by Jessica Polanco ’20
It was 4:30 in the evening and Lorrinda was relieved to go home. It was her first day at work, and she was exhausted. Despite the traffic, she got home just in time to make dinner for her family. Once she entered her home, she headed straight to the kitchen and connected her phone to the aux to play her favorite Christmas song, “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. She pulled out the pots from under the stove and began prepping some salmon and peeling potatoes. She sang and sang while she cooked so that she forgot about how long and exhausting her first day at work was.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang, and Lorrinda made her way to the front door. Eli and Sophia were pulled into their home by the aroma of the food cooking. They threw their book-packs and jackets to the side and ran into the kitchen. “MOM!!! You’re cooking our favorite dish! YAY!” Their smiles spread from cheek to cheek, and the innocence in their eyes illuminated a warmth in Lorrinda’s heart. “Yes babies,” and gave them both kisses on their foreheads, “how was school?”
“Good mom, today we wrote our letters to Santa. I told him that I want the new Lego collection, and the Heelys in all black. I even promised him that I will make him cookies and milk if he comes mom!” yelled Eli.
“Yeah Mom, it was so fun. I told Santa I wanted a mermaid tale blanket in purple and the Bratz doll collection. I even prayed in my head before I signed it. I’ve been good all year so I think Santa will come Mami!” screamed Sophia.
Lorrinda laughed while she began plating the mashed potatoes. “Oh, I don’t know babies, we’ll see if Santa comes and pays us a visit this Christmas. We can definitely make him some cookies for his visit.”
“I hope so Mami, you say he will come every year but he never does!” pouted Eli.
“I think this Christmas will be a good one, don’t worry.” She said smiling, knowing that this year would be the first year she would be able to make it special for her twins.
During dinner, Joey came in. He was dressed in his construction clothes. Eli and Sophia screamed, “DAD!!!!” He tried to smile back at his family but the exhaustion was married to his facial expression. Lorrinda kissed him and mentioned that his food was in the microwave. “Thank you, my love. I’ma go shower and then come back down to join you guys.”
The Polar Express was playing on the TV once Joey came back downstairs. He grabbed his dinner and joined his family on the blanket laid on the floor. The children began to drowse off and minutes later the snores began to take control of the room. Joey finished his plate and returned to the living room floor. He tucked himself in after checking if Eli and Sophia were good, and smiled proudly. Lorrinda made sure all the Christmas lights were on. As she clicked the Christmas tree lights on, she grinned at the fact that she was finally living the holiday the same way her friends would boast about during this time of the year. She strolled to where the her family laid sound asleep. Lorrinda cuddled behind Sophia and closed her eyes and prayed to her Savior before she fell asleep.
Suddenly, a warm breeze ran through the living room and Sophia woke up crying. Her cries were accompanied by the fire alarm screaming. Joey’s eyes burst open like a dropped eggshell. He jumped up, carried Eli from the floor and yelled “WAKE UP! WAKE UP! WE HAVE TO GET OUT NOW!” The fire trucks sirens were getting more and more intimate. Lorrinda finally woke up from her deep sleep, she began crying and whispered,“Why is this happening to us?” She knew she would not get an answer and picked up Sophia from the floor and ran outside. Taking a glance at everything they worked so hard to finally have, her looks kissed them warm goodbyes. Every item she glanced at formed a deeper pond of tears in her vision. It made it harder for her to see and the smoke in the house did not make it any better.
The Calderon’s finally made it outside. They stood shivering above the snow, witnessing their house get watered down, noticing everything had gone with the fire. Eli and Sophia sobbed, the innocence of their eyes left without any warning or remorse. A firefighter approached the family with a long face. “I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Calderon, everything in the house is gone. You and your family are welcome to go to the Crossroads Family Shelter nearby. If you need any transportation, we will be glad to drive you.”
“Thank you,” Joey said, barely. The firefighter continued, “The only thing that survived was the starlight topper from the Christmas tree.”