The whole town was decorated with the best of accessories and the cutest of toys. In whichever direction I moved, I saw red. It was as if someone dipped a brush in red color and splashed it all over the town. I felt like I was walking on a giant ice-cream with strawberry seasoning.
I moved from block to block enjoying the Christmas decorations. The town was at its best. There were artifacts, Christmas trees and toys, candies, little deer stuffings, canorous chimes and people wearing those fancy Santa caps. I moved towards “Peter Street”. This was my favorite part of the town; maybe because of the fact that the street resembled my name. I walked around humming my favorite song and observing the decorations.
Soon I came across this fancy road-side stall, all covered in lights with a front board that read “Make a wish… it might come true”. There was this fat guy dressed like Santa who was busy finding something in his stuffed sack. I looked around the stall; it was filled with Christmas gifts and candies. The Santa guy noticed that I was looking around his shop and inquired in deep rusty tone,
“Are you here to make a wish?”
“No… No. I was just looking around.”
“It’s Christmas, it might come true.”
“Look man I am not some 8 years old who will be fancied by your costume and this magic wish thing. I know it’s Christmas but I am not paying you anything for this bullshit.”
“Is this your wish? Not paying.”
“Are you serious?”
“No, I am Santa. Are you serious?”
“What? Are you trying to mess with me?”
“No but, are you trying to mess with me?”
“Stop repeating my questions!”
“Then make a wish, quickly.”
“I told you already I am not paying for your fancy tricks.”
“Well it’s free if you pass the test.”
“Test! What test?”
“Do you like Christmas?”
“Of course! Who doesn’t?”
“Congratulations! You just passed the test.”
“You are kidding me right?”
“Ho ho ho… I might look funny but I’m not that humorous. So what’s your wish?”
“And you’re going to make it come true.”
“That depends. By the way I am a little short on fortunes this year, so you better wish for something acceptable.”
“Well I would like to meet the real Santa.”
“So… that’s it?”
“For now… Yes. Your wish will be under consideration. Merry Christmas!“
I looked at him in an irritated manner. He was smiling shamelessly at me. I had no idea what to do next so I just moved on. After walking for a while I looked back at the stall. The guy was busy again with his stuffed sack. That guy had wasted my 10 minutes but I was happy; at least I saved my money. It was nearly half past nine and I decided to walk back home to have some supper.
I unlocked the front door and walked into the living room. The lights on my Christmas tree were on. That was pretty weird as I had turned them off before leaving the house. Then my eyes fell on a present nicely placed at the bottom the tree. I looked around the room but everything was intact. I checked the windows of the entire house but every window was firmly locked. There was no sign of a break-in. The front door was also locked. I checked the safe and cupboards; all locked. I started wondering how did someone came in without breaking the lock or the window. I came back to the living room and picked up the present. It was addressed to me but there was no sign of the sender. A Christmas present?
I was a true fan of Christmas but this was something weird. The only time I received Christmas presents were during my childhood. Back then I used to believe that Santa himself delivered those presents, although it was my dad’s job. The present had a letter attached to it. I placed the present on the table and opened the letter.
I hope you remember our little meeting. And if you do, you must also remember what you wished for. Now you might realize that it has already been fulfilled. It was fulfilled the moment you spotted me on ‘Peter Street’. So it wasn’t exactly a wish because it was already fulfilled. You might feel cheated but that’s how wishes work. Don’t worry, I am not a bad fellow. I am sending you a complimentary gift. It’s Christmas after all. Thank you for believing in Christmas all these years. Wish you a merry Christmas!
What? A gift from Santa! I was a little taken back after reading the letter. My mind started jumping to conclusions; how was this even possible? Was this the old man’s trick? But how does he know my name, or my address? Is this a trap?
And the worst of all them was, Was he the real Santa? There was only one way of finding out. I picked up the gift from the table and started unwrapping it. It looked like a book with a leather cover; it was a photo album. I opened it just to be shocked and surprised even more. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was a photo album, a photo album of me and my family. It had photos my wife and my daughter, before we separated. There were photos in which we all were together, and happy. I kept on turning the photos, reliving each moment with every photo. Tears filled my eyes and emotions overflowed.
These were the moments that were never captured in any camera, these were my moments of joy with my family; these were the moments of my life. But I wasn’t shocked anymore. With moist eyes I kept on turning the pages. With each photo, a part of my life was repeating itself. I was more than happy to relive some of the most beautiful moments of my life.
I picked up the letter once again and looked at the initials, ‘Santa Claus’. Tears started their race to reach the bottom first. I moved my fingers over his initials and broke the silence at last,
“Thank you Santa… thank you very much. This is the best Christmas gift that I ever received.”