Once upon a time, there was this teenager who walked in this lightenened street, in this huge city where life was at its fullest. At that time of the year, days were shorter and nights longer. Earth was covered by a white coat. The wind played hide and seek with people. No matter how many clothes they were wearing, a chill got them every now and then. They walked close to each other, trying to get warmer. They carried three or four bags in each hand. Some of them had big boxes in their arms, wrapped in paper gifts. As the young teenager scanned the street, he noticed a boy stambled and fell. The teenager ran across the street to help him, as nobody seemed to pay attention. He picked up a piece of paper next to the boy’s hand. Without asking, he read it: it was a list. He didn’t had enough time to get through the letter that the boy took it out of his hand. The teenager looked at him. The boy looked angry with a point of despair in his eyes. He looked at the teenager who stared at him. A barely hearable ‘Thanks’ came out of his mouth. A big smile appeared on the teenager’s face. As the boy started to walk away, the teenager open the conversation : ‘What’s your name?’ The boy turned around. He looked around him, hoping the teenager talked to someone else. As he noticed he was adressing to him, the boy answered : ‘Henry’. A bigger smile was drawn on the teenager’s face. ‘Let’s go!’ he said.
The teenager dragged Henry in the mall. He gazed around. A light of fascination appeared in his eyes. Everything was bright. There was a gigantic Christmas tree in the middle of the hall. Around the top of it, two polar bears with wings flew in circle. On their backs, two smaller brown bears enjoyed the eternal ride. A lot of big, small, thin and medium boxes hid the foot of the Christmas tree. A melodic song was on repeat on the speakers. But people’s voices and laughters covered the music. The teenager grabbed Henry’s list and took a look at it, ignoring Henry’s protest.
Christmas’ gifts list
– a barbie doll
– a xbox one
– a skateboard
– a stay in a spa
He looked at Henry. He wondered how was he going to pay for all these stuffs. ‘I was about to just choose one thing… The xbox… 360. So we could play all together…Or maybe the Wii, i don’t know yet’ Henry mumbled. He took back his list and tore it. His frustration could be see on his face. The teenager grabbed his arm and lead him to a store. It was full of doll. On each shelf, there were different dolls. The teenager turned to Henry, opened his arms and screamed : ‘Choose!!’ Henry felt embarassed. He walked toward the teen trying to silence him.
– ‘What are you doing?’ he whispered.
– ‘Choose’ the teenager repeated.
– ‘I can only afford one gift! I have to pick one thing that could please to all of my family.’
– ‘I don’t have the money for that!’
– ‘Stop saying that!! I can’t!!’
All eyes were turned to him. The store has stopped for a second. Then returned to its pace. The teenager put his left hand on Henry’s shoulder. They shared a look. The teen kept his smile and said : ‘Choose.’ Henry gave up. He started to walk around the store. He checked every doll to finally pick one. ‘Let’s go!’ the teenager said. They headed to the cashier and waited. Henry was nervous. He gazed at the teenager who observed everyone in front of them. What is he doing? thought Henry. Then the teenager played around with a baby. Who is he? They paid then went to another store. This time, they were surrounded with technology : flat screens, computers, cellphones, headphones, printers but no consoles. The teenager pointed to a sign that indicated another floor. Henry followed him, still perplexed on why he keeps following him. They stopped in front of two boxes : one said PS4 and the other one said Xbox One. Henry looked at the teenager. His smile said ‘choose’. With a sigh, he took the box that said Xbox one. Then, the teenager brought him two floors above where books were kings. They walked around and stopped in front of a shelf full of small books. On these books, it was written ‘SmartBox’ or ‘Wonderbox’ : they seemed to offer packages of different trips, activities all around the world. The teenager picked a few and read them cover to cover. After putting back the last book, he choose one he already read and marked a page. He put it on top of the box Henry carried. Then, they went to the cashier and waited again. The line was big. How come there is so much people on Christmas Eve, Henry thought. Five minutes later, their turn arrived. Henry looked more and more anxious as the moment of payment came. He pulled his card out and passed it. The cashier thanked them and wished them a happy holiday. Henry was astonished. He scanned the ticket. Then froze. After few seconds, he stared at the teenager, panicked. ‘What is this?’ he asked. The teenager smiled at him : ‘Let’s go!’ He pushed Henry toward a sport store. They walked through it until the wheel sport. Next to ten bikes, hanging on the wall were different types of deck: small ones, longboards, skateboards and cruisers. ‘Choose’ the teenager said. Henry put his bags and box down. He glanced at the teenager before judging boards. He selected one and showed it to the teenager. The latter said : ‘Let’s go!’, a smile still on his face. They went through the payment point like the last time. Henry felt more suspicious about the teenager and finally asked : ‘Who are you?’. The teenager turned to him, surprised. He thought. Then he said : ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ Henry didn’t know what to answer. ‘What do you want?’ he repeated. Henry sighed, he’s completly ignoring my question, he thought. ‘Nothing’, Henry answered. He waited the teenager’s reaction. The latter paused for a second, his eyes wide open then his big smile came back. ‘Let’s go!’ he said. Henry was now confused. ‘Where?’ Henry asked. ‘Home!’ he said. The teenager lead the way to the subway.
