Such a Good Girl by Darrelyn Saloom
December 15, 2014 § 27 Comments
Like reindeer at feeding time, Brevity’s Holiday Smile contest memories just keep coming:
There is a sliver of time in childhood when you believe everything you’re told. It might start with bedtime fairytales. Then it grows to a rosy-cheeked big guy with white hair and beard, dressed in a red suit. He flies in a reindeer-drawn sleigh and delivers presents to good children all over the world.
Yuletides cycle and you spend too much time watching The Twilight Zone. Doubt creeps into your psyche. You begin to grasp figurative language, so when your mother calls your pal Julie McComas a bad apple, you know she doesn’t mean the fruit. No one sits on real pins and needles. But no rifts corrupt your faith in the jolly man.
Until a caller arrives dressed as Saint Nick. You glimpse the edge of a pillow stuffed under his coat. Are those strings holding his beard in place? You notice hazel eyes and a broad smile that resemble your father’s. Arms crossed, you shoot “Santa” a Rod Serling stare and question, “Where’s your sleigh?” But he convinces you it’s being repaired.
Reinvigorated about the holiday, you dash off to school. At recess you tell a girl about your visitor, but she teases No such thing! Then a tight-fisted boy says, “Only babies believe in Santa Claus.” Your face grows hot and you run to the swings. Up high, you wise up.
And bus home to sob to your mother about misguided kids at school. You know she would never make up a story about Father Christmas. Who, by the way, is bringing you a two-wheel bike, spitfire red with a bell. You know this for a fact because Julie McComas got one last year, even after she threatened to kill her brother. And you’ve been such a good girl. How could he not?
Darrelyn Saloom is co-author of My Call to the Ring: A Memoir of a Girl Who Yearns to Box (Glasnevin 2012) with Deirdre Gogarty, Ireland’s first female boxing champion. Darrelyn lives with her husband (and various critters) on a horse farm in south Louisiana, where she is working on a collection of memoir essays and stories.
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