I didn’t want to know the truth. No other time in MY lifetime, had anyone ever been honest with me. I have learned how to make the outrageous and painful into some sort of less corruptive, child’s game, but not today. Today is different. Today I learned the reason why.
The lying started when I was three. One of the scariest things told to me was that faeries lived in the forest, where they took bricks and mud to make homes for wayward children. Any misfortunate tot who wore rings on their toes was a sure sign that they were destined to live in squalor, forever hiding from the wolves and wildebeasts that roamed. I was told that if those wayways were in the way, they’d take ten children to scold and punish to doing hard time in the diamond mines. I was always fearful and told that I was the tenth child and could be sent to this living hell any day!
Despite such looming gloom and the inevitable outcome, I lived a relatively normal life. Playing with the others, never disobeying my parents and always washed-up by the time supper was ready. But as I said, today would be a day unlike all others that passed.
Earlier in the day, I found a amall piece of coal. So black and heavy, it didn’t resemble something that could burn and so shiny, I thought that I should save it. So, I placed it in my pocket for safekeeping until I could put it in my box beneath the bed. When mom rang the dinner bell, yes, we really have one, I was already clean, seated and awaiting the rest of the family to give our thanks.
This is when Willie ran into my chair and I fell, dropping that piece of coal onto the floor, right at Daddy’s slipper. “Uh-oh”, I muttered while holding my breath. “Young lady, WHAT is THIS?”, Daddy sternly asked me, holding that coal in his hand. “I found it”, I sheepishly uttered, “It’s mine, no one was guarding it or anything, so I took it.” Expecting to see him stand and pull off his belt, my muscles bound together like a rubber band that was pulled in anticipation of the snap-sound it made, but he just sighed and said, “Willie, go upstairs to your room, sit honey, it’s about time you knew.”
“Knew what, Daddy?”, then he cleared his throat and began to explain. “Now that you’re eight, you need to learn the truth, once and for all.” He then continued to tell me that there is no Santa Claus. That it was merely a story that someone made up a long time ago and children throughout the world believed this to be because every December 25th, presents lay beneath the decorated tree in their houses. I was shocked, to say the least, and I ran upstairs, slammed my bedroom door and sobbed and sobbed until my eyes were dry. How could this be? Was he telling another lie to me?
Daddy came upstairs after a few minutes and confessed that he and Mommy had been fibbing to me ever since I was yeah high, and he marked the air with his hand to about how tall I was… it was little, too. He also told me that there is no tooth fairy, no Easter bunny, nor do Brownies come out at night to pull pranks. To say I was surprised, didn’t even come close to how I was really feeling. Ashamed for believing, I just shut up and shut down. I kept thinking that this really is Daddy telling me another lie, and all I could say was that I wanted to go to sleep.
But a funny thing happened and I can swear it really did. Santa spoke to me. He told me that adults tell all eight year old children that Santa isn’t real. He told me not to believe Them, not their lies. He said there is a way to prove this, and he whispered it in my ear.
Four months later, something jolted my memory and I walked over to my Christmas stocking on the wall and placed that piece of coal in it. It fell to the bottom and even went into the toe part of that boot. When it became Christmas day, Willie and I ran downstairs screaming with glee and joy and began to unwrap the biggest of the presents with our names on the sticker. It was exciting, like it always had been. And after the gifts beneath the tree were all out of their sparkley wrapping, I remembered that I hadn’t looked in my stocking yet.
I was expecting to find that hard coal in the toe, but to my surprise, “Could it be?”, I said out loud, “it’s a diamond necklace, just like Santa said!” Daddy looked confused and Mommy, she just stood there with such admiration for that necklace, she nudged Daddy’s arm and whispered, “Is this a mistake, did you buy that for me?” Daddy just said, “Uhh”, like he had no voice.
But I knew the truth, finally. Santa Claus did exist and now I had proof of it! No one else I know could turn coal into a diamond, no one except for the Real Santa! Maybe that’s where it’s been said The Twinkle In His Eye came from?
-dld dec. 11, 2010-
ThiningTen prompts ➞ In the way
➞ I didn’t want to know the truth.
➞ (1) reason, and (2) ring
➞ A brick
➞ A number; Something you can fit in your pocket; A character with a name that starts with the letter ‘W’