The Secret Santa

24th December it was! My mother, she was an angel. The way she moved, the way she looked; people often said that I resembled her; totally! She was inspiring, beautiful, calm but above that all, she had immense patience, so much that she didn’t give up while delivering me, even though doctors had said that she would die if she had me! She was my only family and also my only friend.

I am Eva Joseph. I was born in a small and pretty village- Santa Cruz, in north Goa. It is said to be the largest village of Goa. I was born amidst greenery and so Green was my favorite color as well. My Mom’s favorite color was Red. Both of us, me and my Mom often combined Red and Green in our dresses. It was, as if these two colors were our life’s theme. People often said that we two were the perfect combination and also the symbolism of Christmas, our most cherished and special festival. Mom and me were forever excited for Christmas and we often planned special things.

When I was too little to understand the complexities of life, perhaps, 8 years old, my Mom planned special things for me, for my Christmas surprise. Like everyone else, my childhood was mystified by the fictions, fantasies and myths associated with Christmas. Every year, on 24th December, Mom used to tell me to shut my eyes tight and sleep; else Santa Clause won’t come. I remained excited to see Santa, but she used to tell me that if I kept my eyes opened, Santa would peep in and go away, but he won’t leave the gifts. Laughing inside at my innocence, my Mom used to put her palm on my eyes as she started to narrate the bedtime stories.

“Santa, you see, comes from the land of snow. He wears Red, my favorite color and plants the gifts on the Christmas tree that you decorate with Green, your favorite color. He has a lot of sweets for you and when I tell you to put a pair of socks under your pillow, that’s the real reason. When Santa sees you sleep; carefully, very carefully, he slides his hand under your pillow and extracts the socks. The prettier your socks are, the more sweets you get. He looks at your socks and fills it with the sweets. Then he carefully, very carefully again; plants a kiss on your cheeks and wishes you a very Merry Christmas. Then he leaves the gift under your lighted Christmas tree and leaves.”

Every year I used to sleep with the same Santa story. Next morning, on 25th December, when I used to wake up, the first thing that I did was to pull out the socks from beneath my pillow and find it filled with sweets and that too, my favorite ones. Then I used to rush out to check my gift under the Christmas tree. I always found what I desired, surprised by the notion that Santa always gifted me what I asked a day before from my Mom. On Christmas, Mom and me did a lot of baking. Her melodious voice always singing this:

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!

One Christmas, I asked Mom how come Santa gave me the same thing that I asked from her and how did Santa know what my favorite sweets were. A playful smile filled Mom’s face as the Red color of the dress reflected on her face as well.

“Eva, Santa is primarily your best friend. He loves you the most. You are his cherished child; just the way you are my most beautiful child. He treats you the way I do. He loves you the way I do. So, when you tell me that you need something, he ignores the world and listens to our conversations. You see that door? He hides behind that door and listens to what you say. He wants you to be happy forever, just the way I want; and so you are the most important person for Santa. He has also promised that he will never come before you but will one day; make you feel his presence around.”

Hearing Mom’s words, something, something very sweet ran down my spine. I really felt that I was the privileged child and that Santa actually ignored the world to pay heed to my words. Santa was somewhere there, always listening to me, always wanting me to be the happiest and the luckiest person of the world. But it also saddened me that I would never see him.

As I grew up and people started calling me an “adolescent,” the Santa stories and the childhood tradition of keeping the socks under the pillow, started fading. But if there was one thought that Mom painted on the canvas of my mind, it was that Santa really existed, but only for me and that he will make me feel his presence at the right time. In the meanwhile, Mom told me that I should never tell about Santa to someone, lest he become angry and never appear. It was my secret. So, she promised me to never tell about my secret to anyone and that in case, I wanted anything and Mom was not there around, I should just write it to Santa and he would fulfill my desire.

I was 17 and it was the month of October. As always, Mom and me were gladly waiting for Christmas. I was secretly waiting for my gift, that I would tell Mom on 24th December and Santa would give me on 25th. One October evening, as I came back from school, I found an unusual sight at my home. People all around! I felt confused. I rushed towards my home and when people saw me there, they told me to stop. I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to rush towards my mother, tell her the tales of the day, hug her tight and sleep with my head on her lap. When I refused to give in to people’s demand of not going inside, someone held my hand and took me inside. With a step in the home, everything around me started swirling; the way Mom’s clothes did in the washing machine. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe what people said there. I couldn’t believe that Mom was gone. I couldn’t believe that she was no more. Someone said that she met with an accident and died on the spot. Unbelievable! I couldn’t believe how things changed from morning to evening. Just in the morning, she was wearing her favorite Red, practicing her baking skills and singing:

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!

…and now she was gone into another world, in the pool of her favorite color- Red all around. What an irony it was! She left me. I felt betrayed. She left me unaware. She left me in the middle of Christmas planning. She left me alone. She snatched my only best friend. She left me forever. I felt…numb. The world started rolling. I didn’t know what to do, how to do, how to go ahead in life, I didn’t know anything. November went down with Mom’s thoughts as I recalled how she used to do and fix things in the home because now, I was all by myself; all alone without a friend and without a family. I felt her presence very much there, so much, that I sometimes felt that she was actually physically there. But as I tried to touch her, hug her; there was no one except the air that became heavier with the absence of Mom and my aloofness that killed me from inside.

