Her Sake

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Christmas is always
a busy day for my family.
It's not quite the production
that Thanksgiving is,
at least as far as food goes,
but my family takes holidays
very seriously
as our only get-togethers with
distant relatives all year.
This year, Christmas dinner is
taking place at our house,
rather than Aunt Margo's;
Uncle Greg and his crowd
are expected to arrive around three
after picking her up.

Unlike Thanksgiving,
our Christmases usually aren't
in the same place every year.
Last year, we all had
traveled up to Vermont for a few days.
That was the time Euni
had thrown up in the car;
a fond memory, for sure.
The seats had smelled like it
for weeks after.

As for those of us
not traveling out of state today,
we aren't allowed to sleep in,
thanks to a certain
eager ten-year-old boy
who wants his presents
as soon as he wakes up
at seven A.M., sharp.
Mom and Dad, as always,
have given firm instructions
not to wake them until eight,
and Thias hasn't lately
wanted to be bothered as far
as older sibling things go,
so I open my eyes at
seven-fifteen to find
and excited Eddie staring down at me.

"C'mon, Tilly!"
he stage whispers,
bouncing on the edge
of my bed in a way
that makes it squeak in protest.
"It's time for presents!"

"Not until Mom and Dad
wake up and say we can,"
I groan, still half asleep.
"Go and bug Euni insteas..."

"She didn't want to wake up,"
he complains.
"And when she did
say anything,
she told me that
she'd put them all
through a paper shredder if
I tried to wake her up again."

Well, that was
a little unexpected.
Sure, Eunice has never
been a morning person, but
I've never heard that
particular threat before.
"Please,"
he pleads with me
after I try to roll over
and go back to sleep.
"Aren't you excited
to open your presents?"

It's funny how, when you're
still a kid, you think
that you can't wait the half an hour
it will take for your parents
to get up before you can
open your presents -
as if you don't have
a whole day of Christmas
in which to do it.
And it's even funnier,
I think, that when you
get older, the excitement
sort of wears away,
replaced by sleep deprivation
and a newfound appreciation
for your pillow, rather than
Santa Claus.
I used to be
just like Eddie when
I was little -
and now, like my parents,
all I want to do is sleep.

"Fine, then,"
I grumble at last,
wincing as he bounces
in place again, unable
to contain his excitement.
"Wait downstairs while
I get dressed.
I'll be down soon."

It takes me a bit
to rouse myself fully -
and by that time,
the rest of the house is
beginning to wake.
I get downstairs just in time
for Mom to ask me to
go and wake up Eunice
as she rummages through
the kitchen cabinets
for breakfast items.
It takes a good ten minutes
to do that, paper shredder threats
and all, and when I finally
manage to drag her downstairs,
Dad is already climbing
under the tree
to dish out our presents.

It's such a familiar sight
to see all my family
gathered around the tree,
repeated from previous years,
but it's special in
its own way.
Even if I don't exactly
show it sometimes,
Christmas is my favorite
time of year, and I would
never want to spend it
with anyone but my family.
These guys mean
the world to me.

The rest of the morning
flies by in a blur
of Mom making pancakes
and Eddie squealing over
the presents he got.
Eunice ends up getting
a new car -
new as in bought used
for a good price, that is -
as Mom and Dad
must have been tired of her
always borrowing one of theirs,
but she's not allowed to drive it
until after Christmas break,
since she's still grounded.
After grumbling about that,
she gets up to hug them
each in turn.

Thias is silent for
most of the time,
and I'm sure he's still
thinking of Sara.
After a while, I go over
and hug him from behind
and whisper "Merry Christmas,"
into his ear.
He just turns
and gives me a wan smile
and pats one of my hands
to let me know that he's okay.

After I move to
sit back down on the couch,
I remember again
the present that I never
gave to Natalia,
and wonder how her Christmas
is going so far.
Hopefully her parents
aren't too caught up
in phone calls and work
to celebrate with her.
After a moment, I resolve
to give her her present
the very next time I see her.
Maybe that will
cheer her up a little
if her Christmas wasn't that great.
I can only hope so,
I guess,
for her sake.

But I have little time
to harbor that thought before
Mom calls for me
to come and help get
everything ready for
dinner this afternoon -
and after a second's hesitation,
I hurry to do as I'm told.

×

IT'S CHRISTMAS IN JULYYYYY;;;

This is literally the only good thing about my day so far. Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything but Mondays suck. Like, hardcore. Ew.

If you guus liked this chapter, id love if y'all would vote and leave me some feedback! It'd be much appreciated <3
Oh - and everyone's favorite character will be showing up again tomorrow ;) Get psyched, y'all. I know I am.

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