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Don’t judge a book by its cover. Peter is that kind of book. His nose is cold, turning red as his face stays pressed against the snow-bitten window to the McLaughlin cottage in Ireland. As he looks out the window barley noticing the pale white haze his mouth leaves on the glass, an overwhelming sense of jealousy strikes him. Peter longs to be outside with the other little Irish boys playing in the snow. Peter knows what is holding him back; it has been the same thing his whole life he is crippled. Its gotten to the point where he doesn’t deny it anymore. “It is how it is,” his father would say. Peter slowly tears his moist face from the wooden window and realizes this time, his face isn’t wet because of tears. This was the first time he hadn’t cried when he thought of his unfortunate circumstances.
Peter pocked up his crutch from the wall and mumbled under his breath to himself how unfair it was that he was born with such horrible limbs. He stands still and lets the emptiness of the house engulf him. Suddenly he hears footsteps coming up towards the house, and he forces himself to not look straight into the joy-filled eyes of his brothers, Joseph and Karl. The “lucky two,” he says in his mind.
“Peter! There’s only three more days ‘til Christmas! Karl and I were wondering what you would like. Do you have any ideas?” said Joseph as he slowly slipped off his snow boots. Peter stood silently and shrugged off the idea that he would never be able to take off his snow boots that easily.
“Nothing really. I’m rather simple. Nothing you could do would help me anyway. Santa is just a silly pigment of your imagination, Karl and Joseph,” sighed Peter; but in the back of his mind, he re-thought what he has been praying for his whole life, to be able to walk without his crutches. To be free was what he really wanted. Karl and Joseph exchanged glances and silently retreated to their rooms to try to get warm.
All that night, Peter tossed and turned in bed. His dream of fear and dread that he would always be crippled swirled in the pool of sleep in his mind. He woke up in a start and shot up from his bed. Still haunted by the nightmare, he sat straight up in his bed. Peter turned on the candle in his room because he soon noticed that the cottage was pitch black. The young blonde boy slid out of bed and hopped on his crutches as he cursed that the house always had something wrong. Strangely, then Peter felt a marvelous feeling that he hasn’t felt in the ten short years of his life, happiness. He let a small sly smile creep ip upon his face without noticing at first and then let his usual frown settle back on his face. That’s when he heard the voices.
Peter let out a small shriek as he hobbled down toward the voices that were speaking across the kitchen table that was strangely illuminated with a single candle. He stuck his head around the corner and noticed that two shadows of a man and a woman were moving along the wall. Peter lost his breath for a moment and swallowed up the pride to try to find out who the strange couple was.
“Ah Peter…have a seat,” commanded the sweet man sitting at the far right side of the table.
Without hesitation, he sat down in the lumpy wooden chair at the table. He looked to his right, and the same man that had commanded him to sit down, and he felt an overwhelming sense of love and understanding radiating from his wide smile and his white beard. To his left, he saw a white-haired woman with a caring smile on her face.
“Now Peter,” gently soothed the old woman, “we are here to grant you your Christmas wish, but you need to understand the true meaning of Christmas. You need to enjoy life to the fullest.”
Peter thought to himself, oh great another lecture, but as soon as that thought went through his mind the man and the woman gave him an annoyed look as if to say, that’s exactly what we mean. Peter sighed and let out an exhausted, “just please let me be normal”.
The man grabbed a hold of Peter’s shoulder and said. “You do realize who I am, right?” Peter let his white beard, red and white shirt and his “ho, ho, ho” sort of laughing sink in until he realized. “Santa,” he let out a long sigh and smiled once more. This was the first time in his very short life that he felt good about himself.
“Yes, my son, I am Saint Nicholas, and I want you to be able to walk, to maintain the full potential you most definitely will have in life.” Peter has never heard someone say something that nice to him and immediately grabbed the strange man’s hand and felt a strange feeling of being whisked away. A million years could have gone by, and he wouldn’t have minded. As long as his hand stayed link with the saint’s, it would all be okay, and he believed it too.
The next thing he knew, he was in a field surrounded by millions of other boys and girls just like him. Some with crutches, others just laying there. He felt like he belonged once again, and he let it all sink in. He was born special for a reason; he had purpose for being the way he is. Peter let out a long deep breath and grabbed onto the jolly man’s hand. He was soon in a school courtyard with fifty other kids that had no disabilities all around him. He felt repeated in a sense, not original. He looked down at his own limbs and noticed he was no longer crippled! Strangely though, it did not make him feel any better, so he grabbed Santa’s hand again and was sitting back at the kitchen table. This time the jolly man was gone, and only the woman (presumably Mrs. Clause) sat to his left looking at him.
“You have a choice, to be or not to be. Sadly, you must answer now for you have been asleep for the past two days, and it is now Christmas Eve night and your family is fretting. So, would you like to remain the way you are or be like everyone else?” said Mrs. Clause.
“I am who I am no matter in what way, shape, or form, and I am happy of that now that I see clearly. Let me stay as I was born and go back to my family,” proclaimed Peter in a proud voice. When Peter woke up that morning, he felt as though he had something to look forward to and set an early New Years’ Resolution to be thankful for what you are; do not wish for what you are not.