The Christmas Gift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A Christmas wish that will break your heart.

Submitted: January 01, 2008

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Submitted: January 01, 2008

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It was Christmas time. On the streets carolers were singing and old men dressed as Santa Claus were taking gifts and money donations for the poor. People with armloads of shopping bags were calling to their children when they wandered away. Lovers were walking slowly and stopping in shop windows to admire each others gorgeous eyes in the light.

The city was New York, the year was 1897. I had lived in this city all my life; I loved it too much to leave. But soon, I would.

“Mama?” I heard her tiny voice. My little girl, grown up so fast. It was my sickness that was causing it, so much weight had been put on her shoulders. That should never happen to such a small child.

“Mama?” The small voice called out again. “Yes Maria, I am here.” My voice shook as I spoke. I was so frail, like an old woman I was fading away. “How was your day dear?”

“It was good Mama. Julie and I played jump rope outside until our hands were so cold they turned blue!” I could see the excitement on her face as she remembered. I remembered too. I remembered being a child and all the joy it brought me. It was a shame that so soon, my story was finding its ending.

“When will Father be home?”

“I don’t know Maria, another long hard day looking for work, he might not be back for a long while. We should go ahead and eat.” Maria nodded, “Alright Mama, I’ll warm up the soup from last night.”

“Thank you child.”

 

 

Late that night, I heard Patrick finally come in the door, the cold winter wind tugging at him. He walked to Maria’s room to gaze at his sleeping daughter before coming to bed.

“Kathryn?” he whispered. “I’m awake Patrick, I’m always awake. It’s so hard to fall asleep lately.”

He sighed, “How did you feel today?” I gazed into my husbands loving eyes and my heart broke. “I felt worse; I feel worse with every passing day. I won’t last much longer.”

His eyes filled with tears. He knew I had lost my battle with the sickness long ago. Now it was torturing me, dangling the chance at life in front of my face, making me jump pitifully for it, only to injure myself more. It was a hard, sad way to go. But it was the way fate had chosen for me, and I was going to live with it. But not for long.

 

 

The next day was a Saturday, and Patrick took Maria shopping for Christmas. We had very little money and Maria was thrilled to be going at all.

When they returned, everything was normal. Maria, my sweet Maria, so excited with her new doll, was dancing around the house swinging it wildly in the air. Patrick was quiet.

Later, when Maria went to Julie’s house to show off her doll, Patrick finally spoke up.

“Out shopping, Maria saw a Santa on the street corner. She walked up to him and began to tell him the things she wanted for Christmas. It was so calming to see her finally acting like a normal child again.”

I hated the burden I had placed on my family. It ate away at me every day, until I thought it could do no more damage, but it did.

“She also told him something else. She said for Christmas,” He paused. I knew something had happened. “For Christmas this year, if she got nothing else, all she wanted was for you to get better.” His eyes were teary again, and I found that mine were as well.

 

Three days later it was Christmas eve, I had expected to go long before now. I knew my time was quickly approaching, so I pulled Maria onto my lap just as she was going to bed.

“You know I love you very much Maria. I love you more than anything in the world.” She smiled. “I no Mama, and I love you too!” Her eyes were bright with excitement for the coming morn. “Do you think Santa will bring me what I asked for?”

I stopped. Would he?

“Yes, dear, he will. I will get better, but not here. I’m leaving with Santa tonight. He’s going to take me somewhere, where this sickness won’t hurt me anymore. Where you won’t have to see me weak and frail. Santa will take me where I can be at peace, and one day, Santa will come for you too. And he will take you in his sleigh to where I am, and we will be together forever.”

Maria and I were both crying now. She dried her tears on my sleeve and whispered, “But Mama, I’ll miss you!”

“Shhh, dear, sweet child, it won’t be so very long until we see each other again. And remember, even if you can’t see me, I’m always here, I could never leave you.”

She tried to speak, but I silenced her. I kissed her head and held her close for the last time. “Goodnight angel. Wake up tomorrow, and you’ll see Santa’s gifts for you.” I motioned her towards bed, then I laid back, and welcomed sleep.

 


© Copyright 2017 Rowan Brooks. All rights reserved.

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