The alarm rings at exactly 12:00 midnight to signal the onset of a day of merry. I hate myself for spoiling what was a nice dream. All my nice dreams have either featured an Asian hooker or on the brighter side, a rogue nun. I get out of my bed and head straight to the balcony to see what the world was holding out there; nothing. No cheers, no fireworks sealed with dark lifeless skies. Then I pull one of those not so common stunts, something close to a walk of shame and back to my sleep.
A gentle slap by my niece wakes me up in the midmorning. I rush to the kitchen to ‘spoil’ myself only to be greeted by the usual not-so-happy face. As I drink my black tea served plain trying all the best to feel the sugar in it, the lass narrates to me how times are hard and how I should go out there and get myself a job. Here’s the part I love, she always says I’m someone people can look up to. I believe her. As we walk to church, I take a peep to my neighbor’s place and see a husband and a wife who from the look, one could tell they had recently quarreled over something and were trying to make out. Ask for my opinion and I’d say that was a missed shot.
The service was all in a mess; front pew remained unoccupied for the better part but this was saved courtesy of ‘mama Kanisa’ that came late. One could tell by the number of people that went to receive the Holy Communion that the previous night was spent against Father’s’ will. We took handshakes on our way out then a promo car passing by, loud music on, reminded me that it was not just an ordinary day but the day Jesus Christ was born. A friend of mine offered a lift to town that was to be the longest journey of my life. The town is barely three kilometers away mind you. Lingala music from back in the days that I’ve always hated played as we were being told of how things were wrong and that we as friends had failed them. My sis took the blame on me saying that she had done the better part of everything and every other activity was on me. Being a good man, I apologized. Unlike the past years, the town was not that crowded.
We cross the street to a local mall to see to catch a glimpse of what was trooping people there. Alas! My little queen gets the sight of one Mr. Santa, frees her hand off mine and runs towards him. I hurriedly follow her as my sis goes for some ice cream. Reaching halfway to where Santa was, she slows her pace certainly to show sudden mixture of excitement with fear. Fear for the unknown. I slow mine too. She picks up and heads towards him as if to give a warm handshake or perhaps a hug. Before I knew it she was screaming at the top of her voice while Santa tried to get her to calm down. I run and get her to my arms, the kid was shivering. Sis comes by and takes nana into her arms. I take two steps behind then as the crowd that had come to see what was happening started to disperse; pause. Then I turn back head to where Santa was, look straight into his now red eyes, take his autograph book and without much thought write GO HOME SANTA.