With the first light of the morning he jumped from his bed and ran to the parlor where the Christmas tree was. Standing in the corner of the room with its Christmas splendor was the tree lit with green, red and silver shining its reflection against the cold grey wall. His home seemed so much warmer this time of year even though the indoor thermostat read 52 degrees. It was Christmas morning and all this little boy wanted to do was see what presents Santa Clause had brought him. He believed he had been extra good this year, but honestly how bad could a five year old really be?
“Angel baby”, his mother cried out. “Wait for me, and have some breakfast.”
“I’m going to eat the candy bar Santa left me in my stocking mama.” Willy answered nonchalantly.
“William, you cannot have a chocolate bar for breakfast.” She said lovingly.
“Please Mama, it is Christmas.” He looked up at his mother holding his face in such a way that he knew she could not resist his wish.
“Fine, but you are drinking a glass of milk with it.” She said like only a mother would.
Willy opened all his presents in record time and filled the room with shards of ravaged paper. Like an endless assembly line the gifts were opened one after another with Willy’s smile never breaking. Hours passed while the carols played and the wind shook the plastic that covered the holes where the windows should be.
“This is the best Christmas ever mama.” Willy said. “I must have been really good this year. Santa brought me all kinds of toys.”
“You’re always good my angel baby. Santa knows that and he also knows you are a very special child.” Mama said with comfort in her voice.
Willy looked at his mother with such love in his eyes that the room seemed to fill with golden light. He knew she loved him above all other and that nothing would ever come between them. She would never allow it. Mama knew her purpose now. She knew why as a child she felt separated, why things didn’t affect her as they did others. She knew all this suffering was meant to build strength in the face of adversity and to be able to withstand the evil that this world would show her. To protect her child from those who would work to hurt him with dollar signs being the motive.
“But if I’m so special, why doesn’t my father love me?” Willy choked a bit on his words and Mama filled with rage. Never for her angel baby, but for the louse that had abandoned them both without concern and a song in heart that only played his selfish tune.
“He doesn’t love anyone angel baby. The only person he loves is himself. Do not think that it has anything to do with you. Some people shine so bright that any darkness around them gets drowned out with their beauty. You are that light Willy and he is that darkness. What you need to understand that love from him would mean nothing, because he has used it in order to hurt people darling. Love from you, well that is truly a gift and I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be the one person so far that has it.” Mama meant her words.
“I know Mama, but for some reason I feel that I want to love him.” He said looking at Mama.
“William, you can love him if you want to. But I’m just afraid that it will hurt you.” Mama replied.
“How could love be a bad thing Mama?” he asked.
“Because if all your love is going out and none is coming back…it just may disappoint you.” Mama said quietly.
“I can love him even if he doesn’t love me Mama. He doesn’t call me or send me presents or even send me a card, but he can’t stop me from wanting to love him. He is my father.” Willy said with the innocence and demand that only a child still has will for.
Mama started to cry in the kitchen so Willy wouldn’t see her. She cried for her son’s pain and her embarrassment on ever having loved such a man that could abandon a child for money. She knew the darkness of which she had spoken to her son and she knew that this evil would arise again someday and what she would have to do to protect her son. She would have to be what she feared she would become. Broken, numb and no longer blind. William was her only connection to the human feelings she once had. Maybe that is why she loved him like she did. William was her last shred of humanity in this world of flesh covered monsters.
“You can love everyone my angel baby. I just don’t want to see you disappointed.” She repeated to him.
“Well mama, it’s not like my father could disappointment anymore than he has already.”
They both laughed a chuckle and sat by the tree playing with Willy’s new toys.