[Aim to Engage] Secret Santa

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I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus

Underneath the Mistletoe last night ...

   It was still November.  Yet, somehow, despite numerous threats by students, the Christmas obsessed Principal had managed to convince the PTA committee to let Christmas music play in the corridors during break time.  It was cute the first week, it was emotionally torturous after that.

 Reiya walked out from Physics class, feeling her like she'd lost a part of her soul to the terribly boring Ms. Smith, who also happened to be her aunt.

  In the throng of students moving like a poorly choreographed school of sardines, the smell of depression, loneliness, and exhaustion was particularly strong.  Or maybe that was just her.

  She headed to her locker, at times, defying gravity by being tossed by a six foot giant and then an even bigger giant.  Curse her dwarf body.

  She sighed and threw her books into the locker. 

The song ended.  And started all over again.  Reiya's eyes twitched.  The song was set to repeat. 

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus

Underneath the Mistletoe last night ...

  Those lyrics were messed up.  It's Christmas, the season of giving, not the season of breaking your family apart and destroying every chance of your kids living in relative peace.  Then again that was just her.  No one else minded the lyrics, because they didn't come from a broken home. 

Then I saw mommy tickle Santa Claus

Underneath his beard so snowy white  

  That wasn't the only thing she was tickling, Reiya thought bitterly.  She slammed her locker, but the door bounced back and whacked her.  Her mind swam, and she gripped the door for support.

  When Reiya opened her eyes she saw something dangling from her locker.  Glaring at it, she realized it was the heart necklace she thought she'd lost over a year ago. One year to be exact, when her workaholic father and brother moved halfway across the country.

  And then a note, under the books she'd hurled a moment ago.

"Meet me in the Okey's Diner after school. -- Your Secret Santa."

  Reiya's heart thumped, but, staring at the necklace, she remembered what false hope felt like.  There was no point in believing when only bad things happened to you. 

  She crumpled the note and threw it to the darkest recess of her locker along with her necklace.  It was probably just a coincidence that her Secret Santa had gotten the exact same necklace she'd lost.  After all when she'd first got it she wore it practically every day. 

 Yes. It really must have been a coincidence.  But just in case. Just in case. 

Reiya breathed in deep, and pushed the door of the diner. 

"Reiya! Over here!"  

Ms. Smith waved at her from the back of the diner.  Behind her were Reiya's parents, sitting side by side. Smiling. Not frowning.


Reiya whipped around to come face to face with her brother.

He pulled her into a hug.

"Happy Birthday."

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