The Gift (le cadeau)
It was Christmas Eve. All was quiet except for the dog snoring. Outside, a light snow was delicately falling. Trees of icing sugar rested under the night sky- how pretty! It was very exciting for everyone in town...except for a ten year old boy called Jake. He thought he wouldn't get any presents. War had been greedy. Alone in the middle of a house now too big, too empty, Jake looked at the old family portrait slowly fading away. No toys this year. But in the corner of the warm kitchen, the big furry Labrador knew...
Christmas Day. Jake woke-up and ran to the tree he had so carefully decorated. He was full of hope, his little heart racing. Crash! Only Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus stood there, frozen in time. Not one present in sight. Next to the old nativity set, Jake saw a card. 'OUTSIDE', it read. Forgetting the brutal snow, he rushed out and in front of his house, Jake saw a huge box. The young boy was very cold but it didn't matter. The box was so tall that Jake had to climb onto the wooden fence to reach its lid. He opened it and inside, it glowed. Warm and golden stardust rushed out and as Jake looked in, he saw a huge bundle of offerings: building blocks, board games, books and a big bag of sweets. The candies smelled of strawberry and tasted like raspberry.Yum! From the kitchen window, the dog was watching.
Under all the goodies, Jake suddenly saw a ball carved out of gold and silver, like a gigantic sparkly bauble. Strange toy, Jake thought. With one little unsure finger, he touched it. The ball immediately lit-up. Almost blinded by the glow, Jake heard the noises, the voices of Santa-land. They became louder and louder and louder: the swish of a flying sleigh, the swash of a fall down chimneys, howling, barking, midnight bells ringing. Jake was mesmerised. He grabbed the ball with his two hands this time. Wow, he could now SEE Santa in the bauble! Just like Jake's dad would have done all those years ago, Papa Noel was smoking a pipe. Sat on a battered rocking chair by the fire, the big red man's presence felt like the embrace the boy had so longed for. Under his beard, Santa smiled at Jake.
For the first time that year, Jake smiled too. Sweet memories enveloped him and soon, there he was, waltzing with the past, hand in hand with the most delicious of festive memories. The swish of swirling sweeties, the swash of dear skirts, coats and capes; feasting, sharing, fiddles and carolling.
The big furry Labrador slowly walked outside the house, onto the frozen ground. The snow was crisp. The dog looked at the magic and wagged its tail.
Noah (9) and Brenda Duncan
Warm wishes of peace, happiness, health and prosperity for 2013. xx