The Christmas to Remember

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A heartfelt tale of a young girl facing the odds to protect her brother

Submitted: June 07, 2016

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Submitted: June 07, 2016

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It’s December 17, in New York City. Lights are hanging on every window and it is hard to escape it. Everyone is joyously surrounded by family, well, almost everyone. Deep in an alleyway, a young girl found a way to escape the lights. She is 14 and curled up into a ball. Her blanket for the long night is an old sheet that was eaten by mice and her pillow is an old dog bed. She is shielded from the wind with only a box and a trash can. Looking up she can see the life she should have had. a family laughing around the table full of ham, pie, rolls, and all sorts of food. The girl looked at her supper, a piece of stale bread, she imagined it was a piece of apple pie and chowed down.

Her name was Maggie Lynn. She had a happy family with her little brother named John, who was three, and their parents. They had supper together every night and laughed all the time. Maggie hadn’t laughed since the accident. It was Christmas Eve four years earlier and her parents were on their way back from last minute shopping. People warned them to stay out of the blizzard but they had to get back for Christmas with all the presents for their children. Maggie wished they would have listened.

On the car ride back a semi was driving towards them. He couldn’t see the road very well and he swerved into their lane. Her parents swerved out of the way but the ice made them slide into a lake.

After a few hours of waiting Maggie and John fell asleep with thoughts of Santa dancing in their heads, but when they ran down by the tree they saw Santa hadn’t come and he never would again. Maggie could tell something was wrong because their parents weren’t back but she let John believe Santa was running a little late because there were so many good children.

After they had breakfast someone knocked on their door. It was a lady who brought some bad news. She explained that last night their parents slid off the road and their car crashed into a lake, it went through the ice. John didn’t understand why everyone was sad, it sounded like a cool story for their parents to tell. Maggie explained that their parents would never get to tell the story, ever.

Until the funeral John and Maggie stayed with their aunt but after they were put into foster care. The system kept them together for a while. They never stayed in a house for long because Maggie thought nobody was good enough for John. After two years of foster care John found a house he loved. There were three other children to play with John and a dog. Maggie couldn’t stand the family because of how much John loved them. It looked like John had just forgotten their parents. After a while she left.

Maggie’s life got hard after she left. She spent her time running and hiding from the police. When she was safe from them she had to search for food and clean water. She rarely got a decent meal, and her home was a box in the back of an alley way. John she figures had long forgotten her, she left two years ago, but she hadn’t forgotten him. The family that she watched enjoy their dinner happily had a seven year old boy, his name was John. Maggie still watched over John and she had seen him be happy without her, but that dinner was different from the rest. After that dinner they were moving, and Maggie didn’t know.

John went to bed the night of December 17th and he did what he always did. He sat by his window and prayed then looked up at his wishing star and wished that he would find his sister. He did not remember much except that a few years ago there had been someone who stayed  by his side and always protected him. He needed that now, his family was happy but they were always busy, and moving to a new place is scary. He also remembered the comfort and love that he had felt, and now it was gone.

In the morning Maggie woke up to the sound of a truck pulling up to the side of the road. She ran to see what it was and was shocked, it was a moving truck. She saw John’s parents bring boxes down and couldn’t believe it, John was moving. She just stared frozen as they packed up and drove away but just before they turned the street corner John looked back and stared right at her.

Who was that John wondered. He thought she seemed familiar but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Then it hit him that young girl, who was covered in dirt, wore torn up clothes, and looked under fed was his sister. He couldn’t believe it, he found her right as he was leaving. Just when he was about to turn around thinking he was wrong he saw her run around the corner towards them.

Maggie raced down the street. She didn’t know what she was doing but she couldn’t watch him leave her life. She ran as fast as she could and didn’t look back. She ran, and ran but sadly she couldn’t keep up she collapsed knowing that he was gone.

“Run, run”, John shouted at the top of his lungs. His parents and siblings didn’t know why John was cheering but soon he gave up. He couldn’t believe it. His sister was alive and now he would never get to talk to her. If she had been there when he left, he wondered, maybe she had been there the whole time.

Maggie got up and walked slowly back to her alleyway. She had to find him just had to, but how. For the rest of that day Maggie sat in her box just lying there. Her brother was gone again and she didn’t even say good bye.

