We turn into the parking lot and search for a space. My mommy is upset already. “We are so late. Stick with me. I don’t have time to go looking for you.” I look up into her beautiful porcelain face and say “OK. Mommy.” She grabs my hand and we start walking quickly into the store. “Remember, stay with me. I have a lot to do and very little time. The last thing we will do is take care of you. After all it will take a long time it is a very long line. Are you sure you want to do this? I want you to enjoy this so lets finish shopping then we will take care of you OK.”
Again I look up and for one minute mommy looks like my doll. I don‘t know which question to answer so I just say “Yes, Mommy.”
We walk quickly to each store and mommy makes her purchases. I am staying really close. It is hard because all I see are legs. Mommy’s look like the model in the magazine so it is easy to see her. The problem is all of the people pushing me out of the way. I search and search, but it is hard to stay close. There she is. I run and grab her leg. “You are doing a great job. Stay close as we leave.”
“OK Mommy. Is it time?”
“Almost, I have to get one more thing.” She looks down and smiles and asks me if I am excited.
“Oh, Yes Mommy.”
We enter the last store and the line seems so long. People are yelling and babies are crying. I will not cry. I want to get in the big line even if it does take a long time. I want the candy. Mommy never lets me have candy. “Hold this for me sweet heart.” Mommy gives me two bags to hold as she grabs the socks my daddy needs for his trip. Mommy grabs my hand and we head for the lady who takes the money. “Yea. We are almost done aren’t we Mommy?”
“Yes, sweet heart. This might take a while there are lots of people here.” Mommy says I have the patience of Job. I don’t know who Job is but I’m glad I have patience. Finally it is our turn and mommy gets anther bag. Thank you she says and we start to head out the door. Now it is my turn. We turn left and head towards the longest line I have ever seen. “Is this the line Mommy?” Yes. We enter and area that is roped off and we wait. It seems like forever. I look in all of the windows of the stores we pass and I am amazed at all beautiful clothes. There are so may lights and beautiful colors that I start to get excited. I remember that Mommy told me not to get too excited because it is never good to show too much emotions. I want to scream because I am so happy.
I look at the line and it is moving again. We are half way there. I love to watch people. I look at the man ahead of us. He is in a suit and he has two little boys with him. They are misbehaving. My mommy would spank me if I said those words. I wrinkle my nose and purse my lips. They are bad boys. Why is their daddy letting them act like that. I look behind me and see a woman with three kids. One that has plugs in his ears. Mommy says that is for listening to music. Why would he listen to music when there is so much to do right here, There is a little girl with them. Gross. She looks to be my age and she is not happy. She is picking her noise and she is crying. “I don’t want to be here anymore. Can we go home Mom.” “After we stood here for three hours. Hell no we’re staying.” The baby is sleeping. How can anyone sleep with all this noise.
I look up at mommy and see that she is reading. She is always reading. I wish I brought my book. “Mommy, The line is moving.” We move forward a few feet and the line curves. I see the end of the line through the trees. I smile. We are almost there. I see a man sitting down his cheeks are red and he looks grumpy. There is a little girl who looks like me talking with him. She starts to cry as the man reaches for her hand. I look over to the left and see the fountain. There are kids all around it throwing coins in. How odd. “Mommy, why are they throwing money away?” She looks behind me and smiles. “That is a wishing well. They throw their change in and make a wish.” That is stupid, I thought. Wishes don’t come true. If they did then my grandpa wouldn’t have died. I wished and wished for that when were went to the hospital last month.
I look again through the trees and see dirt on the old mans cloths. He should wash them I thought. The little girl is still crying. The line moves again and a woman is asking mommy questions. I look past the woman and see the candy. “Yea, it’s almost my turn, Mommy.”
“Yes it is. You have been very good baby. Now remember be polite. It is very important for you to be honest.” Mommy is putting her book away and she reaches for the packages that I am holding. I look up and watch as the little boy before me goes up. He has the potty mouth. I bet he makes wishes. He climbs the stairs and jumps up and sits down on the old mans knee and starts to talk. The looked at the old man again and he is smiling. His teeth were yellow. Mommy says that smoking makes your teeth yellow. I bet his breath smells like an ashtray. I don’t know what an ashtray smells like. But Daddy says its just as bad as garbage. The man is now bending towards the little boy and whispers into his ear. His face is getting red and he looks like he is going to cry. Why is he making everyone cry. The old man pushes his glasses back on his nose and looks down at the boy and shakes his head. The little boy wipes away tears as he is leaving. Now I wonder what he said to him to make him cry.
