It was Christmas – full of tinsel, and baubles and fake-bearded Santas. It is, of course, also a time full of other, more grown up concerns but when your 5 years old the sparkle and the whispered wishes for presents is all that you notice. You dont notice the petty arguments about whose family you’ll be spending Christmas lunch with, nor do you notice the bank account rapidly emptying as those sought after presents are paid for and hidden away in the back of the wardrobe. You only see the happy, pretty, most-wonderful-time-of-the-year things.
However, even though your 5 years old, its hard not to see the panic in your fathers face, or to not recognise it your mothers voice. You cant understand why they’ve left you and your brother at Nanny’s, and they’ve sped off down the street with your other brother strapped tightly into the back seat of the car. Its worse when they dont come back by dinner, and Nanny gets off the phone to tell you “ You’re a lucky duck – you get to have a sleep over! “ It upsets you, partly because Mummy and Daddy and Eli havent come back yet, but also – how is Santa going to find you if you arent in your own bed? Where will he leave the presents? For you, and 4 year old Josh, and for Eli? You arent to know that Eli wont be getting any presents this year, nor any other year after that, and that Christmas, though it will always be full of tinsel and baubles and fake-bearded Santas, will now always be tinged with sadness.
You dont know all that when your 5 years old – ignorance, as its said, is such bliss. But naive as 5 year olds are, its hard to be ignorant when your parents come home without your baby brother, and the only thing in abundance that Christmas is hot, silent, tears....
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