Lacy handed Grace a few coins to drop in the Salvation Army donation bucket on their way into the mall. A single mom at a young age, Lacy didn't have much to spare, but she liked to help when she could. After all, people had helped her when she needed it.
They were on their way to see Santa. Lacy remembered her mother taking her to see Santa when she was a kid. She missed her parents and never should have left home. She still couldn't believe how stupid she’d been to trust that Trevor loved her. Now she hadn't talked to her parents in over 6 years and they didn't know about Grace
“Mama, I can’t wait to see Santa! Do you think I've been good this year?”
“Yes I do.”
They waited in line for a long time. When it was their turn, Santa’s helper asked Lacy what picture package she wanted. Lacy told her she couldn't afford pictures, but asked if Grace could talk with Santa for just a minute. The elf huffed.
Lacy watched as Grace climbed up onto Santa’s lap. She was so innocent. Lacy didn't want Grace to live with the kind of regret she did.
I know if I could ask Santa for one thing, it would be to forget my past.
Grace whispered in Santa’s ear. She had a smile on her face as she climbed down and ran back to Lacy.
“Well, what did you ask Santa for?” Lacy asked.
“You’ll see.” Grace replied.
Lacy felt a knot in her stomach. What if Grace had asked for a puppy or something else that Lacy couldn't give her?
As they left the mall, Grace noticed a beautiful glow coming from a building across the street.
“Can we go see the lights? Please, Mama?” Grace pleaded.
They crossed the street and walked toward the lights. The building, a church, was even more beautiful up close. The sign in front read:
Stop in for your free Christmas gift. Jesus!
“Look Mama, a free gift! Can we go in?”
Lacy used to go to church with her parents, but she hadn't been in years. She was certain that Jesus wouldn't want someone like her at church.
“Uh, Grace, I think we should…” Lacy started to say, but a man opened the door.