It is my turn and I think I feel like the girl behind me. I don’t want to go. We waited so long and I do want the candy. I walk towards the old man and I notice that he is very fat. Mommy says never judge a book by its cover. So I step up the steps and he looks down on me. “Would you like to sit on Santa’s lap.” He says. “OK.” He reaches down and picks me up. I look up into his eyes and he doesn’t look so scary anymore. He looks like my dead grandpa. I reach my hands up and I hug him. He looks at me and asks, “What would you like for Christmas?” I don’t smell garbage. I smell peppermint candy.
“Oh, I am not here for me. I don’t need nothing. But my mommy needs new shoes. Hers have holes in the bottom and its cold outside. My daddy needs a job, but that would be hard so could he have a new robe and slippers. My brother needs a new winter coat, because he’s grown out of his. And my Grandma wants my Grandpa, but he’s dead so can she have lots of love.” He looks at me and there is a tear in his eye. “Are you crying Santa?” I ask. “No, little lady. I am surprised that you don’t want anything?”
“ But I don’t need anything.” I said.
“You don’t want a doll?” he said.
“Do you want an easy bake oven?” he said as he pushed his glasses back on his nose.
“No, I am lucky, I get to help mommy with the cooking everyday.”
“Do you want a puppy.” he said.
“No, I like kittens." I looked into his twinkling eyes and said. "I really don‘t need anything”
He sat there looking at me for a moment. He was very quiet. "Alright, Then for you I will grant every wish.” he chuckled and said with a twinkle in his eye.
I smiled and said, “Thank you.” Now I get my candy. I thought.
He reached down and pulled something out of the red bag next to him. I look at the small box wrapped in gold paper. There is a pretty lace ribbon on top. “This is for you. When you get home, you are to place this under your tree. Don’t open it." I took the pretty package and noticed that it was very light. “Can I open it on Christmas morning?” I asked.
“No this is a very special gift. It is never to be opened. As long as you live, your every wish at Christmas will be granted. Be careful. Do not be greedy. For if you wish for too much you will get nothing.” I looked at the gift again. “One more thing Elizabeth, this is a secret between you and me.” He looked into my eyes and winked.
“How did you know my name?” I asked. He chuckled and said, “It’s my business to know every little boy and girl.” He gently placed me on the ground and I walked towards Mommy with a smile in my heart. I looked back and saw that the little girl who picked her nose was next.
“Well, Was it everything you expected.” Mommy asked.
“Oh, Yes.” I said as I hugged my gold box.
I got home and placed the little gold box under the tree. I told Mommy and Daddy that it was very special and it could never be opened. They just looked at each other and smiled.
The next morning my little brother got me up and we raced down the hall to wake up mommy and daddy. We opened the door, but no one was there. We turned back around and went into the kitchen and we saw Mommy crying. “Oh, no. Did Grandma die?”
“No angel, Daddy just got off the phone. He starts his new job on Monday. I am crying because I am so happy." she said as she hugged my brother and me.
“Lets go open presents.” Daddy said as he reached for his coffee.
Come on Granny." my brother said.
We went into the living room and I watched as Mommy opened her gift. It was a pair of new shoes. I looked over when my brother said “Cool!” He was putting on a bright red winter parka. Grandma came into the living room with her coffee and leaned against the chair smiling. “This is what life is all about. Sharing beautiful moments with the people you love.” This is the best Christmas ever. All of my wishes came true. All because of the little gold wishing box that was still under the tree. “Elizabeth, there is one more gift.
"Oh, Mommy I can't open the little gold box. Remember."
"This box is red and it has your name on it.” I looked at it knowing it must be a mistake. I didn’t ask for anything. I lifted the top and inside was a beautiful white kitten. “Oh, look a kitten. Thank you Mommy and Daddy.” The kitten was wearing a red collar with the name Noel on it.
They looked at each other perplexed. “Grandma did you get Elizabeth a kitten?” Daddy asked.
“No. Didn’t you?” Grandma whispered.