She thought about the day she had left him for the first time. They stayed in that house together for a week before she saw she couldn’t stay. John was five and played with the other children, Maggie couldn’t stand it. She would shove away the other kids to protect John and if she thought one of them was getting to close, she growled and at one point bit one of the other children. After five days Maggie noticed that John was quieter than usual, she asked him what was wrong and he said that nobody liked him. He explained that none of the children would play with him anymore and he didn’t have anyone except Maggie. At first Maggie enjoyed being John’s one and only, but then he ran to her and cried in her shoulder, she hugged him and told him it would be all right as she realized what she had done.

The next day she was nicer to the other children, and they started to play with John again but it was already too late. When she was walking to her room she heard her foster parents talking. She tried not to listen but then she heard her name and crept quietly to the door. She heard them say that she couldn’t stay there anymore or she would injure the other children, and that since she wouldn’t leave her brother then they both would have to leave the next day. Maggie thought about all the fun John had been having since they got there, how happy he was to play with other children, so that night she gave John one last kiss on his forehead and left.

Maggie lived on her own in New York City for a year before she realized exactly what had happened. She had been running from cops and searching for food but something was missing, John. She went back to the house and was about to knock when she heard something she hadn’t heard in a long time, John was laughing. She looked through a window and saw him giggling with the other children happy as could be. Maggie couldn’t just go back in his life and ruin that, so she found a nearby alley way and there she watched over John without him knowing, and on that day she decided that that is where she will stay, in the dark shadow wondering what could have been but never would be.

Maggie woke up and was peaceful, she had almost forgotten what had happened the day before but then it hit her. John had moved away and she had no idea where he was. She remembered how when he was going away he saw her and was happy, he cheered her on hoping she would catch up but she just couldn’t. She thought of how to get his new address and started at the post office, she walked in and was kicked out right away for they could not be seen with a homeless little girl.

For a while she sat on the sidewalk and was about to give up when someone tapped on her shoulder. It was a middle aged gentleman with black hair and a funny looking mustache, but that wasn’t all, he was wearing a blue mailman’s suit. He helped her stand up and said he saw them kick her out. He would’ve been out sooner but he had to wait for his break. He asked what she wanted and she gave him the names of John’s parents asking for their new address. After a few minutes the man came back and told her the address, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She asked how long it would take to get there walking and he said five days. He asked her why she would walk all that way but then he remembered that she probably had no other way to get there so he said good-bye and walked back to work.

Maggie walked away. She was happy because she had her destination but she was sad because she had to walk all the way there, and agitated because it would take five days. She knew that the weather was cold and with sleep and finding food it should take double that amount so she had to set out right away. Maggie gathered her few belongings which included a teddy bear her parents gave her, a locket that had a picture of her and her family right after John was born, and a tiny little blanket that she was sent home in from the hospital. She found a little bit of food in a nearby trash can and set of on her journey.

After walking for a half hour she found her first obstacle, to get to her destination she would need to take a short a short walk on an iced lake. Maggie was terrified of lakes ever since her  parents’ accident. They died crashing through a lake and she was afraid of falling through. She took one step onto the ice, slowly her foot was set down and it sent a chill  through her bones. Behind her someone stepped on a puddle and it cracked, Maggie jumped back terrified. After she collected her senses she again tried the ice. She had already wasted time gaining confidence and couldn’t go around the lake so going on was her only hope.

Maggie took one slow step, gently, gently she put down her foot. As soon as her foot was on she bolted across the lake, full speed ahead. When she made it about halfway she stopped running and stopped to take a breath. She was relieved she had made it halfway across already and she wasn’t afraid, but then she heard it. Maggie screamed as the ice began to crack underneath her, she ran to the end of the lake and just as she made it to shore the ice broke apart. Maggie then vowed never to go on ice again.

Maggie decided that she would have a quick snack then keep going but be careful since night was approaching. Maggie looked in a small bag that she stored her stuff in and found a peice of bread. Maggie split it in half then walked on as she ate. When dark had finally approached Maggie knew that she would have to stop for the night. She had four more days of walking at the least and needed her strength. Maggie found a large tree and immediately went to sleep.

