Memories of the worst and best Christmas
| Glittering lights, soft pink sheets, and plastic dolls laid out on an old yellow desk. It was a surprise to us all how this had happened. These were brand new gifts that were presented the day before. They were things that my siblings and I had only been able to touch, but never owned. These were gifts to be treasured, to be played with, and to love. Little treasures that were usually only seen from the store window and with little nose pressed up closely against the clear glass, leaving behind only finger prints and boogers. |
Christmas day was filled with cheer and bellies stuffed with food. It was like a scene from, A Christmas Carol when Scrooge went to see The Cratchits. There was chipmunk voices saying, “Oh my, is this for me?” We sat there ripping the shiny paper, with smiling faces of reindeers and snowmen and yelped every time it was something bigger and brighter. Barbie got a new friend, a car, a bed set, and her own salon. Hot Wheels got a team, a race track with dragons to eat them up. We sat there a bit clueless at what to do next with these new found possessions. Well not possessions, but the holy grail of endless happiness. Afterward the room slowly filled with spices of chili, sweet sticky breads, and the warmth of a roasting turkey. A pool of drool formed on the corner of my brother’s mouth as he looked over the piles of cardboard and wrappers to see what was cooking. Soon the house would be filled with family and guests. They would be filled with cries of blessings and cheer. We grabbed our toys with our tiny hands and raced upstairs to stash away the goods. We can play till our fingers bled later. It was time now to eat until the elastic on our pants shot.
The day seemed to end as quickly as it came. It was time to clean up and settle down for the night; however I’m wondering if the night before Christmas day had anything to do with what was to happen the next day. My sister and I had found an old oil lamp and had played cowboys and Indians, pretending the oil lamp was a giant camp fire while we danced around it. We should have known better and should have especially known that little tiny eyes were also watching us from afar. Those tiny little eyes wondering and itching to touch the lamp and have his own little pow wow. Our decision to make believe and literally do something we shouldn’t have done had a ripple effect and it trickled its way down and didn’t end happily. How little did we know that later my brother would set the room ablaze? Those hours before, the little moments with our newfound treasures went up in flames in a matter of minutes on Christmas day. Our little treasures gone into little puddles of melted wax and abnormal art because a pyromaniac lived with us. Barbie’s head melted onto the hood of her car, pink unicorn pony sheets now brown and black and missing its horn. There were no longer thoughts of playing with our new toys dancing in our heads, just opened mouths and glazed over eyes.
I remembered watching my brother run down the stairs and hiding for his life. I was left with the duty to go and wake up my father from the long day, something we were never to do after a turkey coma. Would it be go and poke the sleeping bear or have the family burn down within minutes? So I took a deep breath and braved the storm and rushed across the hall over to my parent’s room. My little porky fingers poked my father’s back and in a low whisper said, “Papa, fire fire!” My father wearily opened his eyes, on the news that there was a BBQ starting in my room. He and my mother flew down the hallway and towards the bedroom. The hot orange flames had spread now to the window and onto the ceiling. Buckets after buckets of water filled into a baby tub and used to toss on the flames, finally sizzling out. As the fire died down and tempers cooled, we thanked the Lord it was just a room. Although the best surprise given by our parents was set ablaze, there will always be memories to treasures, one another to play with, and sometimes when we felt like it, each other to love.