This is a Christmas story. And if you tell me that Christmas was a long time back, I would tell you that writing a Christmas story at Christmas would be tacky to say the least. And when did I pretend that these stories had a point anyway?
He had many names- Father Christmas, Saint Niklaus or Santa Claus in its corrupted version. And he was essentially a collector, a collector of stories. There were millions of stories floating around and what he did was to cut and slice and transfer them around. In that way he was some sort of a creator.
And there was Blinky, the elf whose job it was to keep track of good stories and give Santa the heads up. Cause obviously Santa was the public figure, the relationship man, or so Blinky believed. The real work was done by her.
So Santa was strategizing with January over a strong cup of sweet tea and buns. "Good buns Blinky", said Santa while January sniffed. She was a cold hard woman with a permanent hangover post the festive season. “So anyway", she went on. There is war going on everywhere. The world is in a state of strife. Figure you could get your dose of raw emotions.”
Santa looked troubled. But it was his job. To absorb excessive emotion, to absorb stories of war and strife and heartbreak, so that at Christmas some part could be transferred to those who deserved, or were destined. Christmas… when he would try to restore some sense of balance to the world...
...Blinky brought little heart shaped cookies for February who took her assigned role so seriously that she was almost a cliche. There she sat pink and trinketed, with her tinkling laugh, this last was a new development Blinky privately observed. "Oh darling I have the sweetest love story ever !"…..
It was a dull sultry night and Blink was working late sifting through the bottles. And there he was. She saw the bottle marked April and it came back to her. April was almost as dry as the arrowroot biscuits he ate and had told the story of a deserving young guy and his love for this girl. But she had not shown any signs of reciprocating and on the contrary took pleasure in giving him pain.
Blink had rolled her eyes at that story and stifled a yawn. She thought the guy was a loser in his own right for letting himself be treated that way. But Santa, the incurable romantic had gone to take a look ostensibly claiming that his stock of longing and heartbreak had run out.
And as she sat looking at the story, a strange mix of emotions surged through her, heady almost euphoric. She had never felt anything like that before. At first she thought she had accidently split some essence and spent a while checking for leaks. But there was no denying. Blinky had irrationally, irrevocably fallen for him.
And there was nothing she could do about it. The ancient treaty and all that jazz. She was surprised at herself. For she was an elf who prided herself on being level headed and mature. She was not like the other female elves whose dearest ambition was to serve the Elf Queen and dance around toadstools with prospects. She went out and got an “education”. And here she was. Drawn towards a human of all things.
She tried to divert herself. May came and paid a visit. Blinky loved May. They sat by the sea on the rocks and just listened to the sound of the waves. Not a soul for miles. She had enough contentment to last for a life time. She stole the essence and drowned herself in it. But to no avail.
Wisdom came with July. Wisdom and erudition. Listening to great men speak. Bringing back essences of motivation and action and focus.
She knew it was of no use. She knew she had to do it. She would mix him a story for Christmas. But this time she would play a part.
She thought of the day she had first gone out with Santa. She loved seeing him in action. "How do you know what to give them?” she had asked wonder struck, the first time.
“I just give them the essence, the thought, the idea. It takes the shape of whatever they want. That's true of most things in life", he had said.
“The emotions are there to influence the thinking”, he said and winked. “But there are some who do not feel the power of emotions”, he said suddenly sober “and they really get what they want..but such men are very few ”.
She tried to get a grip on herself and sprinked a few drops of patience to help her. “I must be as immune as those few men”, she thought wryly.
October came with her knack of firsts. The first ten seconds when you realize you are in love, the strength of that emotion had taken everyone by surprise last year, this year, she made them experience the dawn of a new day, when reality hasn’t fully sunk in and the air was full of promise and hope.
And the hope was her undoing. She sprinkled the scent of a ballerina’s dance, a heady mix of seduction, exhilaration and ecstasy and went before him….
Santa was furious. “You know what you have breached”, he said, strangely quiet. “Well so you must go”.
She walked up to him that Christmas eve..and he was there waiting for her..with a smile on his face..but she was there too and the instant she looked at him looking at her, she knew that he would never love her. And she surprised herself by wishing for his happiness and giving him the essence, the essence which would take the shape of what he most loved and desired….
But the magic would not work however much she tried…and eventually she gave up and walked away..
December was watching the scene with Santa. “You should have let her have this last wish”, he said quietly. “ It was not in my power”, said Santa. “ What she felt there was love, and love made her human. Elf magic would not work for her”
“So love actually pushed her to a lower level of existence? Pity I liked her biscuits..”drawled December sarcastically.
And Santa looked at all the emotions he had collected over the years, willing himself to feel a part of what the men in the stories felt, willing himself to feel love..”
“Actually, it is higher”, he said softly..