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A Mystery Gift From The Heart.

I wasn't expecting a gift, though this one was special

By Carol TownendPublished 2 months ago 8 min read
1
A Mystery Gift From The Heart.
Photo by Floraf on Unsplash

I don't know whether I should put my Christmas tree up tonight. It's Christmas Eve, though I see nothing special in Christmas anymore. I sigh a deep sigh of sadness as I watch the gentle snow falling outside my window, covering the empty branches of trees in a beautiful, white, quilt.

"I wish my dad was here," I whisper to myself as warm tears fall down my cheeks.

My dad was in the army, and I haven't seen him for ten years. I am now thirteen years old, though I never saw or heard from my dad on my thirteenth birthday either. I haven't had birthday cards, gifts, or Christmas presents from him since he left; I doubt that I will get one this year too.

I don't remember what my dad looks like. I was only three years old when he left.

I take the Christmas ornaments out of the box. There is a tin soldier, a few snow-covered baubles in a variety of colors, and a mixture of red, silver, and white tinsel. My mum tells me that my dad bought the white tinsel during their last Christmas together before he left. I feel a lump in the back of my throat, and more tears fall.

"I wish I'd met you, dad. Please, at least send me a card this Christmas." I ask between sobs.

I pick up a beautiful snow globe from the mixture of Christmas decorations in the box. I shake it, and I see a picture of mum with a tall, smart man dressed in an army uniform. He has blue eyes, tanned skin, and a smile just like mine.

"Is this my dad?" I ask out loud.

Mum walks in and takes the snow globe from me. She nods quietly, but I can see the tears welling in her eyes. She looks at me, keeping her eyes shadowed beneath her eyelashes, and then she says quietly,

"Yes, he is your dad."

I ask her, "Is he coming back?"

Mum shakes her head and leaves the room.

***

I still don't know whether to put up the Christmas tree, and mum hasn't said whether she wants it up or not. Every year, mum leaves me a present on the mantlepiece, though she never puts the tree up. I understand why though. Mum was an only child; her parents died three years ago after a horrible disease ran rampant through our country, and now, she only has me. Christmas is a sad time in our house. On Christmas morning as the clock strikes midnight, we hold each other by the fireplace, crying, hoping that my dad will return.

But it never happens.

I need air.

Mum is cooking tea in the kitchen. It's only soup, though I appreciate it as mum doesn't have a lot of money for food, and she can't buy the special food that many families eat at Christmas; besides she is cooking tomato soup which is my favorite soup because it warms us both up; especially on a cold night when we can't afford much fuel.

I decide to stand at the door and watch the snowfall. I like watching the snow fall better than putting up the Christmas tree. It is peaceful being in nature, and snow always creates beautiful outdoor scenes.

I wonder if my dad likes snow. I wish that I could ask him.

I have been standing on the doorstep for almost twenty minutes thinking about dad and watching the snow. I am so lost in my own mind that I don't hear mum calling to tell me that my soup is ready. I go back inside my house and shut the door. No sooner have I shut the door when a whirring sound coming from outside startled me. I open the door again to see what it is, and a huge round metal object with a red flashing eye suddenly drops a box on my doorstep right in front of me, then flies away. I am left in a daze, though I bend down and pick the box up, taking it inside.

"Mum, quick look!" I call to my mum.

"What is...?" Mum starts to talk, then stops when she sees the box.

Mum takes the box from me and examines it closely.

"That's strange!" she tells me. "There is no name and no message. I'm not sure whether we should open it."

"It was delivered by a strange flying object that had a red eye and claws. I thought boxes were delivered in trucks," I tell her.

"They usually are! Are you making up fantasy stories again?" Mum asks me.

"No mum. I'm telling the truth. I know I tell lots of stories, but I'm not this time!" I try to explain, but it's no use.

Mum is used to my stories. I once told her that there was a big flying saucer in my room that had goblins in it. I tell lots of stories, only to wind her up. However, I wish that she would believe me just this once.

