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Covert Christmas

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It started with a yawn. I had just woken up. Gazing at the bars above my bottom bunk. The lapping of my tongue against the roof of my mouth reminded me of the pumpkin pie I ate the night before. I love my grandma’s pie. When I woke up that morning I knew something under that tree would be waiting for me. My grandparents had been speaking about it for weeks now. I snuck out of my room that morning and listened in on a conversation between my aunt and grandmother. They spoke about how excited I’d be once I got this present. I ran back to my room just in time and flopped onto my bed in glee. I thought about that shadow under the sheet. I had been waiting three years for this morning. I hoped with all my heart that this was the day that I got what I wanted.

I told my grandma that I wanted a blue bike that could go “really, really fast.”
“Well Matthew, we’ll just have to see what Santa brings you this Christmas.”
This was definitely not what I wanted to hear. I had already known for a fact that Santa wasn’t real! I rolled my eyes. I wasn’t pleased, knowing that she thought I was so young as to believe that Santa was real!
“Grandma, will you please tell ‘Santa’ that I want a really, really fast blue bike?”
I quickly interrupted her before she could start her answer and explained with further reasoning, “I’ve been waiting for three years now!”
Although she never did give me much of a hint that I would receive a bike, I had a hunch that when I woke up Christmas morning, I would be riding out of the house on a brand new bike.
Christmas morning. Uncle Jason and his girlfriend, visiting from California, sitting on the couch kissing and giggling. Awfully “grown up” for their age. I was disgusted. Quite a sight for my grandparents to watch as their son smooches his gal pal. A great sight for me also, as I peered around the corner into the Den just after waking up. I noticed something new. A sheet draped over the large table supporting my grandparents’ ginormous TV set. Cautiously, I tiptoed past the entryway, desperate for my feet to contact the quiet carpet in the living room to cut down on the noise. With every lift of my feet, the distinct sound of my bare feet on cold morning tile. The relatives are keeping quiet while I “sleep.” I’m on a mission. I had to get to the living room so nobody would hear my footsteps. I had to reduce the risk of being caught. Once I was clear, I did an embarrassing excuse for a somersault onto the living room carpet. I could tell nobody had heard me though. They were still quiet with their cups of coffee steaming to the ceiling, all bundled up in their warm blankets. I stuck to the wall like a fridge magnet. I could see my Aunt Evelyn (whom I didn’t know was there) along with my uncle Eric standing together. They were blocking my view of the sheet draped over the table. It was really bugging me. I had come all this way just to be denied a glimpse under the sheet. The night before, I had it all planned out, and now the plan was falling apart. As I listened close, Eric starts his self-dismissal.
“Well, we had better head over to her folks house.” Gesturing to Evelyn. “They invited us over for ham and pineapple. You ready to head on over Evelyn?” he asked suggestively.
“You think Matthew will like it?” Evelyn asked my grandpa.
“Yeah! You kidding? He’ll bounce off the walls!”
Curious as ever, I grasped at my chin as if I had some sort of scruff to grab hold of. I felt like my mission was going somewhere now. I had already gotten some valuable intelligence. Judging by my Aunt’s persistence not to leave and ask about it, it absolutely had to be a good present. That Lady is bland.
My aunt and uncle were starting their awkward shuffled steps backward. This was my chance. I stared solely at the bottom of the sheet. Step by step my aunt and uncle moved back. I could see the reflection of the sunshine bouncing off of the glazed saltio tile. I shadow caught my eye. A crescent shape! The reflection of a potion of my bike’s tire! I had to focus! My aunt and uncle were trying to make their way out the door to escape my grandma’s constant jabbering. I had to high tail it out of there quick! Still hugging the wall, I felt like James Bond or someone of that sort. I rounded to my right, ready to make my sprint down the hall. Trying to stay light footed, I ran on my tiptoes. I practically hovered over the living room carpet. Taking my first two steps onto the hallway tile, my aunt and uncle were rounding the corner quick! With each stride, gliding over ten tiles at a time. Flying through the hall. Finally to my door. Last on the left. I swung my door open and closed it just as fast. All while turning the knob to keep the volume on mute. Perfect timing! Back in my room and nobody even so much as heard me! I hopped back in bed, interlocked my fingers behind my head, gazing at the glow in the dark sticker wrapped around one of the bars above my bunk in satisfaction. I hear something. Something other than the slowing pounds of my heart as it continues to race. Skiff, skiff, skiff, echoing through the hallway. Definitely the sound of my grandpa’s dry heels scraping the tile as he moves down the hall. I frantically adjusted the comforter over my body to make it look like I was sleeping. The footsteps halted at my door. Peeking out one eye from underneath my fluffy blanket, I watched as the reflection of my room distorted on the doorknob. I pressed my head into the pillow and turned over as he walked in. the total ten seconds he was in my room felt like eternity.
He whispered, “Matthew,” waited, and again, “Matthew.”
There was no response from me, only a small smirk smothered against my pillow. He stepped back out into the hall. As I listened to the bottom trim of my bedroom door brush against the carpet, and again my grandpa’s footsteps skuffing down the hall. I rolled back onto my back, shimmed myself to get comfortable again, and just smiled. I knew my really, really fast blue bike awaited me after I got a few more winks. I had a great Christmas morning in store.





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