Not-So Sneaky Santa

By Chloey McFadden (Sun Valley High School, Aston, PA)

Beads of sweat grew on her forehead, as did the acid in her stomach.

The mess of a woman shoved her unfinished homework into her cluttered drawer. She caused the piles of incomplete college essays to slap the wood floor. Clarinda stomped over heaps of dirty clothes and stormed out of her front door. Her feet charged to the familiar trail she’d walk in the woods to escape reality. The tears were wiped off of her cheeks and she thought her bloodshot eyes were imagining things. A beaten up, wooden door in the middle of grass and trees was staring at Clarinda. What on Earth is that? It’s never been here before. It does look more enticing than that homework though.

Clarinda let her ankle high converse guide her to the elf size entrance. The handle on the right seemed to whisper “open me,” to her. Her hand listened and bent down to pull open the piece of aged wood. A hole of black stared back at her as she entered a foot inwards. Her unsteady balance sent her flying downwards, head first into the portal. Fluffy, soft snow padded her freefall. Clarinda’s eyelashes fluttered a couple of times in astonishment.

Looking around, there were red and white candy canes all over the snowy path. The village ahead was full of brightly lit stone houses, no taller than 8 feet. The houses were covered in green wreaths and lights in every color. She peered down around her shivering chucks. What are those? Dog prints? Where am I?

She dove into the chilly snow and began throwing it around her and dancing in it. Clarinda hadn’t been this stress free since the summertime. After her excitement, the intriguing lights pulled her into the village. Clarinda was welcomed by hundreds of  elves dressed in green and red outfits with pointy hats and shoes. Oh my, how cute! I want one!

“Hi! My name is Jolly the elf! Who’s your favorite reindeer? Mine’s Prancer!”

“Um..hello, I’m Clarinda and there’s reindeer here? I like border collies.”

A concert of gasps exploded around her.

Jolly tugged on Clarinda’s sleeve and dragged her to the biggest red house she’d ever seen. Behind the red brick, sat an elderly man with a beard the color of snow. It held numerous amounts of cookie crumbs and milk droplets. The man greeted Clarinda with open arms and told her he’d love to have her stay to experience his town. She learned his name was Nicholas and he had elves working in a workshop all year long. Clarinda discovered a land of presents, they were all different shapes and sizes, wrapped in varying wrapping papers from Justin Bieber to Elmo. She let her eyes wander, finding a list longer than most highways. It stated Naughty and Nice List on the very top. Okay…no way. I thought this stuff was only in the movies. It’s like I’m 8 years old again.

Lost in her reminiscing thoughts, something smashed at the back of Clarinda’s head and she spun around to see Jolly giggling to himself. Her hands dove into the light snow and she tossed a snowball straight at Jolly. This lasted about an hour, filling both players with joy. The two called a truce over cups of hot chocolate and warm cookies. When the sun was sinking, Clarinda and Jolly began to blister their throats by singing carols.

As the stars appeared above, Clarinda noticed the same door she’d seen earlier in the day. Out of curiosity, she popped through it again. To her disappointment, when she came out she was staring at trees and grass. She twirled in circles, but everywhere she looked there was no door. Her face fell along with her hopes of becoming an elf.  Returning home, her mother was waiting outside with a water gun. She soaked Clarinda’s sweaty face, making both women squeal in laughter. Maybe even if I grow older, I can always be a child at heart. I hope Christmas and winter break from school come quickly this year.

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