Day 16 | Advent Calendar
The Longest Day by Trent McDonald
I had been awake for quite a while, staring into the blackness in a place outside of time, when I heard my brother whisper, “You awake?”
“Yeah,” I answered. “What time is it?”
“Don’ know. It’s still dark, though.”
We slowly got up and pressed up against the door. A small sound was heard just outside the door, in the hall. Silently and efficiently we threw on some clothes. We didn’t bother to turn on a light, so it was dark in the bedroom. But that didn’t matter, anything and everything was fine for this special day.
My brother cracked the door a smidgen.
“Shhhh,” my oldest sister said from across the hall.
My other sister came out of her room and tip toed down to our group.
“It’s about a quarter after six,” my oldest sister said. “Remember last year when we got them up at 5:30?” We nodded. “Let’s let them sleep in until at least 6:30, maybe 7, OK?”
We nodded but still made our way to the end of the hall. We were stopped by the invisible barrier of Parental Law. One at a time we peaked around the corner. The room was pitch black, but looming shapes could be made out. The shadows resolved themselves enough so that we could tell that the tree was there and that there was stuff around it, lots of stuff around it.
We whispered excitedly, shushing each other when one of us grew too loud. We didn’t want to wake them before they were ready, but it seemed we had already been up for days, perhaps even weeks. The extra wait for them to get up was awful. “Tick”, the clock said quietly, and then a century passed before it spoke again, “tock”.
After all eternity had come and gone we heard the end bedroom door open. Our parent’s room was around the corner so we couldn’t actually see it. There were a few small squeaks of the floor and the bathroom door shut. An eternity latter, the door opened, some squeaks, the bedroom door closed and then a forever moment later, the sequence was repeated.
Finally my parents turned on the hall light and came down to see us.
“It’s still twenty till seven,” my mom said. “Stay here while I start the tea pot.”
She passed us and disappeared into the kitchen. A light came on and we could hear her rustling around.
“Just another minute,” my dad said.
He walked past us and into the living room and beckoned us to come and wait at the threshold. When our mom joined us he turned on the tree.
It was marvelous! When we went to bed there was only a small sprinkling of presents under the tree, mostly messily wrapped gifts that we kids had placed there. Now there loads of wrapped boxes, piles of them. The lights, which we had seen before, for some odd reason seemed to sparkle brighter than before, the glitter was much shinier. The little tree stood proudly over the bounty. It was as if by magic these objects that we had been looking at for days, even weeks, suddenly became new, like that first glimpse of the rising sun on Earth’s very first day.
We made a circle around the tree and distributed the gifts, so each one of us had our own little, special stack. It wasn’t time, of course, we still had to wait.
The kettle whistled and my mom left the room to make the tea. My dad, after giving us a warning glance, also left to get his camera and his own tea. We knew better than to touch anything.
Finally after a millennia of waiting, we started to open the gifts, one at a time. One gift would be opened. The recipient would show it around, pictures would be taken, and then the next person would have their turn. It ran in sequence, on person, one gift until all of the boxes had been opened.
That is how one of the shortest days of the year turned into the longest day; the longest day of the year, but the best! At least to an eight year old.
Trent is a computer nerd who runs “Trent’s World, the Blog” where he writes about creativity with a side dish of compassion. On his blog you can find a new work a fiction and a new poem almost every week. There are often photographs, drawings and paintings, as well as music and music videos. There might also be just random ramblings about the past, the future, life and the Universe in general. A year ago Trent started hosting The Weekly Smile. There is so much more beauty in the world than ugliness, yet media seems to focus on that dark side. The Weekly Smile is a place to try to counterbalance it with a little bit of positivity.