Blind Faith

Blind Faith

A Story by Kate

Santa Claus and hope.


I definitely did not have a future career waiting for me at the North Pole.  Cautiously, I tugged my pointed green hat over my head, not at all surprised when it refused to stay anchored at my ears. Not that I would accept any job offer in which the dress code included clinging green tights, shoes that rubbed blisters at my ankles, and a skirt with a tendency to ride up, anyways. Okay, I amended, so I already had. But it was only because my sister, petite enough to actually fit this costume, had come down with the flu. Why I didn’t use one of my at-hand excuses to avoid this catastrophe was beyond me.

I was a practiced liar, no question about it. Being a defense attorney tended to give you the upper hand when it came to acting convincing. Did my boss need me to run out to pick up some important case files for him? Sorry, I was pinning down information that might just win the tremendous lawsuit I was assigned. Did my son need to be picked up from school early due to misbehavior? Better call my husband because I was loaded with work and absolutely could not find the time. Was my client accused of murder? He was either set up or had a killer ‘alibi’. I could bend the world whichever way I wanted, and that was just fine with me, especially if it got me out of these clothes.

“And what would you like for Christmas?” A fat man chuckled, giant belly protruding over the chair on which he lounged. On his lap sat a white-faced kid, leaning away from him. A mother stood taking snapshots of the two, dedicated to preserving this moment forever.

The child gaped at him, mumbled something under his breath, then scrambled off his lap, turning to run away. Reaching out, I caught his sleeve and reared him in just long enough to press a candy cane into his sweaty palm.

When you thought about it, Santa was really just a liar too. He was pretending to be someone he wasn’t, all in honor of holding up the one lie that adults unanimously agreed upon. It was comical, sometimes, how those parents would cling onto childhood through Santa. How they would force order upon their kids just by using his name in a threat. How those kids would have their eyes filled with false hope and belief on Christmas morning, just for the sake of a temporary smile. They always find out one day that Santa isn’t real, so why postpone it? If you don’t build expectations up high, the fall will be shorter, the landing softer. If you don’t build them up at all, there will be no drop whatsoever.

Another child took her place on Santa’s lap, cooing as she grabbed at his twisted beard. “Wow, Santa! I never thought I’d meet you ever! You’re my favorite guy ever! If you bring me a new Barbie I promise I’ll love you forever and ever!” She added a few more ‘evers’, just for the effect, desperately trying to stretch her time on the illustrious Santa’s lap. I wondered if she’d noticed that the Filene’s across the street had an identical Claus leaning against a car with a cigarette pressed to his numb lips. I was hoping beyond hope that soon Macy’s would give us volunteers a break, so that I, too, could be sucking in crisp night air. But mine would not be tainted with the smell of a Camelback.

The little girl came up to me, pigtails bouncing. Routinely, I handed her a striped candy cane and nudged her back towards the crowd. The girl, however, remained rooted to the spot, eagerly speaking to me, hands flying in the air with exaggerated motions. “Did you see that, Ms. Elf? I talked to Santa! It was real exciting. Have you ever talked to Santa?”

“I can’t say I have,” I said warily, pulling at my tights. It had only been an hour and already my legs were crying for freedom. “But you need to go to your mother now; she’s probably waiting for you.”

“Okay,” the little girl smiled, then frowned, a look of concern crossing her face. “Will you make sure Santa remembers what I want? There are a lot of people here today.” I nodded for her benefit and gave her a final push towards the throbbing groups of shoppers who lugged behind them bags as large as Santa’s ego.

Sighing, I turned back to the line of children and played a game with myself, trying to judge how gullible each was by how excited they were about meeting the jolly old fellow. A little girl stood sucking her thumb nervously, while an energetic boy bounced with anticipation. Both seemed as if they would believe anything Santa said. Go ahead Santa, I thought, make promises that you, personally, will not be able to keep. Leave it to chance to see if their parents will bother buying them the right gift. If they don’t get what they want, let their hope come crashing down.

“I’d like a pair of contacts,” a boy wearing dark sunglasses said excitedly. This was not even the strangest request I had heard tonight. He looked about nine years old, and as he hoped off the red velvet lap, he stumbled and fell. These kids get too excited for their own good. I crouched, feeling a run making its way up my tights.

I had been holding out my hand for several seconds and the kid still hadn’t taken it. Frustrated, I grabbed his wrist and pulled him upright. “Wait,” he protested, cheeks burning “I need to find my sunglasses.” He crouched down again and began patting the floor. Behind him I was dimly aware of a man - his father? - pushing through the crowd to help him.

“What are you doing?” My voice was laced with disbelief. Patting the floor? Use your eyes, kid.

He looked up, unfocused milk eyes centered on a space to the right of my ridiculous pointed hat. He spoke as if that was where I stood, as if he was not fully aware that I was leaning on the edge of a fluff-covered banister instead. “I think I need some help,” he admitted to the air beside me. I reached down and handed him the sunglasses, so stunned that I forgot to gift him a candy cane as he stumbled off, his father leading him gently through the masses. The boy had no use for contacts. He would never need them.

Maybe I’d got it wrong. Maybe it’s more important that Santa gives hope, then that one day he will have to take it away. Maybe it’s the ecstasy of standing atop the tower of possibilities that matters more than the imminent fall. It’s the chance to believe, for just a moment, that flight is possible, before you find yourself firmly anchored to the ground.

© 2010 Kate

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Added on January 20, 2010
Last Updated on January 21, 2010
Tags: Santa, Claus, christmas, hope, blind



Norwalk, CT

Just a 16 year old girl writing in my spare time. more..

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