Jenna was not happy. She was not happy because two girls who she had thought liked her had not given her a Christmas card even though they had spare ones on their desks and she walked past there three times.
Jenna was not happy because Wahkeem had been mean about her name. Which wasn’t even fair because he was the one with the silly name. Having “Wahkeem Marine” as a name was a sign that your parents didn’t really like you that much – Jenna was pretty sure of that. If they had even bothered to consult a dictionary and spell it Joaquin like everyone else it might have seemed less like they were joking. So when he had run down the corridor in break shouting out “Jenna Jenna smells like henna” she had become mad. When all she had been able to come back with was “Well at least my name’s spelt right”. She had suddenly become decidedly not happy.
But most of all she was not happy because of something she had heard in the toilets. She had heard two older girls talking. One of them had been really excited about what Santa might bring her for Christmas. And the other girl had corrected her saying “you mean your parents.” After a few seconds of explanation it had all been explained. The older girl thought Santa didn’t exist. But the thing that was making Jenna not happy was that she was starting to believe it too.
The way Jenna saw it the alternative explanation seemed to make a lot more sense. Which, she wondered, was more likely? That an overweight man visited every child on exactly one night? Or that parents really gave the presents? Jenna knew what Uncle Occam would say.
Finally while thinking about all of this and looking thoroughly not happy all the while her mother looked in the rear view mirror to check on her.
“Are you alright back there? You don’t look very happy about something.”
“No. I’m not happy. I’m not happy about three things.”
Jenna was just about to go on and explain what the three things were but just then her mother started slowing down the car. So instead she said “Why are we slowing down?”
“Well there’s a car just by the side of the road there which looks broken down. There’s no toher traffic around so I thought I’d better stop and check.”
“Oh,” said Jenna, “right.”
Once the car was parked Jenna’s mum got out and went to talk to the driver. Jenna couldn’t see if it was anyone she knew because they were standing around the front of the car and the bonnet was up so that they could look at the engine.
She couldn’t see if it was someone she knew. But she could hear if it was someone she knew. And just as she thought of that she heard the deep rumbling voice of a large man. But the voice had something else, something light and twinkling on top just so the rumbling wouldn’t be so scary. Jenna only knew one person with a voice like that. But she didn’t want to jump to any conclusions so she hopped out of the car and went to investigate. She slowly and carefully walked to the front of the car and when she got there she slowly and carefully peered around the corner.
Black boots. He had black boots! But so do lots of people Jenna thought.
Red trousers. But lots of people wear red trousers at Christmas time.
A big silver buckle. Jenna decided with that that this looking slowly business wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. She looked up and she saw Father Christmas.
“Santa!” she yelled.
Santa saw her and gave her a hug.
The rest of the conversation passed in a dream. And suddenly Jenna and her mother were back in their car driving home. But this time when Jenna’s mum looked in the rear view mirror she could see Jenna had on the biggest grin of them all – the one she kept for very special occasions.
“It was a funny thing running into Santa like that wasn’t it.”
Jenna could only nod.
“He told me he was just off to the Mall.”
“He was probably,” Jenna said, “doing his Christmas shopping.”
“Yes,” said Jenna’s mum, “he probably was.”
Jenna thought to herself that this year Santa might need an extra mince pie. Even if she had only doubted him for a second, he might need one extra mince pie per second of doubt she thought. Although it wasn’t total doubt so maybe she’d try and get low fat mince pies.