Guest Story-Maybe there is a Father Christmas!
Anna stood wistfully staring at the sky whilst dear little Molly, just three years old, looked up at the pretty doll with beautiful long blonde tresses in the window of the toy shop on the edge of town. “Mummy” Molly said, “that’s the doll I would like Father Christmas to bring me”……… a tear rolled down Anna’s cheek…., seen only by the moonlight………… she knew that it would be impossible for her to buy poor little Molly anything this year. They were supposed to start a new life in Spain 18 months ago before her husband Tim was cruelly taken from them by a cowardly and callous hit and run driver. She fought back the tears as the memories came flooding back of those long hours waiting at his bedside, hoping upon hope that he would be returned to them…….. it was not to be. They had a small amount of savings which were quickly spent on necessary decorating and reforming a few parts of the house, plus funeral costs etc, and THEN, to cap it all, she received a tax demand from the “Hacienda”, the dreaded Spanish TAX MAN, for nearly 5000 Euros, stating that when they purchased their little cottage it was undervalued and that the real value was more than double what they paid……! IT WAS LIKE A LIGHTNING BOLT HAD HIT HER!
Many, many times Anna considered ending it all, she just could not cope with the pressure of these demands upon her, it was only the thought of dear, dear little Molly that stopped her. Since Tim’s demise, the local people had helped to support her through these difficult times and in particular, Juan, owner of the local Spar grocery store, who would quite often slip something special into her shopping bag after she had bought her provisions…. even though, he himself had been going through a difficult period of his own life with his mother slowly dying of cancer and him having to deal with this, running his business and finally handling the sale of her large house on the edge of the village.
Now, as Anna and Molly started their walk home after a long day cleaning at a villager’s house, it started to pour with rain….. “is it never going to end”, she said to Molly…. “Only three weeks to Christmas” and…… “It feels like the end of my world”, she muttered to herself. Now soaking wet, they did not have an umbrella, the last one blew inside out a month ago and Anna could not afford a new one, when Molly shouted excitedly, “Mummy, Mummy, what’s that in the road?” Anna looked down where Molly pointed and saw a package in the gutter which was running in water…… Anna stopped and picked it up….. it was a bundle about the size of a couple of shoe boxes wrapped up in brown paper and string….. and of course saturated. They got home and removed their wet clothes and dried themselves before Anna gave some attention to the parcel. She could now see in the kitchen light that the brown paper had disintegrated on the corner with the wet and showing through it seemed liked wads of bank notes…… Anna stood back in shock…… “What is this a present from heaven?” she asked herself. Then reality set in, Anna was a very moral person and would never dream of stealing even the slightest little thing, let alone bundles of money, even though, the thought of being able to solve all her problems in one foul
swoop crossed her mind many times. Maybe it’s the result of a robbery somewhere, she thought to herself. She went to bed with all these thoughts on her mind and had decided that first thing in the morning she would walk to the Police Station and hand it in. This she did on the way to work after dropping of Molly at the free nursery school, this was really a blessing, that the locals knowing her plight offered her this valuable facility. She got home after walking nearly 5 kilometeres….. and saw her poor little car outside the house which she could no longer use as she could not afford it and and with a heavy weary sigh went indoors, “Well at least the rain has stopped” she said to herself. Molly was there with the neighbour who so kindly brought Molly home from the nursery school. After cooking some well earned food for them both and putting Molly to bed. Anna settled down on the sofa to relax, and fell asleep…..Suddenly, she was awoken sharply by a loud knock on the door…… “who the devil can that be at 10 O’clock at night” she thought to herself as she gingerly opened the door. There to her surprise was Juan from the Spar store, he had just locked up his store and decided to pay Anna a visit. This was a first Anna, thought, “what on earth does Juan want here?” Juan said “May I come in?” “Of course” Anna said pulling her disarranged jumper back over her slim body. “Please take a seat…..Can I get you a drink of something……..What can I do for you?” Anna said a little bemused…. “Well, it is more what I can do for you” responded Juan. Now Anna was really confused…… “Well”, he said, “yesterday I was returning from the Abagados when I was involved in a bad car accident in the pouring rain. My car was turned over by another car but luckily my seat belt held me, although I did bang my head a little on something which left me a little concussed. I was rescued by the bombillos and taken to hospital for tests. But it wasn’t until I got home late last night that I realised that the package I had in my car was missing! I nearly had a fit…. a damp sweat came all over me……. I quickly telephoned the police, hoping, hoping, hoping…. and asked if a package had been handed in?” He went on to explain that he breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when he heard that the police had his package…… he later collected it from the police station and found that all was correct, nothing missing and was informed that Anna had handed it in to the Police. Knowing that the contents could be seen…. he went on to explain to Anna, confidentially of course, that the money was “black money”, which he had received in part payment for the sale of his mother’s house yesterday! He was just so pleased that Anna had found it and not some other person with lesser morals…… SO, as a way of saying a BIG thank you, he had decided to give Anna and Molly a present, which he had carefully wrapped up in Xmas paper and handed it to Anna with a big smile…. “I hope you like it” he said. WELL, after opening Juan’s present, the smile on Anna’s face lit up the whole room….. and said it all…………….. It was a thick wad of money…….!!!! In fact over 7000 Euros she counted later……. she immediately thought of all the Christmas presents she could now buy little Molly, including the big doll in the window!
Well, Juan left around 2 am the next morning feeling like he had been there perhaps just 30 Minutes or so…. time had gone so very quickly in Anna’s company. Anna had felt the same too……. She also knew that she had more than just a new friend…….
So, maybe, just maybe, there is a Father Christmas after all…….:-)
Author: Graham Peckham
I am Graham Peckham, 68 years old and never written anything before…..:-) I have written this little story after not being able to sleep one night…..