Table of Contents

Section 0: Home

Section 1: History

Section 2: Literature

Section 3: Philosophy

Section 4: Creative Writing

Patrick's Wonderful Life

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five

Click to enlarge Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am in a holiday humor,
and like enough to consent.

As You Like It, William Shakespeare

Chapter Five

Before Patrick could draw a fresh breath, the two of them were back in his house in Ireland again, standing in the tiny hallway inside the front door. Suddenly realizing how physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted he was, Patrick began to retreat to the study before his knees buckled beneath him.

But Gilbert laid a restraining hand on his arm. "Wait just a minute, my boy! Aren't you going to greet your guests?" he scolded fondly. "They'll be here any minute."

"Don't start that again, Gilbert," Patrick replied wearily. "If it makes you feel any better, you got your wish--this teacher learned a lesson, and it's been a real pisser But I'm too damn tired to do anythin' about it now--I'm beat to hell."

Gilbert shuddered delicately. "Yes, it has been a long night and, I must say, quite a productive one, but never fear that you've been 'beat' to that place, Patrick--quite the opposite! Now let's see if we can give you a second wind. I've just been reminded that it's been Christmas day for quite a few hours, and I believe you have some celebrating to do, my boy."

"Happy Christmas," Patrick said automatically. "Good-night, Gilbert. You've been a real mate, but I'm not in the mood for it right now. Go ahead and find yourself a place to sleep--or whatever you do--I'll be celebratin' Christmas alone."

"Oh, not too alone, I believe, Patrick! Not too alone!" Gilbert responded in growing excitement.

In astonishment, Patrick watched Gilbert all but hop up and down in glee and heard him squeal, "In fact, your Christmas gift is about to arrive!"

"Damn you, Gilbert," Patrick began, but his words were drowned out by the doorbell's piercing ring. He jumped, and then frowned at the sound. "Jesus, Joseph and Mary, just what I need now," he grumbled. The temptation to ignore whoever was ringing--Christmas carolers, probably, and their good cheer would serve only to remind him of his loneliness this day--was strong. But Gilbert looked at him so expectantly that Patrick turned the doorknob and cautiously opened the door.

"Patrick! Oh, Patrick! Patrick!" His beloved Margaret burst through the door, flying into his arms, as several packages went flying, unheeded, into the air around them. "Patrick, I'm home!"

"Angel!" Patrick shouted in joyous astonishment, wrapping his arms around her ander, don't we, Bo?"

"It's one of my favorites, too," Larry said quietly.

"What movie?" Patrick looked from Marty to Nora to Larry to Bo, without a clue as to what they were talking about.

"It's A Wonderful Life," Bo chimed in, quoting, "'Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.'"

Nora and Bo exchanged a smile, while Marty and Larry smiled to themselves--each of them remembering the scene and its particular meaning for them.

But to Patrick--who had never seen that movie, but had just starred in his own--the unfamiliar quote somehow meant most of all. A soft expression stole over his face as he gazed down at the bell still in Margaret's hand.

We'll take good care of it for you. Thank you again, Gilbert, he thought gratefully.

Only Patrick heard the bell tinkle once more and, from far, far away, the sound of a gentle, high-pitched voice. "Thank you, my dear, dear Patrick!"

End of Chapter Five | AKA The Happy Ending | Return to Chapter One
(Author's Note: With apologies and appreciation to Frank Capra and Charles Dickens.)