The Holidays for me are…
Preparation, nice clothes, anticipation and waiting.
I loved the Holidays. People always got so happy, and they smiled more than they usually did! Even Miss Venable who could be quite strict loosened up during the Holidays. Although she never let go of her insistence on manners and being elo- eloqe- eloquent. She always said:
“People might be warmer in these jolly times, but that does not excuse a foul mouth. Yes, your chances get better during the Holidays, but no one wants a child who has a stinking mouth and turtleneck on backwards, right, Todderick?”
We always called Henry the stinker, I don’t think he’s ever seen a bath! We all knew why Henry wasn’t getting adopted. But I couldn’t believe how I hadn’t found my family yet. I always brushed my hair and teeth. I always put my clothes on the right way, even color coordinated them! And I always smiled to every parent that came by. They smiled back, but they never called back.
But today was different! I could feel it! I thought the same thing every year, but this year, my gut wasn’t lying! I hoped.
All the kids, me included ran around, showering, dressing, straightening out every curl a night’s sleep had produced. Today needed to be perfect, like every year. Miss Venable wouldn’t allow anything else.
We gathered in the foyer where the parents could meet us, and if they’d like, we took them on a tour around, showing them our home. Luckily, I had ended up in one of the better orphanages, when mommy and daddy died, they had a friend who worked here who ensured I got in. She was dead now too. I didn’t know how or why, but one night Miss Venable told me and she made me make her a promise. She had said, with tears in her eyes:
“Don’t ever let that poisonous alcohol consume you, Emily. Too many good people have been destroyed by it. Don’t let it destroy you too.”
I didn’t know what alcohol was, I only knew that it was something adults drank to either get mean or forget. Had a nasty smell, like the smell lurking around gas stations.
Some parents spoke to me, but none wanted a tour. Even Stinky Todderick coaxed someone to take the tour. Miss Venable gave me the occasional glance to straighten my back, as if that would help. It was stupid, no one would want to talk to me more because of my back, I could slouch it however much I wanted.
Hours passed, many of them spent twirling around the foyer, or sitting slumped in the armchair. At least, when Miss Venable wasn’t looking. No one wanted to talk to me. No one wanted me. Just like last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. I was about to turn seven, and I was still stuck here. I wanted a new mommy and daddy. I didn’t want to be stuck here anymore. I wanted to celebrate Christmas with a family, not a bunch of other kids. I wanted something for myself, not something I had to share with everyone. I wanted a Christmas I could remember, where no one were arguing or hurling glass bottles. I wanted…to feel special…and loved.
“Hello young lady.”
Suddenly, there was a lady in front of me. She looked pretty, had nice, blonde hair and a long , beautiful coat. Next to her was a boy who looked almost the same age as me.
“Hello,” I meekly replied.
“What’s your name? Mine’s Victoria, and this is Henry,” she smiled.
I see Miss Venable staring daggers at me.
“A pl-pleasure to meet you,” I add.
Miss Venable looked pleased.
“Oh, what a well-mannered girl you are! Would you like to show us around here?”
I knew it. I knew it! This year would be different!
I showed them around, telling them all about the many stories each place had. It looked like they were having fun, both Victoria and Henry. We spent an hour together before they had to leave. I waved goodbye, hoping that it wouldn’t be too long until I heard those magical words from Miss Venable:
“You’ve been adopted, Emily.”
So, I laid in bed, waiting, hoping, that when I woke up, I would have a new family. And I could celebrate Christmas like a Christmas should be celebrated. From that day on, I laid in bed with the hope. And I would continue to have that hope, even if it took until the next Holidays.
An encore, no, it’s the same melody, only a different rhythm.
A stage, a proud mother, a play, and joy.
One can paint with the same colors, as long as the brushstrokes are not repeated…