It was December and though my solitude always gripped me, but this month it was at its peak; as if the ghost of deafening silence and detachment had clasped me in its claws. Mom’s memories, especially in the Christmas time, killed me, literally. Eventually, 24th came. I lay on my bed and cried from dawn to dusk. I cried and as my eyes became heavy with the burden of tears, I shut them and went into the deep slumber. I woke up again, the process repeated itself and I went back to sleep again. This happened around four times, until, by the fifth time, a dream woke me up. It wasn’t a long dream actually. Just a message and it woke me up.

“Eva. Get up. Bake. Sing. Don’t Cry. Remember me peacefully. I am with you. I bless you from amidst the stars. I am in the sky. Get up. Recall my words. Write it to Santa. Write it to Santa. Write it to Santa. Santa is your family. Santa is your secret. Recall. Remember my words. Write it to Santa.”

I woke up with a sudden effect. “Mom,” I looked around, called her, but she was not there. Just those words. Just that message, with a special mention of, “Write it to Santa.” I didn’t know what? What to write? What do I need from Santa? What was it that Mom asked me to recall? I sat still and as I did a little brainstorming, the words came rushing from beneath the piles of memories, “Santa is your secret. Promise me that you will never tell about this secret to anyone and that in case, you want anything and I am not there around, just write it to Santa and he would fulfill your desire.”

I splashed cold water at my face and my eyes burned. I came to life, went outside, picked up a pen and a paper and just because Mom said, I wrote it to Santa.

“Hi Santa,

I don’t know who you are and what you are. All I know is that you are someone and I believe in you because Mom told me to. Just so you know; Mom is no more. She came in my dream and said that she was amidst the stars. I believe that too, because Mom said it. Mom used to tell me that after her, you were my only family and my only friend. I don’t know though how much to trust that because I have neither seen you, nor heard from you and as a matter of fact, I also completely forgot about you until Mom reminded me about you in my dream. But if Mom says that you really are my secret and that I should trust and tell it to you, then I will.

I am really alone, Santa. Mom has left me and I don’t know how to live without her. She has made me really unaccompanied, for which I am quite angry with her but about that I’ll tell her someday for I know now that she is amidst the stars and that I can talk to her whenever I feel like. As for you, today is 24th December and tomorrow is Christmas. I don’t know what to ask except that I really need someone, some company, anyone, perhaps an Angel. I know it’s something that’s difficult, but not impossible. And as a matter of fact, Mom told me once that you are my best friend like she was and that I am your cherished child. You want me to be happy forever. That’s my Christmas present Santa. I need an angel. I need someone. I need a shoulder to cry on. I need a hand to hold. I need someone to sit next to me when I look up at the stars and talk to Mom. Please give me an Angel. Please Santa.

Eva.”

I didn’t know how much of it was true. After writing it, I placed it just near the door from where Mom told once that Santa peeped in and overheard my conversations with her. Thereafter I shut my eyes and again went to sleep only to be woken up by a thundering sound. I woke up with a continuous knocking at my door. I rushed towards the door, unlocked the latch and found a beautiful and young, almost my age; man standing in front of me.

“Who are you?” He was so handsome, so immaculate, that I stammered in even a three-word sentence. Perhaps, his beauty and my own horribleness made me conscious.

“I am Alan. I needed to meet you.”

Alan and I talked over the table for long and when he finished, I was almost broken by the truth he told me and felt even more aloof and alone. Alan got up from his chair, came next to me, touched my hand and as I leaned into his shoulder to cry, he consoled me like an Angel and wished me a Merry Christmas.

Epilogue

When Eva went to unlock the latch that day, she didn’t even realize that it was the Christmas morning and that she would be greeted by her desire, her wish, her Angel, Alan, that day. Alan was really the Angel that Santa and of course, Eva’s Mom sent for her on Christmas as her Christmas present.

On that day, Alan told Eva that when her mother met with an accident, he was there. No one went near her to even check. They all just surrounded her as she lay on the road in the pool of blood. When Alan rushed to check on her, in her last few breaths, she only said this to Alan-“My daughter. Take Care of her. Be her Angel.” She was later rushed to the hospital and brought home. No one else in the neighborhood knew more that this story and in the meanwhile, Alan, who himself was the alone person sans family, kept searching for ‘the daughter whose mother lost her life in an accident.’ Alan searched for Eva all these two months with just this little piece of information.

When he landed at Eva’s door, he knew that he would be her Angel forever, her happiness for the lifetime and also her mother’s “last wish” and her “first real-life wish from Santa, her Secret family.”

 

Published by akanksha89

Writing for me is another word for 'breathing.' It is my addiction and I wish and hope that this addiction takes me far in realizing my dream of being a very successful writer. I believe in laughter with my friends, dipping into my thoughts and extracting some really powerful and inspiring stories. I believe in living free, spending each day with a lot more courage and strength. I love lone reading and my dream is to have a beautiful huge library in a home, with a coffee vending machine in the corner and a bean bag where I can just sit and read whatever I want- no one to disturb and no one to intrude my privacy, my "me-time." Keep Reading!! Disclaimer: All the stories on this blog are purely a work of fiction and writer's own imagination and are not copied from anywhere else. DO NOT COPY any of these stories. Also, all the characters of the stories are purely a work of fiction and imagination and have no resemblance to any person living or dead. The stories on this page are meant for recreational purpose and for readers' interest. Any action taken by any of the reader (after reading any of the story) is utterly their own responsibility.

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