Michael was lying under the blanket and feeling very special: the Christmas was coming so soon! Of course, every average eight-year old boy is anticipating this holiday with ebullience. All that family preparations, cooking, decorating the house, talks with brothers and sisters about gifts from Santa, and usual argues about whether he really exists, - all this nice vanity brings a piece of miracle into the ordinary life. However, Michal knew that his Christmas was really special. It was his personal holiday that he was looking forward to right after the previous Christmas every year since he remembered himself. By the way, personal, meant also, that it was no need to share the gifts and the attention of the family with anybody, as he was the only adorable son and grandson.
Boys at school were excited about the anticipated presents: Andy was proud that his father finally would buy him a robot of which he has dreamed for so long. Michal just smiled condescendingly: he already had that kind of robot and even sometimes allowed Andy to play with it. But for Andy his own robot was a big deal: most of his toys were, as a rule, inherited from the elder brother. Moreover, it took much agility to save them from his younger twin sisters. Yeah, there are certain downsides of having many siblings. But you never feel lonely instead.
Michael liked to come to Andy’s place. “Where there are four kids, there will always be the place for the five”, used to say Ms Orinda, inviting him to have dinner with Andy and their family. She smiled at him warmly and called him “Honey” just like her own children. Mr. Orinda also showed nice neighborly attitude towards Michal. This big man worked hard on the factory and sometimes managed to have a day off during the weekdays. Michael felt very comfortable beside them, sometimes imagining himself the part of their family. Once he even told the other boys at the schoolyard, that Andy was his brother. The elder boys were laughing at him and calling him a lier. Michal merely resisted crying. At this moment Mr. Oridna stepped on the schoolyard (he came to take Andy home after the classes). One of the boys, the cheekiest of them, dared to ask Andy’s father, if it was really true that Michal was Andy’s brother. (When Michal remembered this moment, he always felt himself as if he was falling over the rollercoaster). Mr. Orinda stopped, looked at Andy and Michal, then at the boys who were teasing Michal and said with a calm smile: “Actually, not really. In fact, he’s Andy’s cousin. But they call themselves brothers. I don’t mind”. The offenders were frozen in surprise. And Mr. Orinda took both Andy and Michal with him and brought Michal to his home. They never discussed the issue; everything was clear without any words. Michal was so full of ineffable gratitude to Mr. Orinda and Andy, that he just could not express it verbally. He remembered that later that day he felt unexpectedly sad and did not want to tell his Mom about the incident. He even could not explain why, but thought it would probably hurt her. Maybe, because he could never imagine his own father doing something like that for him or his friend? Or maybe, because he guessed it was something wrong in his latent desire to be a part of the family other than their own, where there are a Farther and a Mother, and a lot of children? He could not find the answer, however, decided to conceal the whole story from Mom and Granny. Later he never discussed it even with Andy.
Andy was the only one among his friends, whom he have told his Greatest Secret. Before telling the Secret, Michal worried so much, whether Andy would understand it, or would just laugh at him. But Andy didn’t laugh. He became serious, and said, that he believes Michal, even tried to explain, why it could be possible. Though his arguments were a little bit strange, Michal was feeling a great relief: imagine how hard it was to keep an important and strange Secret that nobody in the world knew, even Mom. Oh, Andy was definitely the best friend ever!
Well, the Holiday was coming! Mom and Granny were cooking his favorite Christmas pie. The whole pie for himself alone! He thought, that Mom would have to make two pies if he had a brother or a sister, otherwise, he, Michael, would not have enough of his favorite yummy. No, it was much better to be the only child, he thought with content. Of course, it was a pleasure to play at Andy’s place, but frankly, he got tired of the noise very quickly. The twins were often fighting, Mr. and Ms. Orinda had to reconcile them and act like judges in court. Sometimes even Ms Orinda could not be patient enough about them. In this case, Mr. Orinda, as the head of the family, had the final word. No matter what the issue was, he always treated the kids fairly. Without much effort, he somehow managed to calm down not only the children, but also his wife.
Suddenly Michal recalled again the incident at school and imagined how his own father would do the same for Andy as Mr. Orinda did for him. He would definitely do! Michal started to dream of the story where his father would be the hero for his friend Andy. However, the dream was interrupted by an unpleasant thought: what a useless fantasy! Michael’s father never met him after school Michal’s worries hampered his sleep. “I want to talk to my Dad” – an idea had flashed. He set up in bed and called:
Mother softly entered the room:
Hush, Darling, I thought you were already sleeping!
Mom, whether Dad really loves me?
Sure, sonny, of course he does. Sleep, sleep It’s Christmas Eve, the Santa Clause is coming only when the kids are sleeping, - she said tenderly.
Is he always coming? Could it ever happen that by any chance he forgets to come to me?
No, sweetie, don’t worry, please. Everything will be OK. I’m sure, you will find the gifts downstairs in the morning.
Mom leaned to kiss him and left the room. Michal could not sleep for a while. He was thinking of his family. He thought, his Mom was good, but she worked a lot, worried about him all the time, and was always in a hurry. Granny was better; she listened to him and was eager to do what he had asked for. And Dad, Dad was great, no matter what. (Even Mom said nothing bad about him).
Michal was tossing and turning and thinking about his Great Secret. What if it was not true, despite of his faith and despite of all the Andy’s arguments? What if his guess was wrong? In fact, nobody told him that, he discovered it by himself. No, it should be true. He, Michal was special. Of course, not so many guys still believed in magic when they started going to school. To tell the truth, for Michal himself it became harder and harder to believe in his Secret year after year. But every year he had got the evidence of that. He, Michal, was special. If not, why then his family was different from all the neighbors on their street? All boys and girls lived with both Mom and Dad, and he, Michal, had only Mom and Granny. He slipped out of bed wearing the blanket as a magic cloak and tiptoed to the other corner of the room to open his little chest. He took the photo of his father, kissed it, and hugged to the heart. He decided to spend the whole night without closing his eyes even for a second. In such a way he would check his Secret. Mom said that Santa comes to kids only when they were asleep. If his Secret was true, it wouldn’t matter, whether he would sleep that night or not. He, Michal was special and he wanted to prove it.
Morning occurred all of a sudden. Michal found himself on the floor in the corner of his room, wrapped in the blanket. He was subtly displeased, as he again did not manage to keep himself awake for the whole night. But the disappointment changed with joy: it was Christmas! He strained the ears to merely catch the sound of voices in the corridor. He heard the lively talk of Mom and Granny, but could not distinguish the words. Then he heard that a soft velvety male timbre joined the women’s voices. Michal smiled happily: yes, it was true!
Everything was fine. Santa has come again for Christmas. His personal Santa. His father.