My Christmas story, “Ester’s Letter to Santa,” published in the Guyana Journal in December 2008, was inspired by the foreclosures assaulting house-owners everywhere across the USA, following our financial crisis. The story is set in Queens, New York City.
ESTER’S LETTER TO SANTA
By Rosaliene Bacchus
MARCOS OLIVEIRA read Ester’s letter to Santa for the third time. He was crazy to have agreed to be Santa this Christmas. His hot morning coffee burned his tongue. His eyes moved along the curves of his wife’s fat-free body and settled on her tight bum. At the kitchen counter, Julie Oliveira prepared lunch packs for their two kids.
“Kids don’t ask Santa for toys anymore?” said Marcos. “This kinda thing happens because we fill kids’ heads with too many super-heroes stories and fairy tales.”
Julie turned to face her husband. “Santa Claus is not a fairy tale. He exists. I know he does. If you just believe, you’ll find out.”
If you just believe. It was easy for Julie to think that way. For her, Christmas was a time of family reunions, stockings near the fireplace, carol singing, gift-giving, and the like. He had longed stopped believing in Santa. His Brazilian father had flitted from woman to woman like a bumble bee. When one of them snared him, his father followed her to Florida. He never looked back. Marcos was twelve. His Baptist mother from Jackson, Michigan, never accepted losing him. He lost his mother and father with one blow. Christmas became just another day.
“Don’t forget you’re meeting with Ester’s father today!” Julie called out. Marcos was about to leave home for the office.
“This is a crazy idea,” said Marcos. Julie gave him her don’t-defy-me look. “Don’t look at me like that. I’ll meet him. But I still think it’s crazy.”
THIRTEEN days to Christmas. Even the anticipation of a weekend ahead did not brighten the bleak Friday morning. Marcos drove along Queens Boulevard on his fourteen-minute daily commute from Richmond Hill to his office in Forest Hills. His brainchild, Krystal Web and Graphic Design Services LLC, needed a transfusion. The government was showering Wall Street fat cats with taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. Who cared that small businesses were bleeding to death?
At his office, Marcos soaked in the warmth of the well-lit, open-space of caramel tones. Try as he may, he could never beat Sherri Ramnarine to the office. She tapped her keyboard like she was there all night. Her enthusiasm and love for her work made it fun working with her. He remembered the days when his creative work consumed all of his too-few waking hours. Nowadays, his time slipped away in attending to clients.
“Not yet.” The 20-year-old Indian beauty fingered her long shiny black hair. “The proposal for the Vortex account is on your desk.”
“Thanks,” said Marcos. “I’m meeting them later today. Let’s hope they sign a contract.” Marcos knocked three times on Sherri’s desk.
“You’re funny. Knocking on wood won’t change anything.”
“It worked for my father.” Marcos visualized his father lying on a beach in Florida with his rich widow. He removed his laptop from his briefcase. Ester’s pink envelope peeped out of a pocket inside the case. On an impulse, he pulled it out and walked over to Sherri’s desk.
“Have a look at this.”
Sherri took the envelope. “Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska 99705.” She looked up at Marcos. “Where’d you get this?”
“One of Julie’s friends at the New York General Post Office. Letters to Santa go to their “Operation Santa Claus” Section. They give them to people who wanna help.”
Sherri read Ester’s letter to Santa.