After thirty minutes, they arrived at Henry’s home. Behind the main door, there was a small hall leading to a small kitchen. At the left of the hall, a door lead to the livingroom which was opened to the kitchen. On the right, there were stairs that lead to the first floor, where three rooms and one bathroom were. When they entered, no one welcomed them. ‘They will come home a lil later’, Henry said. ‘We need to hide these before they come back.’ He went upstairs and hid the bags in the bathroom where no one would look. Then he took the box, walked around, looking for a place to put it. He looked at the teenager for help. The latter gazed around then dragged him to the kitchen and pointed under the lever. Henry gave him a look : ‘What?’ The teenager shrugged : ‘It might work.’ Henry shook his head but still put the gift under the lever. Just when he closed the closet, his mother came in with his siblings. Henry pretended to wash hands and welcomed his family. His two brothers went straight in front of the TV while his mom and his sister walked toward him their hands full of bags. Her mother stopped when she saw the stranger in her house. ‘He is…hum..a friend’, introduced Henry. The teenager smiled at her. She nodded and asked her son to help her and his sister. Henry and the teenager complied, at Henry’s mom surprise. When they finished, Henry brought the teenager to his room. On their way, the teenager scanned the place. On the stairs wall, there were pictures of the family. A lot of them were pictures of Henry and his brothers and sister. On few of them, there were the parents. He noticed a spot where dirt formed a square. He called Henry and asked about the missing picture. Henry paused. He looked around and told the teenager to keep walking. When they were in his room, Henry closed the door behind him. He looked down, his expression has changed. ‘He was a fireman. He died two weeks ago.’ The teenager kept his smile after hearing the news. Few seconds later, as if he took a time to gather himself, Henry tried to know a little more about the smiling teenager. But the latter ignored all of his questions, again. Suddenly, the teenager waved at Henry as he stood up. Then he went downstairs and left. A minute later, Henry’s mom called her troops for dinner.
Around one o’clock in the morning, Henry woke up, half conscious. He went to the bathroom, took the gifts bag then slowly walked in the kitchen to grab the big box. He headed to the livingroom where a tree was beaming. He put his gifts underneath the tree and went back to sleep.
The next day, Henry was woken up by screaming. His lips smiled slightly. He turned around in his bed, trying to go back to sleep. But his brothers and sister ran into the room and jumped on his bed. ‘Wake up!! Wake up!!’ they screamed. ‘Santa came!!’ Henry got of bed with difficulties. He followed his siblings to the livingroom. His mother was sitting on the couch with a small box in her hands, a smile on her face. It’s been a while… Henry thought. There were papergifts all around the floor. Henry’s brothers and sister’s face were smiling from ear to ear. His mother walked towards him and handed him a gift. He looked at her, surprise she bought him something, mostly when she said earlier she couldn’t afford any gifts this year. ‘It’s not from me, it was there amongst everything else.’ Henry was now suspicious and curious. He unwrapped the gift like he was six and discovered a ‘Samrtbox’. There was page marked. He opened it and read :
Skydiving for two
He couldn’t believe it. He looked at his mother, his mouth open. She looked as surprised as him. Then Henry rewinded his day. It struck him : the weird kid he met chose this gift. ‘Mom, did you get a gift?’ She nodded. She crossed the chaos to a couch and came back to show him her gift. Another Smartbox. When…? In the afternoon, Henry went back to the mall where they met. He looked everywhere : he went back to all the stores they went to but he wasn’t there. Tired of searching, he sat down to rest a little bit before he went back home. When he was about to give everything up, he looked up to the huge Christmas tree in front of him and he saw him. He was standing at the tree’s foot. He looked at the tree like he was talking to it. Henry stood up and walked toward him, his eyes still on him as if it prevented him from diseppearing. He grabbed his arm and turned him around. His smiley face looked at Henry : ‘Merry Christmas!!’ he screamed. The latter smiled in turn. He felt relieved. They took a seat next to the tree and stayed silence for a while.
– ‘Thank you…’ Henry mumbled. The teenager turned to him. ‘Thank you for putting a smile on my family’s face again.’ The teenager put his big smile on his face again. ‘But… Who are you?… At least, give me your name.’
– ‘It’s Christmas’, he said. ‘You can call me Santa Junior!’
On that, he stood up and walked away. He turned back, smiled one last time to Henry and disappeared. Henry went back to his home. His brothers were playing on the xbox one while their sister played in her room with her new doll. Henry went to his mother’s room. He opened slightly the door and saw his mother crying on a letter with a necklace attached to it. He entered in her room : ‘Mom?’ And he sat next to her. ‘It’s from your father…’ she whispered.