Glen Hope, PA USA
A Christmas Romance
“Mommy, can we go now. Please.” Sandra lifted her head from the stack of bills littering the table before her and looked into the eyes of her five-year-old daughter.
“Okay Brianna,” she replied. “We’ll go now.”
Brianna grinned and her smile lit up her cherub’s face surrounded by ringlets of blonde curls. Her sky blue eyes were alight with anticipation. How could a mother say no to that face? She had been pestering her mother to take her to the local mall to see Santa Clause since she saw the commercial heralding his arrival a week ago. Sandra cast her eyes down to the stack of bills again and wondered how she could afford Christmas at all this year. A single mom waitressing at night and going to school during the day, she was finding it hard to make ends meet.
“Mommy, I’m ready” Brianna implored, taking her out of her train of thought.
“All right honey,” she answered getting up from the table. Sandra picked up her coat and purse and headed for the door.
“Mommy, does Santa really live at the North Pole? Mommy how does Santa get all those presents to people? Can we leave him cookies?” The fifteen-minute drive to the mall was occupied by all her questions. As they pulled up into a vacant parking space in the crowded mall parking lot, Brianna’s eyes lit up at the array of multi-colored lights and decorations.
Santa wasn’t hard to find, and although long, the line moved quickly. Brianna’s eyes sparkled as she sat on Santa’s lap and touched her fingers to his beard. Sandra mused to herself that despite the beard and hair of white, this year’s Santa was the youngest she’d ever seen. She guessed that in reality, he must be about her own age. She listened as she heard her daughter recite her well-rehearsed list. “I’d like a Cry and Wet baby, a stroller, a stuffed dog...” Sandra wondered to herself how she would be able to afford any of them. So lost in her thoughts, she almost missed Brianna’s final request “...and I’d like someone for my mommy to love” She felt her face turn crimson as at that moment the Santa Clause’s eyes met hers.
The following day Sandra found herself in the same mall. She had managed to take a small amount of money from her paycheck and figured she would pick up a few small things so Brianna at least had something to open Christmas morning. Standing in line, her hands full of little odds and ends, Sandra wistfully looked at the Cry and Wet baby display. How she wished she could afford it for Brianna this year. Suddenly, someone bumped into her from behind knocking her finds out of her hands and onto the floor. As she bent to pick them up, she found herself looking into the bluest set of eyes she had ever seen.
“I’m sorry,” the man with light brown hair said. “I should have been watching where I was going.” He raised up and handed her the packages he’d picked up off the floor. “I’ll tell you what, you look like you are as tired of this Christmas shopping as I am, what do you say I buy you a cup of coffee?”
His grin was infectious; and before she knew it, Sandra was drinking coffee with him and sharing her life story. His name was Tony and he was an accountant by day and at the present time was helping his brother out at the mall at night during the Christmas season. Never married, he said he just had never found the right woman. The conversation between them flowed smoothly and before she knew it an hour had gone by. Sandra politely excused herself to pick up Brianna from daycare, but not before accepting an invitation to dinner the following night.
The weeks flew by and Sandra found herself spending more and more time with Tony. She, Brianna, and he spent hours on end walking in the park, visiting museums and going out to eat. Each day Sandra could see Brianna growing more attached to Tony and she herself falling in love with him. He was everything she had always wanted in a man and with him in her life, she found herself actually looking forward to Christmas.
With the tree lit up, the stockings in place, and the presents wrapped, Sandra tucked Brianna into bed. “It’s Christmas Eve,” she said. “Santa comes tonight.
Brianna giggled with delight, “Oh, I can’t wait. I hope he remembers my baby Cry and Wet.” Sandra kissed her daughter gently goodnight, worrying to herself that Brianna might be disappointed in the morning. She wished she could have afforded to do more for her daughter.
Placing the packages under the tree, she found herself thinking about Tony. He had wanted to be with her he had assured her, but Christmas Eve was extremely busy at the mall and he couldn’t let his brother down. She spread the presents out under the small tree she had purchased, making it look as though there were really more than there actually were. The clock on the wall struck midnight. “Christmas,” she said to herself. “I wish you were here Tony.” Just then, the doorbell rang. “Who can that be at this hour,” she wondered to herself. Opening the door, she found Tony. His eyes were glistening and his smile was brighter than the lights on the tree.
“May I come in?” he asked. His arms were so loaded with presents that it was a wonder he could even walk.
Sandra grabbed some of the gifts out of his hands and helped him to place them under the tree. She made him a cup of coffee and sat down with him.
“ I just couldn’t bear not being with you tonight,” he commented.
“Mommy?” a small voice sounded from the hall. There stood Brianna, PJ’s and all. “He’s been here already,” she exclaimed with glee. “ Santa’s been here.” Her eyes sparkled with joy as they caught site of the Cry and Wet baby that Tony had placed there.
“Go back to bed for a little while Brianna,” Sandra whispered. “They’ll still be here when you get up.”
“All right mama,” she said as she scrambled back to her room.
“Tony, how did you know?”
“Lets just say, Santa told me,” he replied as he pulled a red velvet hat and a snow white beard out of his coat pocket along with a small red velvet box. Kneeling in front of her, he opened the box to reveal a sparkling diamond ring. “Sandra, I know we haven’t known each other long, but I’m in love with you and I’d like you to be my wife. I have known you were the one since I first caught site of you in the mall. Please say yes.”
“Yes, “ she replied as her eyes filled with tears. And, as her lips met his, she knew this was going to be the best Christmas ever.
“Let’s go check on our girl,” he whispered in her ear.
They quietly opened her door and smiled as they saw her lying there. Thinking she was sleeping, they had just started to close the door when a tiny voice broke the silence.
“Mama, is there really a Santa Clause?”
A smile came across Sandra’s face as she looked into Tony’s eyes. “Yes Brianna, there really is.”
What lies behind us and lies before us are small matters compaired to what lies within us.
[This message has been edited by hoot_owl_rn (edited 12-15-2000).]