by Sarah Kirchner ’21
“Do you believe in Santa, Alexa?” I asked my sister under the sheets of our couch fort. We laid on the cushions eating Santa’s cookies and drinking his milk. Mom and Dad were up in bed already, and I convinced Alexa to stay with me until we saw Santa.
“Harry, that’s a ridiculous question.” My sister laughed and squeezed my hand.
“Why?” Sometimes, I didn’t understand Alexa. Teenagers were always weird. Alexa said so. She said all the guys were smelly and filled with hormones, except her boyfriend. I didn’t know what hormones were, but my parents talked about them a lot too. They said Alexa’s were crazy right now. I thought my sister was the exception, though. She seemed normal to me. Whenever I came home from school, she would play cards with me. She taught me all sorts of cool games, like Gin and Spit. They were more sophisticated than Go Fish and War. Alexa treated me like I was her age, not a little kid like my parents thought.
“Well, Harry, it’s a complicated answer.” She turned her head to look at me. “Do you believe in Santa?”
“Of course! I don’t see how else we’d get all those presents every Christmas. Mom and Dad aren’t that creative to find us gifts like Santa gets us.”
Alexa laughed, “That’s very true.”
“So, do you?” I pressed on. Alexa didn’t seem as into the magic of Christmas this year. When we were decorating the tree, she looked happy, but she kept looking at her phone. She was always calling or texting someone. My parents said it was because she was a teenager and sometimes they forget about having fun, but Alexa loved having fun. She picked out the Christmas tree with us when we had the first snowfall. She and I ran through the rows of trees playing hide and seek. I thought that was fun, but as soon as we got into the car she would pull out her phone.
“Of course, Harry,” Alexa sighed. Her phone buzzed next to her and she quickly sat up to read the text. Immediately, her smile turned around.
I sat up with her and touched her arm, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s Jake.” Her voice cracked, and I squeezed her arm harder. Jake was her boyfriend. She always talked about him and was texting him. I met him a few times. He seemed cool; he just didn’t like playing with me like Alexa did. He lived next door, so they were always spending time together.
“What about him?”
“He doesn’t understand Christmas like we do, buddy. I don’t think he believes in Santa.” She gave me a smile, trying to keep the mood light.
“He thinks it’s all stupid.”
“I don’t think it’s stupid. I think we’re lucky someone always wants to bring us toys once a year,” Alexa laughed at that. “And we get to eat lots of good food,” that made her laugh even more. I smiled at her, happy to see her like that. She deserved someone who believed in all the magic like she did. I knew she believed in the magic. Jake was taking that from her this year, and that wasn’t fair to my sister. “He’s probably on the naughty list. You shouldn’t be with someone on the naughty list. He seems stupid.”
Alexa let out a long breath. “I think you’re right, Harry.” A tear fell from her eye, but I quickly brushed it away with one of our blankets and handed her another cookie. “Thanks, buddy.”
“I think we need more cookies for Santa.”
“Let’s get on that then. We’ll quickly make some right now, before Santa comes.” Alexa jumped up and hit her hand on the cushion. I laughed and crawled up with her, “I love you, Harry.” She pulled me in for a strong hug.
“I love you too! But we gotta get going on those cookies if we’re going to make sure Santa gets some! It’s almost midnight!” I shoved away from the hug. “He could be here any minute!” Alexa kept laughing at me. “I’ll go check the Santa tracker on the computer so we know how much time we have.” I started out of the fort, but Alexa caught my arm and pulled me back in for another hug.
“Merry Christmas, Harry.”
“Merry Christmas, Alexa,” I shook my head at my sister. Teenagers were so weird.