The Essence of Christmas

Tse Burgess won First Place in the 13 & under category in the Dr. Stanley Ratteray Christmas Short Story Contest. Congratulations! 

The Essence of Christmas
By Tse Burgess
“Crunch” goes the snow beneath my feet. Snowflakes fall around me with different shapes and patterns. I place my tongue out hoping to taste the essence of winter. The snowflakes fall and then immediately melt on the coarse texture of my tongue. I sit out on the soft snow all layered up; I look out to the night sky.
“Beautiful isn’t it?” A familiar voice says behind me.
I hop up brushing the snow off my back, I turn around and see my grandpa. His warm chocolate brown cheeks worn down from smiling too much.
“Christmas Eve, the hardest night to fall asleep on, “he says with a wistful sigh. I look at him staring out into the endless darkness. Then suddenly his body starts to fall. I race to try to follow him, and he reaches out to me.
“Alsea, “he says in a whisper. “Help me. “
“I’m trying to grandpa! “I shouted.
My hands touch his fingertips, but they slip from my grasp. Leaving him falling into the darkness below.
I woke up with a start, my body covered in sweat my breathing heavy. I needed something to drink. I’d been reliving the same dream ever since December began like my brain hadn’t fully grasped that gramps was gone. I crept down the steps, trying to walk quietly so that my parents and brother didn’t wake up. I made it downstairs and grabbed a glass from the counter. I slowly filled it up with cold water. I thought deeply while twirling a curly strand of hair between my fingers. About Gramps, and Christmas. Instinctively I looked over to the brightly glowing Christmas tree, the smell finding its way over here.
“Whoosh,” A long pale wispy thing flew around the tree. Blowing a funny smelling wind toward the kitchen. The pale thing flew around and around the tree, causing ornaments to fall on the floor. I stood up my hair blowing around. In a matter of seconds, the entire room was covered in the pale smelly fog. It picked me up and carried me higher until I was standing on a cloudy platform. Then I looked down, the entire island was underneath me. The fishhook shape more definite now. The lights were on all around the island in preparation for Christmas, multicolored and bright. It was mesmerizing, sometimes I forget how nice Bermuda is.
“Alsea, “A small voice said to me. I looked around but no one was there. But the voice seemed to be coming from above me.
“Do you wish to see the Christmas past Alsea, “the voice said louder this time.
I didn’t know if I wanted to see the past. What was this whole thing about anyways? Why was I in the middle of the sky talking to a mysterious voice? What part of my Christmas past was she talking about? Suddenly a scene played out in from of me, my gramps was sitting n a hospital bed talking to my mom.
“I have cancer, “Gramps told her.
“I’m starting treatments soon, “he said.
Tears welled up in my mom’s eyes. “I know you’re going to make it, “she said trying to fight the tears Gramps reached for my mom’s hand.
“I will, “Gramps said, “I’s a fighter,” he finished. The scene suddenly morphed back into a cloud and whooshed back into the sky. I found tears surrounding my eyes. I didn’t realize I’d been crying. Before I had time to process it, an excited voice echoed around me.
“ALSEA!!” it shouted.
“Do you wish to see your Christmas present? ‘’ It shrieked.
“I guess, “I sniffled.
In whooshed another cloud. It showed my family sleeping soundly. My brother tossing and turning in his bed excited for Christmas. My mother looked like she was having a nightmare, her face sad and scared. I wondered what she could be dreaming about. My father looked like he was having a dream, a good one. Then I heard him whisper My brother and I’s names softly to himself, he smiled lovingly. Then the dream turned back into a cloud again and whooshed away. After the cloud was gone a voice spoke again.
“Do you wish to see your Christmas future? “a mysterious voice asked.
“Sure,” I answered nervously.
My heart started beating faster. What was this one going to be? How could I be sure it was true if it was the future. What if this was all a hallucination? Another cloud came in and a scene played in from of my eyes.
My brother and I were sitting playing with the Christmas toys that we recently unwrapped. My mom was filming as usual. And my dad reading the daily newspaper. My mom held out her phone placing it on the selfie stick. Pushing the button as we all went cheese. The picture was captured, the moment frozen in time. And then the memory whooshed off, the cloud flying away.
Do you understand why we have shown you these Alsea, “a calm voice said.
To be honest I didn’t really know but I didn’t want to answer the voice.
“These three words are the essences of Christmas: family, love and lastly memories, “the voice said. “These scenes almost perfectly represent that, the first scene memories, the second scene love, the last scene family,” It said. Suddenly a body was shimmering in the light. My gramps was there talking to me.
“Alsea you must spread these feelings and things; they’re disappearing in the Christmas W=world now,” he said gravely.
It made sense now. We would all have to as human find the deep love in our hearts. Dig for the good and bad memories. And spend quality time with the ones we love the most, family. That is the true spirit of Christmas, what we should all strive for.