Another Christmas story ruined…

Misremembering Christmas

It probably started with a story of
orphans on Christmas in a perpetually
cold European city somewhere in
Albania; they each received just one gift
on Christmas Eve and it was always something needed but not wanted until one year the heroine received an array of
colored pencils which she treasured
because she dreamed of becoming
an artist, but the nuns woke the orphans
early on Christmas morning and
told them it was their turn to give to
those even poorer, so along with
their own breakfasts to offer they
trekked to a wooded hovel to bless
gypsy children with food and presents
undeserved; the gypsy children
were subdued, I think I recall,
unaccustomed to grace and the
orphan sacrificing her one treasure
was nonplussed and altruistically
virtuous and that bothered me
immensely so I chose to misremember
and in my version the desperately
poor gypsy child hastily and tastelessly
ate the orphan’s breakfast and had those
colored pencils tossed on a dying
fire to keep it lit on a cold Christmas
morning, and the gypsy child couldn’t
care less about the colored pencils
and our orphan girl wept because
she couldn’t understand how the need
for a fire outweighed her selfish dream
while the nuns scolded her tears as they
marched the orphans away under the
shroud of another graceless Christmas morn.

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