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Santa Baby

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W

alking inside the Phoenix store was a task that I hated, but not for the reasons you think. There weren't any large annoying crowds, even though it was almost December, there wasn't a freak storm about to come, it was just something that might have made a normal person feel, might I say cheerful. That's right, the Christmas music had started already and it wasn't even December. Walking through the toy section rang the words 'Santa Baby' over and over again. But it was not the nice, slow original; it was some fast new remake that just kept repeating those two words for the chorus, as if it was speaking directly to me.

You see, I was a Santa Baby; that's right Hope Springs born December 25 at precisely 10am, if I remember correctly, at the King Edward Memorial Hospital with a head full of dark brown curls, sun-kissed skin and caramel eyes to compliment my sweet smile. I remember my eighth birthday going to Sparky's where Double Dip is now. My little brother was two years old then and he obviously did not understand that the cake was to be eaten after everyone sang to me. My mom always prepared a birthday for me the weekend that the schools got out for Christmas break. I loved it because that way I got one set of presents at my party and one set on my birthday.

As I got older, I began to notice more of the negative aspects of having my birthday on Christmas. I hated the fact that I had to share all my attention with my younger cousins. I should be in the spotlight. My mom would always end up giving me a stern lecture about 'sharing means caring' and 'do what you want others to do to you' to which I responded by deliberately going out of my way to get some attention.

If only I could go back and cherish her words, her smell, her life.

The clock was running on steroids as I stroked past the Hamilton Fire Station towards Liberty Theatre. I held my plaid jacket close to me as the winds howled and the street lamps began to come on. Heading back to the centre was a journey I hated (wait a minute, you must think I hate a lot of things, don't worry I don't. It's just a word I say a lot around this time of year) especially when it was getting dark. The never-ending uphill journey made my ankles plead for mercy and the Nikes that I was wearing didn't seem to help my condition.

Entering the warm hallway gave me a sense of relief and I quickly ran up the stairs to give my younger brother his bag of chips that I had brought for him. 'Look after your brother, never forget your family, they are the ones that matter' was what she said to me that night as she lay there in the hospital bed all her hair gone now. For one thing, I had never forgotten but did everyone else?

I hadn't been out with any of my family for three months now. The only one that does take us anywhere, regularly, is my Aunt Cherish. She was the one I went to when I needed a motherly figure. I guess she was so much fun because she never had any children of her own. Every Saturday, when I was younger, I remember longing for Aunt Cherish to come and get us.

She always planned the most exciting days. Mornings at the Flatts Aquarium Museum & Zoo, afternoons at the beach and ferry rides to Dockyard to visit Dolphin Quest and play in the games room at Frog & Onion. Now that I am 14, we just talk about life, usually remembering mom, while my brother plays on the playground.

That cold winter night I kissed my brother good night, I longed for something better than this. Something joyful, something peaceful, something permanent. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and Aunt Cherish said that she would take us out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I guess it's something to look forward to.

My alarm went off at 5:30pm and guess what was playing. Santa Baby. This time it was much more tolerable because it was a slower version than the one in the Phoenix store, but it still was not the original. How many times can you possibly sing the same song in so many different ways!

As I blew out my candles and we all ate birthday cake at La Trattoria I wished more than ever that my mom had been able to see how I had grown to look just like her.

The next day, as we all sat at Grandma Faith's house, Aunt Cherish stood up to make a toast after everyone sang happy birthday to me, with tears in her eyes. “We would all like to let you know Hope, and Daniel, that your mother would have been very proud of you two, she loves you and continue to do what you are doing.” Everyone clapped as I held back the tears.

“Before we eat I would like to ask Hope and Daniel a question”, unaware we both walked up to the front embarrassed. Aunt Cherish turned to us and said: “I would like to know if you would like to come and live with me in my house from now on?”

Daniel smiled and said: “Forever!”

“Yes, forever,” screamed Aunt Cherish.

We all hugged and cried joyous tears as I thought to myself wow I guess things can change as the original Santa Baby song played silently on the radio.

Che-lei Trott

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Published December 23, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 23, 2010 at 9:53 am)

Santa Baby

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