The Gift

An L.A. Christmas Story

Christmas Joshua Tree

On Christmas Eve, Juliette shows up at my place in Pasadena with her four-year old daughter, TS, and five shopping bags bursting with unwrapped gifts. It’s dusk when the doorbell rings, and when I look through the window it takes me a second to figure out who it is. I haven’t seen either of them since TS was a baby, and the last I heard they were living in Stockton with a guy Juliette met on the Internet.

“I didn’t know you were coming,” I say. It comes out sounding unfriendly, …

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