Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Christmas Without Rob...

The spoon was continuously swirling inside the coffee mug, her hand moving mechanically, while her mind had raced into another year- a year which almost felt like an era away, in a totally different world. A world where things were normal. Her eyes were transfixed on the lamppost shimmering far away on the lone road that led to their snow covered house. But, all her yes could see was her family. 

“HO HO HO”, laughed the Santa Claus to the two boys looking at him with starry eyes. Sean and Mark, 3 yrs old twins, were looking at this big beautiful guy who looked as if he had jumped out of their picture books! It was the first time they were seeing a Santa Claus in real, though daddy had told that last Christmas too Santa had visited them. They didn’t remember though and were mesmerized by the very presence of this well known stranger who had silently tiptoed into their bedroom, not knowing that the little boys do not sleep so early! They wanted to call their parents too but Santa told it should be a private affair. That they should keep their little meeting a secret! Helen smiled through the window pane! 

3 years had passed since that beautiful Christmas eve of 1977.

Helen sighed and blinked after what seemed like ages but continued to look outside the window at that lonely road which somehow seemed lonelier ever since Robert passed away that fateful night a month ago. It was as chilly as it was tonight. But, of course the chill of death is colder than the coldest nights! She now wondered how her boys would react when she broke it to them, when she told them that there wouldn’t be a Santa Claus coming tonight. She wasn’t religious nor was Robert and they had never really believed in going to the Church. Sean and Mark had naturally inherited their parents Agnostic ideas and never really asked about God, not that they were old enough to have many questions. But this was one enchantment Rob and Helen didn’t want to deny their children, what with all the excitement it brought! Of course, someday they’d know..someday they’d know that Santa Claus is as much a puzzle as was God, you never know whether to believe in his existence or not. But, now they had to be disillusioned, now that Rob wasn’t around to do his dress up at night!

She had written a short poem for them. A poem that sang of how their father had loved them, and how he could no longer come to them with gifts, how he had dressed as Santa each year only coz he loved his boys so much, how his love has increased beyond they could imagine but how helpless he was that he could not be physically with them and how they should rather be good boys and work hard to earn their gifts for themselves!! She was sad, yet she was happy coz now her boys could learn more practical things.

 Her spoon kept clinking against the mug of coffee which had now turned cold.
She heard the doorbell ring and heard her children run towards the door.
She, however, continued to look at that lamppost lighting that lone road leading to her house.
She missed Robert, his warm hug, his dazzling smile and those eyes… those eyes which held her entire world. How similar Mark looked to his father. She was sure he’d grow up to look just like him.

She pulled herself out of her reverie to attend to the doorbell and still holding the coffee mug, began climbing down the narrow stairs that led to her living room. And as she smoothed the wrinkles off her skirt, it struck her.

Her eyes crinkled and her feet nearly ran down the stairs. She was still on the last step when she saw them. Her boys.

They were gleefully looking down at the gift boxes. They held out their gifts to her and even as they ran to their mother, Helen was already at the door, still locked.

She opened the door and instinctively looked up at the sky, as if she, somewhere deep down in her heart, believed in that weird myth of Santa and the reindeers. There was nothing in the sky except a few stars struggling to shine their light from so far away…..
The road was empty.

No one had come down the road .. not for the past half an hour at least… not while she stood staring at that lamppost lighting that lone road which led to her house. Getting goosebumps she turned around to look at her sons.

“It was Santaaaa”, they screamed with joy!

“Oh!” was all she could mutter.

“Did he look like daddy?” she almost asked but somehow resisted her urge to.

She looked out again, her eyes now searching for something, anything, she didn’t know what.

With another look at her boys, she came in and went straight up the stairs to her kitchen…

A single drop of tear rolled down her frozen cheeks as she tore the paper bearing her poem.

Yes… Disenchantment could wait!

  ~Almas Kiran Shamim


1 comment:

Steve E said...

HA! Almas, my brain searches fruitlessly for words that I might use to worthily praise this brief story.

So, you can from that, guess that I really liked it! Thank you for opening your imagination to celebrate our holiday season with us...Christmas.

PEACE and LIGHT, Almas...

Now reading ... "Adultery" by 'Paulo Coelho'.



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