Dear Santa, It’s Alfie

by Chantel Sandbach

Dear Santa,

It’s me, Alfie. At fifteen, I probably shouldn’t be writing to you. Or believing in you at all. Truth is, I spoiled it for Denny last year when he overheard me talking to a couple of kids at the bus stop. Since he was only nine, he still believed. Boy, he was upset! Mom had to go get him from school because the teacher said he cried and told her he “wasn’t buying what” she “was selling” when she told him to pick up his art supplies – said he knew the truth, and wasn’t going to be “jerked around, anymore.”

That’s why I am writing to you, sir. I want to show Denny that there still is something magical about Christmas. I want him to believe, a little longer. See, it’s been a rough go for awhile, even before I opened my big mouth at the bus stop last year. Mom and Dad decided that they couldn’t be married anymore because Mom needed to “get to know herself”…while Dad said he already knew her, and didn’t like her much, anyway.

So we actually have two houses now, and it’s not so bad – it means two Christmases and less fighting between the parental units, ya know? Heads-up though – only Dad’s condo has a fireplace, and I’m not sure if there’s an actual chimney attached. Mom’s place has baseboard heat, so not ideal at all, Christmas-wise, but I know you’ve got alternative plans.

I guess I am supposed to tell you what I want – about how good I’ve been or whatever. But considering the whole “he’s always watching” thing…you and I both know, I haven’t been the greatest this year. I’m sure you saw me pull Jeff’s chair out from behind him when he was singing the anthem, and when I forgot to do my homework and blamed the dog (as you know, Blackie’s been gone since I was ten). Also, there was the time I intercepted Brandon’s love note to Kelly and then I got to be the one to kiss her behind the jungle gym. There were all those times Mom asked me to take out the garbage and I never got around to it…and of course, I’m sure you watched me hide Dad’s cell phone every time he’d had a “few too many” and wanted to text my mom. I wasn’t sure whether his texts would be mad or sad, but either way, Santa, I did what I thought I had to. Sometimes parents need to be taken care of, too. It’s better now, though. Mom met a man who she goes to yoga with and who tries to feed us weird food without any meat in it, but he’s nice enough. Dad is doing okay too – he started going to the gym and quit drinking and started getting emails from e-Harmony.

Denny doesn’t like it much, though. He’s been trying to act tougher since the divorce. He got into a fight at school and quit doing his schoolwork for a month straight! He could have failed but Mom told them about the “situation” and they cut him some slack.

Anyways, I found him writing something a few minutes ago. I thought maybe he was drawing dirty pictures so I took it from him and held it above his head until he quit jumping for it, and looked to see whether he was drawing boobs or writing swear words, but it was neither. It was a letter – to YOU. He started squawking, said he wasn’t actually going to send it. That he knew you weren’t real and he wasn’t a little kid, anymore.

This is where I have to tell you, sir – my last transgression this year was a swear and a lie. “Are you shitting me, Denny?!” I said. I told him that last year at the bus stop had been me trying to look tough, and that I was worried that because of it, I wouldn’t be getting ANY gifts this year. I told him that I was in the process of writing a letter to plead my case.

Denny started looking hopeful. He asked me to pinky swear (the next thing to a blood oath, Santa, in case you aren’t familiar with the term). He smiled and said “I believe you, Alfie.” I let him take his letter back. I didn’t expect what he did next. He’s smart kid, though. He tore the letter up. He told me that since it was MY mistake that led to his disbelief in the first place, I owed him AND you an apology and therefore he expected that my letter would contain an explanation, contrition and HIS list. That any gifts I received would be shared with him. Sir, I don’t think I have to tell you that he had me by the short and curlies at that point.

I’m writing you this letter while Denny sits across from me, watching. He’s going to follow me out to the post office once I’m done. Probably put it in the box, himself. At least I was able to convince him that letters to Santa have to be private between the sender and the recipient, so he doesn’t know what this says.

So – Denny’s list is attached and I would respectfully inform you that he’s ALWAYS been a faithful believer and any appearance to the contrary is no fault of his own. It was all me, Santa. Whether I believe in you or not, is irrelevant.

I don’t know if this letter will go anywhere after we post it, but it is enough that it made my little brother smile again.

Sincerely,

Alfie

PS – No matter what the list says, Denny DOES NOT need a real crossbow – items 1 through 12 are probably fine, though.

PPS – In the unlikely case that you ARE real, I’m truly sorry for my lack of faith – and I could make good use of a new skateboard.

PPPS – Merry Christmas, sir!


Chantel Sandbach’s job is a prison, literally. She’s a parole officer in a federal penitentiary by day, out of necessity, and a writer by night (and day, and on weekends and holidays and anytime the inspiration strikes her), also out of necessity; the soul-fulfilling kind of necessity. She still doesn’t know what she really wants to write when she grows up, but has had her flash, fiction and creative non-fiction accepted for publication by The Flexible Persona, The Passed Note and The Same online literary journals. Follow her on Twitter @SandbachChantel

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