The Kid

by: Denise (aka “Nancy Reagan”)

Day 2 of our 12 days of holiday stories illustrates what happens when one lucky lost soul has the opportunity to realize – as long as we got each other…we got the world spinning right in our hands (sharing the laughter and love)…..

He found me in a dumpster behind the pizza parlor. I was looking for something to eat when he jumped in and just landed on me.  I gave him a hard time but he seemed like a sweet kid. He said he was looking for a gift for his brother Mike. Must have run out of places to look I guess. His name was Ben. Anyways, he invited me over for dinner, and since the dumpster was slim on pickings and I was freezing cold I happily took him up on his offer. He kept going on about “sharing the joy of giving,” something his Dad taught him.

Well, when I got there they didn’t seem to happy to see me. I get that. I was draped in an old soiled blanket I found and I am sure I didn’t smell too good.

When they asked I told them my name was Nancy Reagan. I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell them the truth. I think they actually thought it was funny. The mom even made a joke about it, tried to at least. They set me up with some food and even offered me a warm shower. That’s when they found my blade.

I think the blade scared them. I should have hid it better, but I didn’t think the mom would go through my stuff. After that the father wanted to talk. He seemed like an ok guy but anytime an adult wants to talk to me it’s always bad news. He turned out to be a stupid shrink, just my luck. Of all the dumpsters in all the world a shrinks kid had to fall into mine!

He had a whole lot of questions. None I wanted to answer. To save him some time I told him straight up that nobody ever hit me, nobody touched me and that actually nobody ever gave a damn about me.

I figured he was gonna call the heat then. But he said he wouldn’t. He told me I was wrong about him. And if I was wrong about him….maybe, just maybe, I was wrong about my parents. He told me I should call them, just to tell them I was alive.

Then they dolled me up for dinner. They had the girl do it – Carol. I must admit it felt good. It has been a long time since I felt pretty.

We then sat down for dinner. They- the Seavers -have a tradition where before they eat dinner on Christmas Eve they go around the table and say what they are thankful for that year. The kids weren’t thrilled to do it but the shrink insisted.

Ben was thankful for getting taller this year, and that Mike didn’t. Carol was thankful for straight A’s once again, and that some boy called her. Also that her family was healthy. Mike was thankful for his car and then went on how the upkeep expenses were draining his wallet. The rest of the family wasn’t trying to hear it. The mom was thankful for her kids, for her career, and for her husband. They got a little mushy over that one. And the shrink – he was thankful for another year and for his family. He was also thankful, he said, to have a guest in the home that could go out and tell the world that the Seavers only crime was that “they’re a little corny.”

Then they made me take a turn. I didn’t really have a choice, I was a guest for dinner at their home after all. I had to say something. I thanked Ben for fishing me out of the garbage. I thanked the mom for washing my clothes. I thanked Carol for lending me one of her outfits. And I told them that I was thankful I’m not freezing to death in the snow. Well for one day at least.

I think that got to them a little bit.  They got real quiet.

Later that night I tried to make a break for it, after I snatched all the presents from under the tree of course. I figured I needed them more than they did. But before I could get them all in a trash bag I found under the sink the mom and the shrink came downstairs with more gifts. They lingered and got to talking and I could hear everything they were saying as I was hiding behind a bookshelf. They were looking at the gifts and noticed that all three kids, Mike, Carol, and Ben, all had wrapped something for me under the tree. I must admit this shook me up some. No one has ever done anything like that for me before. But who asked them to do that anyways.  Not me.

I packed up all the presents and quietly left out the front door. But I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t go through with it. They were all just so nice. I must be getting soft. Maybe I was affected by all the nice things they did, and the gifts they wrapped for me, like they were affected by what I said at dinner.

So I split, without the presents. I slept in the phone booth for awhile and thought about my family. I thought that maybe the shrink was right. Maybe I was wrong about my dad. Maybe I was wrong about a lot of things. I decided to call home.

My dad answered. And he actually sounded happy to hear from me. Like, really happy. He wished me Merry Christmas and we just talked for awhile. I can’t believe that stupid shrink was right.

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