Gingerly sliding her hand in the packet ever so slightly fearful of being caught in the act, she removes one of the cookies. To her infant glee, it’s crumbly and not too dry. It was her firm belief that there was nothing worse than a dry cookie. A dry cookie wasn’t worth eating at all, not even with ice cream. As an adult, such a term would take on a whole different meaning, but this six-year-old Gretchen was as innocent as innocent could be. The cookie she picks out resembles a full moon. Pressing her thumb into it, she leaves an impression the same way she does when she walks in fresh snow, or upon the sand on the nearby beach where she roamed during the summer months when she was allowed outside. Her parents weren’t the holidaying type, but rare weekend breaks by the beach were something she looked forward to more than anything. The sight of the endless sea; the smell of donuts. The buzz and chatter of other people as the sound of music and life teemed like the chatter of crickets in the long, tall grass behind her grandparents’ house. Just thinking about it makes her smile, and as she brings the cookie to her lips, her heart skips a beat. Bringing her knees up beneath her chin, the warm air from the heater slides around her limbs. She feels orangey; as orangey and as wholesome as a Christmas tree. It goes without saying that her mother didn’t believe in Christmas, and so she’d never had the pleasure of a tree of her own, but whenever she looked out the window and saw the trees in other people’s homes, the lights and decorations on their branches made her soul dance with joy.