buying their last-minute ingredients for Christmas. But he was still going to cook an excellent dinner for himself.
Suddenly, someone ran into his cart with her own. “Oh, excuse me!” he heard a woman’s voice say. Adam looked up and recognized his neighbor, Mrs. Burks.
“Mrs. Burks, don’t worry about it,” the older man said and smiled kindly.
“Oh, it’s you, Mr. Tillman. Please, call me Riley. I think we’re about the same age, right?” the woman added laughing.
“Then you have to call me Adam too. You’re right. I believe we’re both in our 70s? But we don’t have to say the exact number,” Adam joked. Riley agreed, and they chatted for several minutes about the upcoming holidays. Adam told her his son was not coming this year and why.
“Well, we’re on the same boat. My daughter, Lucy, can’t come until the 26th because they’re spending it with her husband’s side. I had Thanksgiving this year. It’s so crazy dividing holidays with your kids, isn’t it? No matter how old they get, you still see them as your babies,” Riley expressed with a bittersweet grin.
“I know exactly how you feel. But hey, I have an idea. Why don’t we spend Christmas together since we’re both alone this year?” Adam suggested and she gave him a genuine smile.
“I would too!” Riley chirped, and they made arrangements on what to bring.
Adam didn’t know much about his neighborhood or Riley, except that her husband died more than 15 years ago. She was friends with his late wife and grew fruit in her garden. He was looking forward to getting to know her more during Christmas.
The day came, and it was fantastic. Riley came to his house with a smoked ham glazed with pineapples and a fantastic pumpkin pie. Adam had prepared a small turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. He also opened a great bottle of wine. One thing led to another, and Riley spent the night at his house.
The following day, she said goodbye to him at the door, kissing his cheek and thanking him for everything. “My daughter is coming with her family. I need to get ready quickly,” she said and winked as she left.
Adam was not expecting his son until that night, but Mason and the gang arrived that afternoon. The older man gave his grandkids some presents, and they started playing around. While they were entertained, Adam took his son outside to share some beers and conversation.
They sat on Adam’s front porch furniture, and his son started talking about his time in Aspen. “But I’m glad to be here with you now. I don’t like being around too much snow. Yuma gets snow, but it’s not so bad,” Mason commented.
“Son, I need to tell you something. I hope you won’t be mad at me,” Adam blurted, not listening to his son’s rant about the weather. He spilled the beans about his night with Riley, and Mason actually smiled.
“I’m SO glad, Dad. I don’t know what your neighbor is like, but I couldn’t be happier for you!”
Suddenly, they heard some noise coming from the house across the street. Riley was coming out of her home, followed by her daughter and family. They walked towards them, and Adam heaved himself up from the chair to greet them.
“Hey, Lucy brought way too many pies. Do you like apples?” Riley said although Adam suspected it was just a ploy to get everyone together.
“Of course, we love apples! Come in. Come in!” the older man said, opening the door and ushering everyone inside. Mason couldn’t keep the grin off his face and patted his dad on the back. Both families had the best time.
Riley moved into Adam’s house before New Year’s Eve. “There’s no time to waste!” she said. Adam agreed wholeheartedly.