Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Drama · #1051678
Written a few years ago, for an old friend.
|"You can call me Sara," said the little girl with long brown hair and bright green eyes. "And don't forget Santa, there's no H at the end. Cause daddy says that makes me special," she continued as she climbed up in Santa's lap.|
The young man under the Santa suit wasn't quite sure where this one was going. He peeked at the mother who was obviously quite impatient with the child and agitated as well. He had a sudden urge to pick this little girl up and run with her as far and as fast as he could carry her. He didn't know why either. But instead, he stifled the feeling, looked her square in the eye with the biggest smile he could muster, and gave her his full attention.
"So, Sara with no H, what can Santa bring for you this year?" He tried smiling again as he said this, but the pain he saw in the little girl's eyes took his breath away.
"Well Santa," she answered rather quietly, "I only want two things for Christmas. And if I can have them this year, I'll never ask for another Christmas present as long as I live. See? I even got my hand on my heart to prove it."
"I see that. You are pretty serious about these Christmas presents aren't you?" he asked, contemplating what her answer might be, and almost afraid to hear it. Most little girls wanted one of those new Barbie dolls, or a shiny new pink bike. But he had the feeling that this little angel on earth wanted something a whole lot more important.
He was right, as usual. Her answer shocked him to the very soul when he asked, "So tell me what these two very important Christmas presents are that our special Sara would like this year."
Fear washed over her face, and she hesitated as if telling him her secret wishes would somehow get her into trouble. Then he watched in awe as this precious human being, no more than six years old, swallowed her fear and her pain, composed herself better than any adult he'd ever known, and blurted out her first Christmas wish.
"I want my daddy to come home and get me. I love my daddy very much, and I know that he loves me, because I can hear him tell me sometimes when I'm sleeping. But mommy keeps moving, and daddy can't find us. I'm scared, and I need my daddy. Can you bring him to me?" she finished this last sentence without batting an eye or taking a breath.
'Santa' started feeling uncomfortable, as he'd never faced a request such as this before. He didn't want to hear anymore, and had become even more terrified of what the second wish would bring. But at the same time, he wanted to break all the rules, take this child to a security room, a broom closet, anywhere, and hide her until he could help her find her daddy. He wanted to help, but didn't know how without drawing attention from the mother. He was lost in thought for a minute, when her light tugging on his fake beard brought him back to the here and now.
"Santa, didn't you hear my second wish?" Sara looked at him imploringly, tears shining in her eyes as she stared into his. The evident fright behind those emerald greens making his heart shatter like fine china on a sidewalk.
"I'm very sorry Miss Sara. I was just making myself a small reminder to have my elves start looking for your daddy right away. Now that my reminder is set, we can go on to your second wish." he smiled at the little girl, as best as his bleeding soul would let him. He had noticed the bruising then, and wanted to cry as bad as she did.
Sara smiled a bit, and as she looked out toward her mother, the smile faded, like the sun at dusk. She was horribly frightened, and he was starting to see why.
"My second wish," she replied, almost in a whisper, "is for my mommy not to smoke the bad stuff anymore. Cause when she does, she hurts me." Tears welled up in her eyes again, threatening to spill over. He could feel this small child shaking with fear, anxiety, and false hopes of a man in a red suit setting her world straight for her.
But within seconds, this seemingly helpless child wiped her eyes, kissed Santa on the cheek, and was jumping off his lap. Her strength amazed him, and he silently wished her well on her journeys. He knew her life was going to be hard, and he prayed to himself that her daddy would find her, before it was too late.
She ran toward her mother then, almost skipping with happiness. But suddenly, she stopped and turned to him again. And as he looked into those eyes one more time, he realized that this would be the last Christmas this little girl would ever see. It was his turn to well up with tears, as the vision of her looking up at him burned itself into his memory forever. For it was his destiny to see that loving face one more time underneath a headline that read only, "Another Abuse Victim Found".
And the description under the picture? Sara... with no H.