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A White Haired Boy and Christmas

Hey there, my name is Shiro, AKA “that white haired boy” and I’m here to tell you my story. The morning of December 20th found both myself and my best friend Felix in her gothic room, watching movies. “What’s your family doing for Christmas?” she asked, breaking the comfortable silence. “We were planning on going to the Maldives, but apparently something happened and we can’t go anymore.” I replied. Little did she know the “something” was me, begging my parents, asking them to cancel the trip.

   I hate traveling, always have. I try my hardest to stay home when school trips were planned, even going as far to pretend my ankle was sprained! Anyway, Felix is the only one who doesn’t tease or make fun of me, so I’d rather spend my time with her.

    “Well, my cousins and I are going to play Secret Santa,” Felix began, “I was wondering if you would want to join?” I swear I felt my eyes light up. “Yes!” I exclaimed as I jumped up to hug her. She laughed a genuine laugh. “Great. It was going to be super boring otherwise.”

   I was positively bursting with excitement. Felix and I spend most of our time together since my parents are usually away on business trips, Christmas was our only family time. Something’s been funny recently though, whenever I see her, my chest tightens. It’s not pain or nervousness, well maybe a bit of nervousness, but it’s something else, something Disney would only describe as “magical”.

***

   Over the next few days, we went shopping for our Secret Santa gifts. I’m Felix’s Secret Santa so I have to be extra careful with her gift.

  On the 23rd of December, her cousins arrived and we both were waiting impatiently at the front door of the mansion. “Felix!” yelled Jamie, a 10-year-old with way too much energy, a moody 16-year-old named Amy followed.

   “H-hey Jamie,” stuttered Felix. “this is Shiro, my friend. I invited him to -” she stopped mid-sentence when she saw what her cousins had brought. Her eyes widened and her hands automatically covered her mouth.

   Behind Amy, in a large red Santa’s bag, lay at least thirty well wrapped gifts. Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head. “Holy Christmas spirit activated,” I whispered, bewildered, before turning to Felix, “um, I didn’t get that many gifts. Should I run to the store and get more?”

   Felix was too shocked to even react. “Yeah, enough,” Amy ordered, “these aren’t for Secret Santa. We found these around our new house so we thought we’d check them out. They seem pretty interesting.”

   We all sat down and started with the biggest. The suspense was ever lingering and Jamie, the most dramatic one among us, slowly untied the ribbon.

   “Get on with it sis,” Amy said, trying her hardest to look as if she didn’t care. Slowly, the white cardboard box opened, adorned with its green and cherry red decorations…

   “It’s empty?” I questioned, reaching inside the box. “Wait a moment”. I pulled out a white rectangular envelope with similar decorations to those on the box.

   “Open it already!” said an impatient Jamie while Felix looked over my shoulder.

   I opened the envelope and read it aloud.

Ah, just as I thought, you picked the biggest one. Merry Christmas to you. Your gift is in the House of Ruby. Go there and follow the clues to your present. Find it and you will understand the true meaning of Christmas. 

Clue 1: Where the water moves down when touched, but is ever flowing. 

   “Well this is Ruby house. So we just need to figure out the clue,” I stated. Suggestions like the pool, pond and bathtub popped up but none of them were right to Felix.

  Suddenly, Felix’s mind lit up like a light bulb. “Water moves constantly in it, but when you touch the lever it moves down,” Felix finalized. We all looked at her weirdly. “The tap, idiots. Wow sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by dumb people. Oh wait, I am.” she stated, while leading us towards her kitchen.

   Sure enough, behind the tap there was another note.

Ok that was easy. Now let’s make it a bit harder shall we? 

Clue 2: In the night, you look at me. In the morning, you don’t. What am I? 

   Felix looked back at the group. “Any ideas?” My face suddenly turned red “like Rudolph’s nose” according to Felix. “I might know, but you guys have to promise to not make fun of me,” I said timidly. Amy raised an eyebrow at this. “What do you think it is?” I just looked away.

   “Look, it’s okay. You don’t have to tell us.” Felix said gently while glaring at Amy. I led them to the room Mr. and Mrs. Ruby had set me up in. Running up, I grabbed the teddy bear I brought, checking it all over. I found nothing and went back to the others.

   “It’s not there. Guess I was wrong,” I explained. Next, it was Felix’s turn to be embarrassed as Jamie whispered something in her ear. She turned around and ran to her room, leaving us behind.

   We all tried to catch up to her but we were late as she had already gotten the note. “Found it,” proclaimed a tired Felix, “Someone else read it for me, please.”

Wow. Must have been embarrassing huh Felix? Oh well. Final clue. Get ready. 

Clue 3: A handsome man comes through here. It is adorned by things you love. The truth of Christmas lies here. 

   “Uh, Shiro, did you check your entire room? Was there a note anywhere?” Felix questioned. “N-no. I checked. There wasn’t,” I answered, wondering why she asked me. The air became tense and awkward. Eventually, Amy broke it, “well, did you guys check your stockings? Santa comes through to put stuff in it, and while he may not be the most handsome, he’s a man and usually he puts things you love in them.”

   “Oh that’s smart, let’s go” said Felix. As they ran off, I held back.  Forgive me for this Felix. I thought as I entered her room. I looked at a book that laid on her bed.  Oh I really shouldn’t do this. But I really want to. Ugh. I slowly, hesitantly, looked at the open page and what I saw shocked me.

   A drawing, an old one I did for Felix when we were kids. It was a drawing of me handing her a few gifts. It was a bad drawing but she said it was funny. I didn’t realize she had kept it all these years. I didn’t realize, but I was tearing up at the thought that she held onto it.

   I wiped my eyes and caught up with the others and saw them looking around. I glanced at Felix.  Does she like me? Am I imagining all of this? I mean, this isn’t some fairy tale in which we get what we want, is it? “Oi!” Amy snapped in my face, dragging me out of my trance. “You okay white haired boy?” “Oh, sure, yeah, definitely.” I muttered. “Well, it wasn’t here. Let’s go check the chimney now.”

   As we moved towards the chimney, I noticed something. The tree, it was put up. “Mom and dad might have put it up,” mused Felix, “Shiro and I will check the tree. Amy, you and Jamie check the chimney.”

   A few minutes later, we were still searching. Little did I know, Felix had found something. “So, did you guys find anything?” said Jamie. “I didn’t find anything but-” I was interrupted by Felix turning me around and kissing me. I’ll always remember that moment. Electrifying.

   Jamie made random kissing noises as Amy interrupted “Hey! What is the meaning of Christmas?” Felix glanced up, red in the face but not because of the snow. “I’m sorry Shiro. I don’t know what came over me. I am so, so sorry.”

   Amy cleared her throat. “Oh yeah, it’s love.” Felix stated, revealing a card. I remembered that drawing. It was something she showed me when we were twelve.

   Her art teacher had asked them to draw what “love” made them think of. She had drawn me.

Turning over the card, we read the writing;

I think you know what this means Felix.

You know who.

Nicholas Ruby

Oh God, shouldn’t have done that. Never mind, it’s in ink.

I immediately understood. “That makes a lot of sense, explains the kissing too” Amy declared monotonously. Jamie, the romantic, was still jumping up and down. “Who’s Nicholas Ruby though?” Amy inquired. “He’s my other uncle. Apparently he still thinks he’s Santa because his name is Nicholas,” laughed Felix, “but for once, I’m happy he does.” She looked at me and we both smiled.

- Dharishta Peiris