How can a person go 50% off Christmas shopping when they’ve got a mystery on their hands?
Every night since Christmas, Regina has been throwing pieces of paper at me with names of people who could be my ‘Secret Santa’.
You see under my tree there was a gift with no one on it. It was a necklace with a Christmas tree on it. No one spoke up and said it was there’s so Regina got some idea in her head that it was some boy who was too shy to say anything.
“Natalie! Earth to Natalie!” My mother called. I snapped out of my thoughts.
“How much wrapping paper do you think we’ll need this year?” Momma asked.
“I don’t know. Get a few,” I said. Momma sighed. She hated unsure answers.
“Five, six,” I shrugged.
“Something’s bothering you,” Momma said putting seven rolls of wrapping paper into the cart.
“A lot has changed these past weeks,” I said. Momma looked at me. I hoped that she wouldn’t start hugging me in the middle of the store or that I would start crying.
“I know, honey. God has blessed me with such a daughter,” Momma smiled. She gave me a quick hug and moved on to the bags.
“So are you going to stay up tonight?” Momma asked me. With all the snow we got, Momma didn’t feel comfortable going shopping until it stopped snowing (which just happened to be New Year’s Eve). And so did the rest of Massachusetts since most of the stuff was still there.
“Regina talked me into it,” I sighed.
“You don’t seem too thrilled,” Momma said looking at boxes.
“Mr. Stewart is letting Emily and Timmy come over to watch the countdown,” I mumbled. Momma gave me an understanding nod and winked at me.
“I’ll have Steve carry you upstairs so you and Regina can watch the countdown in my room,” Momma said.
I’ll have Steve carry you upstairs. Ugh. Why did that bother me so much?
“Look, fudge tins!” Momma shouted. I winced. How embarrassing is it for your mother to shout over fudge tins?
“Doesn’t this one look just like your old one?” Momma asked. It really did look like it expect mine had a snowman on it and not Santa.
“Do you want it?” Momma asked me. For some reason fear overwhelmed me.
“You don’t have to get it if you don’t want it,” Momma said.
“Can’t breathe,” I muttered.
“It’s just a tin,” Momma put it back on the shelf. I felt dizzy.
“I’m gonna be sick,” I said. I ran to the bathroom and threw up.
“Natalie, are you all right?” Momma asked.
“No,” I said.
“I’m calling 911,” Momma said in a firm voice.
My heart was racing. I felt like I was about to choke. Was I going crazy?
“Come on, honey. We’ll get you to a hospital. Everything is going to be fine,” The EMT said to me. I didn’t believe her. I was going crazy. I truly was.
“She’s having a panic attack,” The EMT said to Momma. “Do you know what could have triggered this?”
“I do,” Momma sighed.
For the next two hours it was nurses, doctors, and people assuring me that everything was going to be ok.
“What’s wrong with me, Momma?” I asked.
“Nothing is wrong with you!” Momma shouted. “There is something I need to tell you thou.”
“What?” I asked hopping I wouldn’t regret asking.
“That tin we saw? It’s just like the one your father gave you the night he died?” Momma asked.
I nodded not wanting to remember it at all but that moment in my life was picture clear in my mind.
“Well that car accident? It was no accident.”