The house of Smiths was in a lacklustre state and it was just three days more for Christmas. Eleven year old Peter awaited his widowed father, James, at the entrance of house for which rent was due for two months. They were about to get thrown out if the due extended for one month more and James was busy arranging for money from known sources through the small electronic service store he ran.
Times were dull at the store as more people opted for newer devices rather than repairing the old ones. Christmas was just as poor as the store he ran. Trees, lights, fittings, and various other decorations were a luxury he could not provide for his son and the sole star that hung at the doorstep was a year old.
The long wish-list of Peter was flushed down the sewers with the hopes of any prosperous deals that usually came in James way at the beginning of the festive season. Walking home, James stood at the entrance of the apartments before proceeding to face his son and his unfulfilled dreams. The grief of cheating his son was greater than the fear of being evacuated from the house. He was on the brink of filing insolvency petition.
“What have you got for me Papa?” asked Peter with pleading eyes which sent James into the crevasses. His hands turned cold beneath the poor-knit gloves.
“Dad! Not again. It’s already Christmas and we have not even bought the Christmas tree.”
“I’ll be sure to get you one tomorrow, darling. I’m too tired today. Please forgive me.”
“That’s fine dad. What’s for dinner?” Peter came forward and hugged his dad lovingly forgiving his misdeeds.
Two days passed in a jiffy and James managed to pacify his son on both days. The eve of Christmas arrived and the cries of Peter grew with the merriment of the world. James assured Peter that he would get gifts from Santa Claus and this was the only thing that brought cheer to the face of the kid.
“What will Santa bring daddy?”
“It’s something only he knows.”
“Will he get the toys that I asked for him?”
“Listen Peter. Santa doesn’t give you what you want. He gives you what you need.”
“Can I see Santa Claus tonight dad?”
“No Peter. It’s already late. Go to sleep. He won’t come if you stay awake.”
“Fine then. Good night dad.”
“Good night Peter.”
“Dad! Leave the door open.”
“Yeah. I will. I always do.”
The next morning Peter woke up to the next morning only find that there was nothing in stores for him. Feeling dejected he ran back into his room with wet eyes and tears flowed down his cheeks. The ocean which formed at the bottom from his tears grew with every passing minute. James came in with drooping eyes. After having a drink with his friend the previous night, he had gone to sleep late after midnight. Hearing the sobs of his son he ran and sat next to the small figure from which tears kept running down.
“Peter. Don’t… Don’t cry.”
“Dad. Santa has not come.” He spoke loud with wide open mouth and tear shedding eyes.
“No Peter. He did come.”
“No he didn’t. There is no present.”
“It’s all because of you. It’s because we didn’t get any decorations. Because we didn’t get the Christmas tree. We didn’t even hang the socks for him to put the gift in.”
“Peter, he has given you gifts.”
“No he didn’t. I won’t speak with you. I don’t want to see you.”
“Peter. Come on. Listen to me. He has given you gifts. I will tell you what it is.”
“No you are lying.”
“No I am not. Have I ever lied to you?”
“Yes. You did not get me anything. You said that you will buy me presents and you didn’t buy me anything.”
“Well. That is different. Okay can you tell me another instance I have lied to you. Don’t you want your presents?”
“I want them.”
“Then stop crying. Then you won’t get any gift the next Christmas. Santa Claus doesn’t like children who cry.”
With some final sobs, Peter’s red eyes stopped shedding tears and he hung close to his father. His arms ran around James, who pulled him closer.
“Where are the presents?”
“You are having them.”
“Yeah. This time Santa has given you not one but three gifts.”
“Like Jesus who got three gifts from the kings.”
“Three. Okay. Yeah. Sort off.”
“What are they?”
“The first one is your life. You have your life in your hands. You can win the world over with your life. You have your whole life ahead of you and you can develop into a great man. Someone who can make an impact across the globe. The life is budding and you can shape in a great way. In a way that can change the world for the better.”
“The second present is the heart. You have a good heart Peter. You are good at heart and that is something that can take you to great heights. Santa has given you this, to achieve what others couldn’t”
“What is the third one?”
“Third. The present.”
“Yes. What is the present?”
“Oh! No. Not that present. The present. The now. You have a lot of things to achieve. In your ambitions you should not forget to enjoy your life. On your road to success, you have to enjoy the journey.”
“Dad. I’m not able to understand what you are saying.”
“Not even a small bit?”
“Well. I do understand most of it but just that… I don’t know. It just makes me wonder. Am I the only one who has these gifts?”
With a smile, James hugged his child harder, hoping that the tides change with the change in the year.
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