I have a pen pal. I know it sounds ridiculous in an era where Internet exists, but I have been writing letters to this ‘pal’ for as long as I can remember. Even though emails are faster, we agreed that the ugly scribbles gave our letters a special touch. So, we stuck to it as the black ink told stories of day-to-day life and the deepest secrets of our hearts. We were basically ordinary pen pals except… he wasn’t ordinary.
This year’s ‘pen pal-ing’ started off with me writing to him about my fear of failing my driving exam. A week after I poured the horror on a piece of paper, a package came in the mail with a book titled, ‘Driving For Dummies’. Together with it was a note telling me not to worry and encouraging me to believe in myself. Surprisingly, that little note did its job.
A few months after I passed my driving exam, I started working. That was when I stumbled upon a rather annoying colleague who made my life a nightmare. It was only normal to vent my frustration in my next letter, so I did, with my alphabets morphing into ghastly creatures that were feeding off my frustration. I have no idea how he managed to read them, but a week after I dropped my letter in the mailbox, a reply arrived with a gift voucher for an expensive restaurant. And to make my life easier, there was also a ripped classified page from a newspaper with jobs highlighted in green.
With time and his help, that issue soon passed and the year began to smoothen out. Unfortunately, before the last crease could be straightened, I bumped into another problem… literally. It was my first car accident and the world managed to push me into a corner. There, I wrote a letter of my confusion and anger and shortly after, I received a reply with a few hundred dollars. He offered to pay for the damage knowing I needed the help, and he warned me not to return him the money.
Of course, I thanked him profusely in my next letter for his help. I always thanked him whenever he did something for me, but I soon realized it wasn’t enough.
When Christmas began to roll around the corner, I asked him if he had a wish for Christmas. I told him I would give him anything, as long as it made him happy. The reply I got from him was both expected and unexpected.
You know I do not want a gift from you. I’m not the type of person who yearns for presents. But knowing you well enough, you would probably beg me for a request. So, I did some thinking and I found what I would like for Christmas. Since you promised to fulfil it, here it is: I want another year of being your pen pal. Don’t let me down!
Now, what do you want for Christmas?
The first time I read that letter, it made no sense. Obviously, I was still going to write to him next year. I may be away from home, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten where I truly belonged. It was a rather dull request, but after a few rereads, his words began to hold a new meaning.
All my dad wanted was another year of exchanging letters, where he could pick me up when I fall, send me gifts to put a smile on my face, and be my friend in a world where I’m on my own. He finds joy in being my light, refuge and strength, and all he wanted was to continue being just that. It was a wish so selfless that I struggled to see its true nature in a world that was completely the opposite. When my heart finally realized the love he has invested in me throughout the year, a tear fell from my eye.
Compared to him, I spent lesser time on my letters and filled them with complaints, worries, and requests. I wrote to him regularly but the dedication I had was nothing compared to his. When I understood his heart, I felt like I did not deserve it.
That night, I wrote a reply saying I would do as he requested. I told him it would be my honour to continue writing to him and that I appreciated everything he has done for me. As for my Christmas wish, I told him I wanted what he wanted, and that was another year where I can try to out love him even though I know I can’t.
I know today is supposed to be fan fiction day, but since Christmas was just yesterday I decided that a Christmas story would be more appropriate. To some, this is merely a simple story revolving around the theme of love, being Christmas IS about love… but to me it is more than that.
You may not be in the Christmas mood this year and this story might not be as exciting as the previous one, but I do hope you take something from it, whether it be a little tingling sensation or a small message. That is all I can hope for :)
Anyway, Merry (belated) Christmas and may 2014 be a great year for all of you!
© 2013 Jeyna Grace
(For more short stories, click HERE)