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  • Writer's pictureAnanya Pathak

A Christmas Short Story about Memory and Belief

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

(old old post, published in 2019)

It’s over. Once again, time had sprouted it’s wings and soared away, faster than one could catch up with it. Another year had passed. As she stared out of the window, she turned over the year’s happenings in her head. Nothing much. The same old school, exams, homework, routine, the same old quest for just a little more time. It seemed to slip away every time her hand grasped for it, it’s warm feathers tickling as they left her desperate clutches.

She had made a wish for Christmas, just one desperate plea to the Santa that she hoped to believe in. It hadn’t come yet, but she knew that he was busy and had a knack to mix up the dates as his calendar had been eaten up by her dog years ago.

So she waited, waited by her windowsill, until she fell asleep, her face flat against the cool surface of the window. Santa sneaked in, his round face red and cheery as he swept into her room and got to work. For some reason, he had pink fairy wings and hooves and a beak-like nose and wore a long bright yellow robe—he’d always had it that way, from the time she’d first thought up of him.

He finished up his work, picked up his toolkit and turned to leave. He looked back once, ruffled up her hair like one might do to their child. After all, he’d seen her grow up. He took one look around, this could be the final time. Time goes by too fast and they grow too soon, they stop believing too soon.

When she woke up in the early hours of the following morning, the sun was slightly brighter as it looked over the silent street—most of them would have just gone to sleep. It took her a while to adjust her eyes to light and she blinked for a while. She averted her eyes and turned to her room—and that’s when she’d spotted it. Beside the cramped-up bed, opposite her gigantic study desk and in the far corner of her room, was a little cove.

She gasped, sped towards it and flung herself atop the comfy seating, letting out a hearty laugh. All her favourite titles were neatly organised in a shelf beside it and her art supplies in a cupboard underneath it. On the other side an old music player that had stopped broken down a while ago was fixed and well-functioning.

She closed her eyes. She could still remember the dream: he had come. But the dream was fading away. She blinked once, the memory’d gone. She yelled, “Papa, thanks for this.” She ran down, squealing in excitement. Santa looked from where he was, smiling. Her Papa would be confused—but only awhile, his memory had been altered, just like hers. It was protocol: you had to give the credit to someone else. Even if they’d forget you, even if you missed them.

However, it didn’t matter. The gift had been given. It was perfect, after all, books were the only existing time machines. There was no better way to make time. He just hoped that someday, she may remember him. As most often do, when she’s old enough to read fairy tales again (-C.S. Lewis) if she ever does pick up her first ever gift—the fairy-tale with the magical fairy who sprouted hooves, a beak and wore huge yellow robes. Yeah, something like that.

Photo Credits: You—because if you weren’t going to read this, I wouldn't have taken these wonderful pictures. So, thank you.

Happy New Year! Your Santa might come late, but have faith, because your Santa will come. And even though your Santa may not be wearing a red hat and a red coat or long yellow robes, for that matter—you will recognise your Santa when you see them. Perhaps, someday when you’re older, this will all make sense. (Frozen 2 reference intended 🙃).

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