It was Christmas. There was no snow in the hot arid desert, but he knew back home there was tons. His Christmas care packages lay unopened by his bed. The soilder ay on his back, hands behind his head. He was remembering home again, like he did ever night. But tonight he was remembering something even more special. He pictured the dark backyard behind the busy house with all its lights on. People laughing and dancing. In the quiet backyard a fire burned brightly. He was sitting in front of it. On his knee was a small blonde girk missing her front teeth. She had little jade eyes and dirty blonde wavy hair under a bright blue cap. She wore a pink winter coat and purple mittens. Excitedly she was telling him a story about Santa. Her words where a bit garbled because of the missing teeth and she was grinning ear from ear. He was holding her on his knee and she swung her legs back and forth. He occasionally added a log to the fire and listened to her story. T was about an elf named Alex who was Santa’s main helper. He kissed the top of her head. She told him about Alex’s wild crazy adventure’s with Santa Claus and how he always made things right. He would notice tears occasionally running down her face. But he didn’t know why she was crying on Christmas eve. Finally her mother called for her. “Clara! Clara its time to go!”. She looked sad and weary with a bun of brown hair and sad brown eyes. He kissed Clara goodbye and she hugged him. A star twinkled in the sky. “Look its Alex!”Clara said grinning. Her mother tried to smile. “Max, can you give us a ride home?” the mother asked. He nodded and put out the fire. He drove them home but they stopped at a cemetery. The girl took a present and a candy cane and led them to a little grave. She set them down and kissed the gravestone. “Merry Christmas Alex!” she said softly walking back to the car. He examined the stone. Alexander Marcus Parker. “Was he a firend of the family?” he asked. “No.” the mother said quietly. “He was Clara’s twin brother. He died three years ago. She comes every year to give him his Christmas presents.” The woman trudged back to the car. He paused a moment and then followed. After he dropped htem off and drove back to the party he rekindled the fire. He thought about Clara’s fantastic tales of Alex. He made a promise. No more little girls where going to lose their borthers to a bomb. He woke up the next morning and enlisted. One year later, here he was. He had read little Clara’s letter a thousand times and committed it to memory. He knew evey year he’d look back and remember that night. Little Clara and her brother, the sadness in their mother’s eyes, that is what he was fighting for.