Become a Fan
Santa Skipped Town
By Krissy Brady
Thursday, April 03, 2003
“Nuh uh,” said Krystal in her argumentative tone that meant she wasn’t going to back down. “There is no such thing!”
“Yeah there is!” I retorted, not able to think of anything else to say. I soon came up with, “The TV even shows where he is stopping next!”
“How to you ‘splain how he stops at every person’s house to leave presents? I would take more than a night.”
I stuck my tongue out at her. “There is such thing,” I mumbled as Krystal and I continued playing in the sandbox. We were in Krystal’s backyard; her dad built her a sandbox for her sixth birthday, which was in May. “April flowers bring May showers,” Krystal and I would always say, laughing at each other. We always said it backwards, often purposely. It was especially funny to us when kids at school would try to correct us, but we would keep saying it wrong to annoy them.
While in the sandbox we would take rocks, pretending they were seeds and “plant” them. We would pretend that we were world famous gardeners, and every spring people would come and interview us about what flowers we would be planting next.
“I think we should plant tulips next,” I said, completely abandoning our previous discussion. I got up and began to search for more stones.
“We planted tulips yesterday, remember?” said Krystal as she got up and dusted the sand off her light blue shorts, her scraggly brown hair covering her face as she looked up again. She brushed it away with her small hands, soon placing them on her hips.
“Remember?” she repeated. I was half-waiting for her to shake her finger at me. I did nothing but shrug as I turned and continued to look for more stones. I found the most perfect stone; it was smooth, almost as if it has been finely crafted; it was dark blue and sparkled under the sunny sky. It reminded me of ocean water. I smiled, and as I smiled I crunched down on my wiggly tooth.
“Ow!” I cried, slapping my hand to my cheek.
“What is it?” Krystal asked, her voice jittering as she ran towards me.
“My tooth is loose,” I said, “see?” I opened my mouth wide and wiggled it for her.
Krystal sighed, and placed her hand on my shoulder. I quickly shook it off, because I knew she was going to say exactly what I didn’t want to hear.
I sat at our rickety kitchen table while Mom made me a grilled cheese sandwich. I took a drink out of the cup she had given me, and made a sour face.
“What is this?” I asked, pushing the purple plastic cup across the table.
Mom turned around after she flipped the sandwich in the pan. “It’s apple juice. You love apple juice.”
“No I don’t,” I mumbled. My feet dangled off the chair; I began to kick them back and forth.
“How’s your tooth?” asked Mom as she searched for a plate in our oak cupboards.
I shrugged. “Fine.”
“Do you want Dad to pull it out when he gets home?”
I cringed. “No. It may’s well stay in my mouth.”
Mom placed the sandwich in front of me. I chewed carefully as she sat down across from me, the chair letting out a loud creak in the process.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. “Did you get into a fight with Krystal?”
“Is there such thing as the tooth fairy?”
Mom shuffled in her seat. “Of course there is.” I did nothing but continue to eat my sandwich. There was no further explanation to give, for I didn’t know what questions to ask.
I began to dig more holes in Krystal’s sandbox. The sand tickled as it went underneath my nails. Krystal was standing over me, her shadow cloaking the upper half of my kneeling body.
“What are you doin’?” she asked.
“I planted there already.”
I continued to dig my hole, not paying attention to Krystal.
“Hey!” she lightly kicked my side, which made me lose my balance and land on my shoulder.
“What was that for?” I asked, standing and dusting myself off.
“I planted there already,” she repeated sternly, pointing to the area. “Do you never listen?”
“It’s our garden,” I replied. “It’s not just yours. Not everything has to go your way.”
“It’s my sandbox,” Krystal argued. “I can do whatever I want with it!”
“Fine,” I mumbled.
“What didju say?” Krystal said emphatically.
I rolled my eyes, and as I began to kneel in another area of the sandbox, Krystal picked up a rock and threw it at me. It hit me on my cheekbone, underneath my right eye.
“Ow!” I cried, jerking my head to the side. Tears began to stream down my face, as the attacked portion went numb.
“It’s my sandbox!” Krystal yelled. “I can do whatever I want with it! Don’t act like I’m stupid!”
“I wasn’t!” I cried. “I moved, didn’I?”
“I’m not stupid!” Krystal screamed. “I’m not stupid!” She began to pick up another rock, and I ran home; my legs pumped until they throbbed, but I didn’t stop. Not once did I look back at my friend, or at our garden. I began to worry that we wouldn’t get to finish planting our spring flowers before the interview. Summer was coming, and there wouldn’t be anything to show for our hard work.
My tooth fell out the next day, and I decided not to tell my parents. If the tooth fairy did exist, I wouldn’t have to tell them about my tooth. The tooth fairy would automatically come and place money under my pillow in exchange for my tooth. Three days passed, and each morning I awoke with the crumpled Kleenex still underneath my pillow.
“I lost my tooth!” I said, running into the livingroom, my socks becoming lost in the plush grey carpeting. I handed Dad the Kleenex.
He smiled. “You’d better put it under your pillow right away,” he said slowly. “We don’t want the tooth fairy to miss our house on her rounds.”
“How’s your cheek?” asked Mom. “Do you want to put more ice on it?”
I faked a smile, and shook my head no. I ran back to my room and plopped down on my bed, my investigation soon to be over.
I decided to go to Krystal’s house and apologize. If we were going to be ready for our annual interview, we would have to spend the entire weekend planting, and I wanted to get started as soon as possible. I picked up more seeds on the way to Krystal’s, partly for planting, partly for self-defence.
I slowly walked up the stairs of Krystal’s back stoop, my heart pounding. I kneeled, placing the seeds on the stoop carefully, so that none would skip away. I heard arguing, and I heard glass break, which made me stand up suddenly.
“Did I tell you you could go out today? Pay attention when I’m talking to you!” a man’s voice screamed.
“I’m a grown woman!” a woman’s voice said between sobs. “I’m not a child; you can’t tell me what to do!”
I balanced on my toes to try and see through the glass panel in the door. It was Krystal’s parents. Her mom was in the kitchen, her dad making his way past the kitchen table.
He grabbed her mom’s arm, which made Krystal’s mother begin to shake. “I can, and I will,” he said between clenched teeth. “I’m not having my wife and daughter strolling along the streets, thinking they can do anything they want!”
“Leave Krystal out of this,” her mom replied as steadily as she could. “I wasn’t about to leave my daughter home alone.”
“You mean our daughter.”
My eyes widened as I watched Krystal’s dad slam her mom into the fridge, her back jamming into the handle. I almost began to choke from the shock of what I was witnessing. I began to lose my balance, and as I did I kicked the rocks, which ricocheted off the railing.
“What was that?” I heard Krystal’s dad yell. I ran and hid by the side of the house as he stomped to the door, and whisked it open. My heart was beating so fast it felt like it wasn’t beating anymore. As I heard the creak of the door shutting, I quietly walked through Krystal’s backyard, as if hypnotized, trampling over the sandbox in the process. When I got home, I hid underneath my bed covers, wondering if Krystal was doing the same thing.
That night, I pretended to be sleeping as Mom entered my room with her light steps. I heard her shut my blinds, and felt her brush the hair away from my face. Her hand crept under my pillow and soon slithered out again, taking me with her. I opened my eyes as she quietly walked out of my room, the door creaking slightly behind her. I looked around, not knowing whether to feel defiant or adult. I clutched my stuffed bear. It was all I had left, but I was thankful to have kept it for that much longer.