Under the mistletoe

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chapter 2

Daniel stared at his reflection in the mirror. A grandfatherly looking man dressed in red, with snow white beard and hair and grandpa glasses stared back. In the santa costume, more than half his face was concealed. He couldn’t even recognize himself.

He pulled up a long red sleeve to check the time. It was 2.15pm. Santa was supposed to appear at 2.30 in the main hall. Under his white gloves his palms were starting to sweat as doubts assailed his mind.

What if it was a mistake and he didn’t have what it takes? Come on, who was he kidding? He had a grand total of zero experience in this santa business. Would the children be disappointed in this santa?

Two days ago, he had visited the orphanage, only with the intention of making a donation. Kathy’s sharing had reminded him that Christmas was also a season of giving and he had wanted to make a contribution . But as he was talking to Sister Maria, a little girl came up to her and placed her small palm in her hand. "Sister Maria, will Santa be coming this year?” She had said it with such yearning in her eyes that for the first time, he understood what Kathy meant about the kids being disappointed. At that moment, he felt compelled to do something more for them. Before he had time to regret, he offerred to play Santa for that day, but anonymously

So here he was. Though he looked the part, he felt more nervous as the minutes to ticked by. This was more nerve wrecking than public speaking, he thought.

For the first time in many years he found himself praying "Be with me Lord," as he picked up the red sack of presents and walked down the hallway.

At the sound of Santa's bell Jason's eyes brightened. "It's Santa, mum!",he cried gleefully.Kathy laughed at her son's excitement. For the past week he had been badgering her on whether Santa would be coming. At seven years old, Jason still believed in Santa Claus.

Then he appeared . This santa was very tall, towering at around 6 feet. From what Kathy could see , he had a ruddy complexion and laughing eyes behind his grandpa glasses. He was ringing a bell in one hand and carrying a heavy sack on his other shoulder. He walked with a joyful gait, bobbing to the background music ”Santa claus is coming to town”. Not bad at all for an amateur, she thought and thanked God once again for this kind volunteer who was the answer to her prayers.

The kids went wild at this sight . One would have thought a rock star had appeared at the home. Sister Maria started organising them in a queue while Santa took his seat at a makeshift santa grotto in the front . Jason was already making a beeline to the queue.

“Jason! Remember to…”

“Yeah yeah, I know mum, let the rest go first and say thank you!” he turned back, gave her a toothy grin and scooted off.

Kathy smiled. She sat back to relax after a long morning of cooking and decorating for the Christmas party. The room was decorated with balloons and streamers. A large christmas tree stood at the corner and fake mistletoes hung from the ceiling.

For most of her childhood, this had been her home since her parents passed away. She had stayed here till she graduated from high school. A few years later, she met Dave, fell madly in love and got married. They had Jason shortly after that. Unfortunately, Dave passed away in a car accident three years ago.

Suddenly Kathy became the sole provider. Thankfully Sister Maria put them up at the home till she was more financially stable. While she worked in the day and took night secretarial classes, Jason stayed at the home with the other children. Things started to improve when she got employed at her current company one year ago and she eventually could afford to rent a studio apartment nearby.

At this point in her life, she felt grateful and content to see Jason grow up healthy and well.

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