Pretending It’s Christmas.
I would like to wish a Happy Christmas and New Year to my small band of followers and I hope to be still around next year, if I can avoid the coming Fake News Ban to continue our acquaintance. Thank you for your support.
The first time he saw the little girl with black curly hair on the bus, he thought how much she looked like his sister.
The last time he had seen his sister, she had held his hand, as they had walked up the road together, around the corner, past the house with the Fuchsia bush in the garden, to the bus stop.
When the bus came along, he started to get on, but his sister stopped him and told him that she was going to live with Granny and she wouldn’t be coming back. She told him to be a good boy, and she waved out of the bus window as it drove away.
After that he was always on his own, and when he saw the little girl, with the black curly hair on the bus, he imagined that he had really got on to the bus, with real his sister after all and he started to pretend that the little girl was his sister and he used to imagine himself playing with her, the way he had played with his lost real sister. He could remember when they pushed their thumbs against their closed eyes until the colours came, and told each other the patterns they could see.
He spent a lot of time pretending. Once he had found an old beat-up book about Huckleberry Finn. He never knew how the story started and how Huck came to be where he was, because the first few pages were missing. But there was a drawing showing his home, he lived in a barrel. After that he found an old oil drum, it was not as good as Huck’s real barrel but it was good enough. He spent a lot of time hunched up inside that barrel, pretending.
It was dark inside it but an old man had given him a torch and that was good but in the end he wrapped it up and gave it to his pal as a birthday present because he had nothing else to give him, at his party.
Christmas was coming and he started to think about something for the little girl on the bus. He had a few Holy pictures but she wouldn’t want them. All his other stuff was broken, like the watch that stopped after five minutes or the yo-yo with a knot in the string.
He started by making a little Christmas card out of the lid of a shoe box. He carefully wrote Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with a red crayon. It looked alright. After he wrote to ‘The girl on the bus.’ on an old brown paper bag and put the card in it.
The present was harder. After poking around he found some red wire with copper strings inside. He had a knife in his pocket, he called it his ‘buck’ knife, he didn’t know why it was called that but someone in Huckleberry Finn had one.
After he took the plastic off the wire, with his ‘buck,’ a bit as long as his arm, he twisted the inside bits together, he was thinking about making a bracelet. He tied a knot in the middle of the wire and put one end under his foot and pulled hard to make the knot tighter.
He twisted the wire a bit more and then he wrapped it around his wrist, with the knot in the middle like a watch and then he bent the wire backwards and forwards until all the strands were broken on both sides of the knot, leaving, just enough to go round his arm. He put in the bag with the Christmas Card.
In the morning she was there. She never looked like she had ever even noticed him, he never spoke to her and she never spoke to him. He was lucky that day, he managed to sit beside her. His school came before hers, so when he was close to the bus stop, he took the brown paper bag from under his coat and put it in her lap and whispered Happy Christmas to her and then he rushed off the bus.
Then it was theschool Christmas Holidays. After the end of the holidays, with a funny pain in his stomach, he went to catch the school bus. He looked everywhere for his little friend but she wasn’t there, nor the next day or the day after that.
In the end he never saw the little girl ever again. He wondered to himself if she had ever been there at all or whether he had just been pretending.