"The box is only small, and it is very light. There is no label on it though. Maybe someone sent it to the wrong address. I'm confused though; why would anyone send a parcel with no label on it? It doesn't look dangerous though, but I still don't think that we should open it," Mum explains.

"The army does when they want to keep things a secret; I've been told that the army uses drones all the time," I blurt out.

I think part of me is hoping. That is just hoping. Hoping that dad will contact us, and let us know that he is still alive, and hoping that he wants to meet me one day.

I know deep down that it may never happen, though hope is all I have left. I can't imagine going through all my life without my dad, and I want to spend just one Christmas with mum and dad, just like those children do at school.

"I need to wash up," mum tells me as she picks up the box, and heads into the kitchen.

I finish the last bit of my soup, then I go to the bathroom and wash my hands. I decided that I should put the Christmas tree up; we haven't had a good Christmas tree for years, and our Christmas might be poorer than most but at least we can add some Christmas happiness this year, by putting the tree up.

Besides! I saved up my money earned from my newspaper rounds in order to get mum a Christmas present. She deserves to have them under the tree!

"Ryan, come in here!" mum shouts from the kitchen.

"What is it, mum?" I ask, taking a seat at a table.

Mum reads a letter to me.

"Dear Liza and Ryan.

I know this will be a shock to you, and all I can ask is that you please hear me out. I have missed you dearly over these long years that have passed me by while serving in the army. I have not seen you Ryan since you were three; My heart hurts, and my tears are like a never-ending flowing river. I yearn for all those years that I missed watching you grow up.

My dear Liza. I am not sure why you haven't divorced me after all these years; though I want you to know that I am truly appreciative that you waited for me. I still love you, and my heart needs to feel yours again. I have leave just after Christmas, and I would love to spend that time with my wonderful wife and son.

Forever yours, Damien.

My mum reads the letter over and over again, then after the third time, she starts to cry. I do not know how to react, though a tear falls from my eye. I am sad, happy, frustrated, and a little angry.

"Dad wants to come home! How will he know who I am? Will he still love me, even though I am now thirteen?" I ask, feeling tears stinging my eyes.

"I think he will love but I don't know how to respond. I haven't seen your dad for a long time even though we are still married," mum replies.

"Mum! We have to do this. I want to meet my dad! I have waited so long."

Mum nods, and after an hour of talking; she agrees.

She also agrees to put the Christmas tree up, with a smile on her face; a smile that I haven't seen in a long time.

We are about to get the Christmas tree out when suddenly there is a knock on the door. It is 10 p.m. and we don't usually get visitors.

I wonder who it could be?! I think to myself, quietly.

Mum answers the door.

"Merry Christmas!" a male replies.

Mum doesn't have friends come here, and she has no family so I am surprised to hear an adult male voice. My first thoughts panic me as I wonder whether mum has a secret boyfriend whom she hasn't told me about.

Then my second thought...

It might be...could it be?...would it be my dad?

I feel nervous and I suddenly experience butterflies in my stomach. I daren't go to the door until...

"Ryan! Come here, hurry!" mum calls excitedly

My legs feel like jelly, and I have to walk to the door holding onto the wall for support.

I hide behind my mum.

"Merry Christmas Ryan!" a man standing on my doorstep tells me.

"Who are you?" I ask, my voice shaking.

"Ryan..., meet your dad," mum tells me.

I stand there with my mouth wide open, and I feel like I have forgotten how to speak.

Dad gives me a big hug, and my cheeks are wet with tears.

Mum invites him in, and we put the tree up together. I discover that my dad is cheerful with a sense of humor like mine. It will take some getting used to, having him around again since I haven't seen him since I was three years old. However; we are family again, and mum is smiling.

This is what Christmas is all about.

familyLoveMysteryYoung AdultShort Story
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About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche!

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