One winter morning, a boy woke up.
He was not any particular boy, or the morning was in any way special.
He knew it was Christmas, but he had long ceased to believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, and everything else that makes a kid feel like a kid.
Under the Christmas tree stood a gift. He knew what he got. He felt no happiness or joy. He didn’t care. At all.
Mom was still asleep. It was early in the morning.
The boy took his favorite books about dragons, made himself some warm milk, and read.
Outside, it was snowing.
He wondered if maybe later he’ll go out, but even for that he had no will.
He read and enjoyed his imaginary world.
Where there is no contention, grief, loss, illness and tears.
For his age, he had seen too much.
He decided to open a gift when mom woke up.
He will fake joy and play with her.
He knew she was looking forward to it. Knew she loved him so much to the point of the physical pain.
When he was telling her that he loves her, then the tears came. She cried for because of so much love she had.
But the boy was in pain because she was always sad. Even while she was laughing with him, while they watched movies, drawing, he could feel some void inside her.
He knew why. He was just a child, but not in his mind. He knew.
When she wakes up, he’ll make coffee. That would cheer her up.
His friend Fred called to meet with him this afternoon. To play outside, in the snow.
He refused. He did not like to leave the mother alone. He loved to be with her, every possible moment he had.
Maybe mum did not know how he sees everything. How he feels everything.
Despite being just a child, he learned to suppress emotions. Just like mother did.
Their grief turned into something invisible but always present and touchable, like a soap balloon ready to burst.
He replaced this surrounding grief world, with his own, in whom dragons ruled, moms didn’t cry, didn’t have to take medications, and moms never had to leave home. Sometimes she was gone for days, weeks.
It didn’t make a difference if he knew where mum left. When she returned, she was different and changed, less sad, but always brought that bubble again with her. Invisible, yet touchable.
He did not want to change anything. He knew that everything would be fine. He just to be there, for her, for him.
To be good. To laugh. Tell her that he loves her. Every day.
It didn’t matter, he had only eight years, and he understood very well that life is not easy.
Does not always bring what you want. That ugly thing occurs.
Once, a long time ago, he had a father. Now he had an only mother, occasionally in rare moments.
There were times when he asked her something, but she didn’t reply, she just stared at the wall, empty and silent. Sometimes for hours.
He got accustomed to it.
He got accustomed to such a way of life. Mother was all he had, anyway.
He decided to go out with Fred.
Mom will be fine.
Yet, today is Christmas. Maybe, just maybe, Santa heard and fulfilled him one wish that he never, ever told anyone. He did not want to admit this wish even to himself.
But it was the wish from the deepest place in his small child heart.
All he wanted was Christmas morning full of laughter, favorite vanilla cookies mum used to bake. And a family.
He knew that it was probably too much to ask. So he returned to his book, to that what was real for him.
Red Fire Dragon. War in the story land, dragons and elves…
And outside, it was snowing. And it was Christmas. And the mom was still asleep.