Chapter 29: A Christmas Darrel

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The lights on the Christmas tree twinkled in the dark house.  I was sitting on the stairs all night staring at the tree waiting for Santa Claus to come.  Next, all the kids sat on the floor tearing through wrapping paper.  At that time, it was just the four of us and my parents were sitting on the couch.  I remembered, my mom handed me a present and I unwrapped it.   It was a Suzy doll and it was my first doll.  I was about six and I remember walking by a toy store on the way home from school and saw this doll in the window.  I went home and begged my mom to buy it for me.  I was so happy back then and things were easier.  Back then, I just had three siblings, dad was home more, and mom was more caring.  Now, it feels like the family is torn apart.  The older kids are on drugs, the middle ones are getting into the wrong groups, and the younger ones have to fend for themselves.  My dad has runaway with a girl twenty years younger and my mom is going insane.  I missed being six. 

The gang was hanging around the living room and we were opening presents.  There weren’t many of them, but we tried to find things or steal stuff to give each other.  It was the thought that counts, right?  Dally was sitting on the arm of the couch, Johnny and Ponyboy were sitting at the kitchen table, Sodapop was sitting backwards in one of the chairs, Two-Bit was sprawled on the couch, I was sitting on an armchair facing the fireplace, the tree was shoved in the corner, and Darry was leaning against the wall.  Sally was doing stuff with her dad at the Dingo, so he was a little bummed she wasn’t with us. 

Darry, Soda, and I gave Two-Bit his present from us.  We put a red bow on a six-pack of beer.  “Aw thanks guy,” He said gratefully, “Why’s one missing?”

“Just be happy there’s not three missing.” I said tipping my bottle up and taking a swig of the sixth beer.  Two-Bit popped the top off the bottle and enjoyed his gift.

Ponyboy got a leather jacket from Dally and Soda gave Darry a new tool belt.  Darry handed Sodapop an envelope, “For you and Colly.” 

Soda got up from his seat and swished next to me in the chair.  He opened it and I peered over his shoulder to read what it said.  It was a check for two hundred dollars.  Sodapop and I both looked up at Darry while everyone else was looking at us. 

“Dar—We we can’t take this.” I said holding the check.

“Sure you can.”

“Darry, this is two hundred bucks.  You need this for food and the house.  We really can’t take this.  I know you’re worried about us after this wedding and everything, but we have jobs and an income.  Please just take it back.” Soda begged.

“C’mon now, has nobody taught you right?  When someone gives you money, you don’t give it back.  Now that’s Greaser 101.” Two-Bit piped in and I glared at him. 

“Alright, well if you need any extra dough just tell me.” Darry replied. 

Over all, Christmas was a success.  We had pancakes and bacon, sat in our pj’s all day (I did atleast), get together with the Shepard gang, and Sally’s letting us use the Dingo to have a big turkey dinner with all of us and Tim Shepard’s crowd for free.  There was a little snow on the ground and it was bitter cold.  We trudged over to the Dingo, the whole group, in big coats and boots.  At the Dingo, Sally had a huge turkey and mashed potatoes on the counter and served it buffet style.  She greeted Darry with a kiss and when she met me she took me back to the kitchen. 

Sally handed me a big box, “I thought since you and your mom aren’t really in touch right now, I would give this to you.” 

I couldn’t help smile as I opened her gift.  Inside was something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.  An old locket from her childhood, a new lipstick, a borrowed Winnie the Pooh story book, and blue teddy bear. 

“My mother gave me that locket when I was ten and told me that as long as I had it, I wouldn’t be alone.  That was right before she died.  Now whenever you’re upset or feel alone, just remember that you’re not.” Sally said as put the necklace around my neck.  Her mom had cancer when she was younger and died.  That was something we had in common, we never really had a mother.  “I know you love your lipstick and this is my old Winnie the Pooh book that I would read every night before I went to bed and I just bought that bear today because I couldn’t think of anything else blue.” She chuckled.

I gave her a huge hug and suffocated her.  That was one of the things I loved about her.  Sally cares about everyone and she does all these things for me because I remind her of herself.  She’s like a mom and an older sister.

“I want you to know that I will always be there for you no matter what.” Sally told me squeezing me tighter, “And if you need anything, I’m here.  I’ve seen a sixteen year old girl working for me after school transform to this women who’s getting married in six days to her prince charming.” 

“So, you don’t think I’m too young because that’s what everyone’s been telling me.” I asked her.

“Love is love and when you found that guy, you know when its time.”  She responded. 

We went back to the gangs and sat down to stuff ourselves in Sally’s cooking.  Our intentions were to roll back to the house with our jeans unbuttons and gain ten pounds.  Soda had his arm around me during desert.  “Nice necklace,” he whispered in my ear.  I noticed Dallas and Johnny got up and slipped out of the diner probably looking for trouble.  We just bailed Dally out last night after the incident with my mom. 

Our gang returned to the Curtis house around midnight to be greeted by a cop.  He told us that Dally and Johnny were assaulting a woman by the name of Mary Davis.  He sat at the kitchen table on Christmas night interrogating us.

“Now I want a warrant here before I answer any questions from you.” Two-Bit argued with the officer. 

He ignored Two-Bit and went on, “I know you kids know something.  Dallas Winston is on our radar and we know he’s your buddy.  I expect some answers from you.”  He was addressing all of us.  We were all nervous and this was different because it was unexpected. 

“Dally isn’t looking for trouble tonight, trust me.” Darry told him.

“Johnny Cade’s innocent, I swear!  He wouldn’t hurt a fly unless some guys are beating him.” Ponyboy defended. 

“We don’t know anything,” Sodapop fessed.

“My mother is a psychopath.  She lies and cheats.  Don’t you wonder why I get in trouble with you guys?  She pins stuff on me.  She’s unfit to care for those kids and shouldn’t be trusted.” I explained to the officer, “She probably lying to you about Johnny and Dal.  I know they weren’t assaulting her, they were probably just talking to her because they hate her just as much as I do for ruining our party last night.”  

“Well until we get some answers, those two are to blame.”  With that, he left.  Other than that, Christmas Day wasn’t all that bad. 

Then next morning, Dally was crashed on the couch and Johnny was on the floor with a pillow under his head.  Just as we noticed them, there was a knock on the door and the cop from last night was standing there. 

“Dallas Winston and Johnny Cade here?” he asked.  The officer saw them on the couch and invited himself in.  Soda greeted him with a cup of coffee; it was essential that the Curtis boys not get in trouble because the court’s watching their every movement and would split them up.  “Well boys, you’re not under arrest.  Mrs. Davis has been taken into custody and placed in a mental facility.  Turns out she has been under the influence of an illegal drug and will be in rehab for a while.” 

Just for the record, I wasn’t shocked, “What about the kids?  What’s going to happen to them?”  Even though I could care less, they’re still my siblings and family.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to drop everything and look after them though. 

“Your father is in Vegas, Nevada at the moment, but has been contacted and he will be returning shortly.  Until then, they will be placed in foster homes.  As for you, you are now an adult, so the law cannot touch you.” He got up and left leaving his coffee untouched.  I was just happy that I won’t have to worry about my mom for a long time.  Now, I can focus on the wedding, but where do I get a dress?

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