When Maggie woke up she was somewhere new. She opened her eyes to a bright light and when she sat up she realized she was in a room. Frantically she looked for a door and luckily she spotted one not to far from her. She ran to the door but a woman in her twenties stepped in between Maggie and the door.

While Maggie had been sleeping the girl found her laying in the park. She was a nurse and brought Maggie to her house so she wouldn’t freeze to death. She explained to Maggie that she had been sleeping for three days and would have to rest for a few days before she could leave to go where ever she was going. Maggie screamed that she had to leave but the lady wouldn’t budge. Maggie knew this lady didn’t understand but she couldn’t tell her. The lady explained that Maggie couldn’t leave or she probably wouldn’t make it to where she was going.

Maggie sat and thought if she had been sleeping for three days that meant that it was Dec. 22, three days until Christmas. Maggie sighed knowing that she would again spend Christmas alone. The lady saw how sad Maggie was and asked why, with nothing else to do Maggie told her everything that had happened in the past four years. The lady explained that if Maggie rested for the day, tomorrow she would take Maggie to her brother. That day Maggie laid down on the couch and did exactly as she was asked.

The lady told Maggie her name was Jen then told her stories while she laid there about Princesses and Princes. Maggie listened intently and recognized one in particular. When Maggie was little they didn’t have a lot of money so her mother always told her stories, but Maggie’s favorite was Cinderella. Maggie dreamed of being Cinderella and finding her prince but it never happened. Jen told the story of Cinderella with a smooth voice and to Maggie it sounded almost exactly like her mother’s. As the story neared it’s end a tear slipped down Maggie’s face as she just knew everything would be all right.

The next morning Maggie and Jen hopped in Jen’s car for the six hour drive plus a little detour. Jen took Maggie to the mall and told her that she could pick out any dress for her to wear when she met her brother. For three hours Maggie and Jen shopped at the mall and then finally around one o’clock they were on their way to John.

After about three hours they reached Harrisburg and stopped for a bite to eat. Maggie refused to order anything so she could get to John faster but of course Jen ordered her something and when the food came Maggie couldn’t refuse. When they  finished eating Maggie and Jen went to the car. After they were on the road for a few minutes the car started to make a funny noise. Jen said it was fine but soon they were going into the ditch.

Maggie crawled out of the car. She couldn’t believe it, she had just found a friend. Jen was still in the car unconscious. A car drove past and stopped to come help them. Maggie not wanting to be stopped and have to put her journey on hold ran away in the direction she hoped would lead to Pittsburgh.

John sat it his new room looking up to the sky. He had hoped his sister would find a way to him but he knew that she wasn’t coming. He had stayed in his room practically the whole time they lived there so that if she came he would be there. He dreamed of his sister just as his mom knocked on the door. She begged John to come out of his room and told him that he was probably daydreaming when they left and imagined the whole thing. John realized that she was probably right and left his room finally to enjoy the Christmas season with his family.

Maggie ran for the rest of the day until she could run no further and then fell asleep. When she awoke she ran and soon found a sign that pointed to the road that led to Pittsburgh. She tried to find a ride and found someone she thought she would never see again. Jen had just been released from the hospital and was on her way to see if Maggie made it. They hugged and soon were on their way together to Pittsburgh.

When she got to Pittsburgh she found the house. For a half hour she stood there not sure what to do, but then she saw him. John was staring out the window, this time he didn’t look happy, he looked sad. Maggie knocked on the door and saw John look at her through the window. He ran to the door as fast as he could. His mom was about to answer the door when he burst in front of her, slammed the door open, and hugged Maggie.

That Christmas was a memorable one. Maggie and John spent it together and were happy. After Christmas, sadly they were told that John’s mom could not take her in. Jen offered to take them but the final decision was up to John. John looked at the family he had now then back at his sister. His mom saw the look in his eyes and pulled him aside. She explained that she saw he hadn’t been really happy for a while. She said that if he left they would still visit him and that they would understand.

The next day Maggie, Jen, and John said goodbye to the people that had raised John. From then on they lived together happy again never forgetting the adventure that brought them there together. John’s family kept their promise and visited every once in awhile. With help from John, Maggie was ice skating in a few years, and every Christmas eve they visited their parents grave and Maggie read Cinderella.

 


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