“And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.” ― Dr. Seuss
I am of the opinion that Christmas is not Christmas without a Grinch or a Scrooge thrown in for good measure, and though Lucas isn’t really a nasty-wasty skunk, or, for that matter, a miserly old man, if I’m being perfectly honest, he is a little cactus-y in a prickly personality sort of way. But his best and most endearing feature, as far as I’m concerned, is his barbed tongue. Trust me, he’s not afraid to use it either. I’ve gotta love that in a man, you know? When he’s asked how he knows Jeremy—barista, neighbor, right jolly old elf with a heart that’s already so big it’s fit to burst:
“How do know Jeremy?”
“He stalks me.”
Totally deadpan delivery. Plus, it’s true, but not in a scary I’m-going-to-strangle-you-with-your-own-garland-while-you-sleep sort of way. Really, Jeremy just admires Lucas from afar—or sometimes a-near—when Lucas gets a wild hair and decides to venture out of his apartment and down the stairs to the coffee shop he and Jeremy live above.
Lucas is agoraphobic, you see, so he spends a large part of his day staring out the window and studying the masses of humanity on the sidewalks below, those people who have the uncanny ability to go about the business of living life like it’s the easiest thing on earth to do. The longer Lucas is isolated and insulated from the world, the more he’s cut off from his emotions and the ability to be empathic with the human race at large. He lives within his collection of books and the journals he keeps that chronicle the people he observes while at the same time ignoring them. They’re the only personal glimpse the reader is given of Lucas that makes him feel a little bit more than just his abrasive exterior. But, and there’s always a but, isn’t there? Then Jeremy finally persists so aggressively that Lucas begrudgingly entertains the idea of attending Jeremy’s Christmas Eve party. Remember the ultimate moment of redemption for the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge? Lucas has his very own moment when Jeremy gives Lucas the gift of choice that comes from seeing himself through Jeremy’s eyes.
And that, dear readers, is the moment Lucas’s heart grew just a little bit more.
I loved this story because I adored Lucas, even though he isn’t an easy man to love. Jeremy was his perfect foil—the Cindy Lou Who to his Grinch. The Tiny Tim to his Scrooge. Jeremy is the man, maybe the only man, with a heart so full of cheer and goodwill he could melt Lucas with a kiss.