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A Christmas Story: The One

The search begins.

Deep within the isles of a vast toy store, a mom frantically searches for the right one, the one that will bring joy to her little girl and the one everyone else is searching for. She digs and looks and moves and lifts and turns over everything in sight only to find other ones but not ‘The One’. Determined, she moves from shelf to shelf, from box to box, from isle to isle, after all she has visited every store within a hundred miles and every website possible without success.

Out of the corner of her eye, she cannot help but notice a little boy with a frown upon his brow and a gentle quiver moving across his upper lip while his lower one is tucked away hiding something; something distressful. His loose and crooked baseball cap denies the light from gracing half of his tender face. The casted shadow conceals that which is troubling him. His jeans, too long for his height and his flannel sleeves too long for his arms are a reminder of years once long ago when she was a child.

She also notices a man; “a father perhaps”, she thought.

He is on one knee with his arms extended gently holding the boy’s head from drooping forward.  Intrigued but discrete, the mom moves closer pretending to look for her prized toy next to both of them yet careful not to interrupt their tender moment.

“But why?” The boy asks the man.  “You cannot ask for what you cannot have”, replies the man. “Sometimes you just have to accept what you have now, what you had in the past, and trust me when I say that someday you will understand. As hard as it may seem, there is a reason for everything.”

Santa is magical, he can do it.

“But it is Christmas”, the boy sobs.

“Santa has done all he can. Sometimes we know not what is to be and sometimes even grown-ups cannot change what is”, replies the man.

“But…”, the boy says just before the man interrupts him. “I need you to cherish what you have. Sometimes life does not seem fair and sometimes it truly is unfair”, replies the man. “Come here. Give me a hug.”

As they embrace, the eavesdropping mom’s heart is broken. “Should I say something?” She ponders. “How should I say it? How can I be sensitive without coming across as prying or presumptuous? Obviously the boy’s father is teaching his son a lesson. But why at Christmas time? This is just not right!” She contemplates.

A decision.

“All right … Here I go.” She decides. “Excuse me sir. I could not help overhearing part of your conversation with your son. Perhaps Santa can bring him what he wants. I have connections with the North Pole. All I have to do is call Santa and it shall be done.”

“You do?” says the boy with a glimmer of hope. “See dad, I knew Santa can do it. I knew he could.” The boy’s frown was replaced with a still tearing, teeth-missing smile. His rocky knees are now steady and bouncing with excitement.

“Son, it is not that simple”, the dad replies. “Santa cannot work miracles.” Ma’am, thank you for offering to contact Santa for us, but we will not need your help. Happy holidays.”

As the father and son begin to walk away, she tries one more time to offer help.

“Sir, I know it is pretentious of me, but I just want to help. I’ve been looking for something for a long time and have not been able to find it in any store. It would make my Christmas if I can somehow connect you and your son with Santa today.”

“Thank you Ma’am, but unless Santa can bring health to my wife, I am afraid no one can help.” The father replies. “She has been diagnosed with cancer. We have no insurance, no job, and no way of helping her. I brought my boy to the toy store to help take his mind away for a little while as he loves his mommy very much. He has his choice of toys in this place but the only thing he wants from Santa is his mommy to get well.”

The boy wrapped himself around his father’s leg and buried his face in it as he intently listened to his father’s words.

Shocked by what she hears and sees, she stutters these words: “I am so sorry. I inappropriately judged you. My name is Dr. Kalie Diaz and I am an Oncologist. Here is my card, call me. I will contact Santa and see what he can do.”

“Daddy, what is an “On-lo-giss?” the boy asks. The dad replies in disbelief: “Santa’s helper”.

“You see…It can happen.” The son yells with joy.

“Thank you for this lesson, my son.” His dad rejoices with hands up in prayer. “I lost hope when hope was needed most.”

“I have found what I was looking for today!” Dr. Diaz smiled.  “It was not on a shelf or in an aisle nor did it have an on or off button. I found it within both of you… the true meaning of Christmas. Thank you for this special gift. Young man, you also showed me what Santa will bring my daughter for Christmas. I found ‘The One’ I was looking for all along.

Perhaps time with the ones you love is the most precious gift of all.

Oh, by the way, what is your name little man?”

As the boy removes his well-worn baseball cap and places it over his heart, he proudly replies: “Ma’am, my name is Nicolas Saint”.

Dr. Diaz responds: “Well Mr. Saint. Let me see if I can make that special phone call.” She smiles, reaches into a large purse for her phone and dials a random phone number (pretending to call Santa). Inadvertently, she touches the ‘Send’ button.

Suddenly, she is surprised when her dialed number rings on her phone and on another one…the one in little Nicolas’ baggy pants pocket.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all…

By J.A. Rodriguez Jr. a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.