For the full suspension of a minute, Sarumezer only stared at the darkness where the spirit of Gandalf Marely once was. Long after the echo of Gandalf’s last words had faded, Sarumezer shook himself back to his senses. No sign of the phantom remained. “Orcbug,” he muttered. He shut the curtains around the bed and sank into a dreamless sleep.
The pendulam on the clock swayed back and forth for another couple of hours until the stroke of one seemed to ring louder than the others before it. The clock face glowed and a phantom flowed into the room. He was a short little guy, rather chubby, and had extra-large, hairy feet. He opened the bed curtains and giggled as he began tickling Sarumezer’s nose with some holly. The spectre laughed even more when the old wizard awoke with a great sneeze.
Sarumezer stared down at the ghost. “Samwise Gamgee?” he choked.
“No, I am the Ghost of Christmas Past whose coming was foretold to you,” Sam protested.
“Why are you here?” Sarumezer demanded.
“Hey, they told me to come. Something about your welfare.”
“A night of unbroken rest ain’t my welfare,” the wizard snapped.
“Well, it’s for everybody else’s cause you snore,” Sam muttered. “Now come. I’ve only got one hour before bedtime.”
Sam led Sarumezer to the window and it opened with a wave of his hand. Sarumezer went pale. “But I can’t fly!” he protested edging away from the sill.
“I know,” Sam replied and added in a disapproving tone, “You get to ride Bill.”
Before Sarumezer could ask who Bill was, a chestnut pony came trotting in mid-air toward the window. “Bill the Pony…can FLY!?” Sarumezer squeaked.
“There are many things about Bill we have yet to discover,” Sam said with adoration as Bill came to a stop by the window. He snorted in disdain at Sarumezer. However, he allowed the wizard to sit upon him and they took off toward the horizon. The world seemed to melt like a chalk-portrait in rainwater.
Bill may have allowed Sarumezer on his back, but that did not mean he made the ride a smooth one. He flew in a zig-zags, and spirals, and twisty turns until Sarumezer felt like he was going to be sick. Sam just watched it all with an amused expression.
Finally, they landed in a room empty of everything except a young boy sitting next to the fireplace. “Do you know this child?” Sam inquired.
“It’s me!” Sarumezer gasped, his eyes wide with disbelief. “It’s me as a young lad reading…” He raised a quizzical brow. “…Robinson Crusoe?”
“Eek!” Sam yelped. He ran over to the boy and snatched the book out of his hand, replacing it with a book of elvish lore. The boy simply stared at Sam, then began reading again. Sam scurried back to Sarumezer and whispered, “Sorry. The Props Master must have forgotten that Robinson Crusoe hasn’t been written yet.”
As they stood there, Sarumezer watched his childhood pass and the boy by the fire grew into a handsome adolescent at eighteen. Bill looked at the young man and then at Sarumezer as if to ask, “What happened?”
At that moment, the door opened and Lord Elrond, the Head Master of the school, stepped into the room. “Wow, I never knew Elrond ran a school,” Sam commented.
“Sarumezer, the coach has arrived,” Elrond spoke up. “Do you not want to go home for Christmas?”
“Bah! Orcbug!” young Sarumezer replied spitefully. “Who cares about Christmas?”
“Personally, I like `humbug’ better,” Sam whispered to old Sarumezer.
“Get over it,” Sarumezer shot back.
Elrond smiled at young Sarumezer’s reaction understanding that Sarumezer’s father never allowed him to come home for Christmas. “Perhaps this may change your mind.” Elrond stepped aside, and a young girl about fourteen rushed forward.
“Sarumezer!” she cried joyfully.
“Ria?” old Sarumezer gasped.
“Ria!” young Sarumezer exclaimed, catching her in his arms.
“Your girlfriend?” Sam inquired.
“No, you stupid dolt!” old Sarumezer shouted. “She’s my sister!”
Sam and Bill stared up at him with a look of wonder. “You had a sister?” the hobbit asked in disbelief. Bill cocked his head to one side.
“Yes,” Sarumezer answered softly. “She died years ago, during child labor giving birth to…Faramir, Boromir’s younger brother.”
Sam shook his head and sighed. “I am not going to ask. Now that this is out of the way, let us see another Christmas.” He waved his holly and the scene changed. Now, the odd trio from the present stood in a warehouse. Young Sarumezer, around twenty-two, and an elf worked quietly at their desks.
“Bless my old withered soul!” old Sarumezer cried. “It’s Celeborn! He was my partner at the warehouse.”
“Sarumezer! Celeborn!” a cheery voice called. The two looked up from their work as a short man with a mass of curly hair entered the room. “Clear it up, boys! It’s Christmas Eve and it’s time for the party to begin!”
“Why it’s Bilbo Baggins, my employer!” Sarumezer exclaimed. “I can’t believe this!”
“You worked for Mister Bilbo?” Sam squeaked. “He must be older than I thought.” Bill nodded in agreement.
The guests came quickly. Perhaps the grandest of all was a beautiful elf maiden with shiny blonde hair and who seemed to glow as she walked. “Is that…?” Sam choked.
“Yes,” Sarumezer breathed in awe, tears in his eyes. “Galadriel, my Belle.”
In a sense of wonder, they watched Galadriel and young Sarumezer bump into each other. Blushing, the young couple exchanged apologies, and then introductions. Shortly after, they were dancing together.
“You went out with Galadriel?” Sam gasped. “No wonder Celeborn looks like he wants to kill you.”
Indeed, the young elf was glaring so darkly at young Sarumezer and Galadriel, had young Sarumezer looked at Celeborn, he probably would’ve dropped dead. “Well, as much as I’d love to linger and see what happens,” Sam spoke up, “we have to go. One more shadow to look at.”
And the next thing Sarumezer knew, the scene changed again. They were now in a park, the snow falling gently onto the white covered ground. They had traveled forward again, and now it was five years later. Galadriel stood next to a bench, pacing back and forth with an air of impatience.
“Belle!” a voice called. She turned as young Sarumezer, twenty-seven, ran up to her. “I am so sorry I am late!”
“Where have you been?” Galadriel demanded softly.
“Work,” Sarumezer replied. “You know, integers, percentages, money…takes up a lot of time.”
Young Sarumezer took her hands in his, and they sat down together on the bench. “Now, what is it you wanted to tell me about, darling?”
Galadriel seemed to hesitate then took a deep breath. “I wish to break off our engagement,” she finally announced, releasing his hand.
Young Sarumezer looked stunned as if someone just shot him in the gut. “You can’t be serious,” he said, almost pleading.
“But I am,” Galadriel replied standing. “You have become someone I do not wish to know. A golden idol has replaced me. I release your hand as I release you from my heart. Goodbye, Sarumezer. May you fare well in your life-long journey however dark it may become.”
Sarumezer watched in shock as his beloved Galadriel walked away from him. “Belle!” he called. “Belle!” But she did not turn toward him.
Young Sarumezer sat on the bed, his head buried in his hands. The old Sarumezer was in tears as witnessed a memory he had long locked away. “Man, that was harsh,” Sam spoke quietly.
Sarumezer whirled on him. “Do you delight in torturing me!?” he shouted.
“Don’t blame me!” Sam exclaimed. “It’s your own fault these shadows have become what they are!”
Sam shrugged and climbed onto Bill. “Come on, Bill,” he said. “We still got ten minutes before bedtime.” And with that, Sam and Bill galloped off, and Sarumezer was once more alone in his room.