Wednesday, 20 January 2016


By Kristen Phang, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2016

Photo Courtesy of Google Images
I don’t remember much about my hometown, nor my memories of living there. Justifiably, I was only six. Ironically, all I could remember was the day I left with with my father to Cambridge where he was due to teach. I didn’t mind much, it didn’t seem as if I had much to hold on to, in the sleepy town of Saint Ives. The only memory I had left, the one I would always treasure, was saying goodbye to Ronald, my best friend.

The soft flaky snow floated down like feathers onto the narrow asphalt. It cloaked the adjoined, goose-white cottages, the freezing, black-blue ocean, the frozen boats and the bare, brown branches like a soft blanket covering a sleeping infant in deep sleep. The scintillating, intricate lights that decorate the town were like stars in my eyes. In front of the large, pine tree with round ornaments and colourful ribbons, Ronald, whom I saw for the last time, pointed to it and said he would send me letters and a gift every Christmas until I returned.

The first gift came when I just came home from school. My father had not arrived home yet as he was busy with his work. It had been quite lonely at home, there was nothing to do except study. I felt more comfortable at school that home as I had company there. The gift was in a small parcel with Ronald’s letter. underneath the clumsy brown wrapping that was about to fall off was twelve soldiers. In his letter he told me about the soldiers came into town, escorting a very important guest who was planning to buy the area. Ronald thought the soldiers were amazing and when he saw the toys, he wanted to share his amazement with me. Though I didn’t like the idea he had to pilfer some of the soldiers. He ended his letter with ‘Only eleven more years Mary, till we can play again’. His letters always came and I always smile at them.

The second gift, next Christmas, came when I was coming home from school. Life in school was great! I have made so many new friends and all the girls are kind to me, I thought. The teachers also like me too. Well except for one girl, she just doesn’t seem to like me. I home we can be friends soon. This time, the gift, under the same kind of wrapping, was a collection of eleven cloth-pins that were painted in the figures of women. In his letter he told me of the celebration of their new landlord, organised by the landlord himself. Beautiful women danced in the town, with their skirts flying and arms swaying. It was a beautiful experience, he said.  When he saw this, he asked his sister to help him make the present for me. He did think of stealing dolls at the toyshop but seeing my last letter changed his mind. He mentioned once again, ‘Only ten more years Mary, till we can play again.’

This was how the years went by, and each Christmas had its own unique gift to me. I may not remember Ronald as well as I used to but his letters make me feel he’s right next to me. I really needed it as that girl who didn’t like me humiliated me. Everyone was bullying me. He was my comfort and only friend. Each Christmas, Ronald kept reminding me how close we were to meeting each other. Only nine more years, only seven more, six.

When I entered secondary school, I was struggling in school. My teacher liked to tease me and the girls kept telling me that I was not pretty enough, that no boy would love me. My father tried his best to take care of me but his own health was weakening. I felt insecure and useless. When I was 13, he sent me 6 goose eggs and reminded me of the story of the ugly duckling, about how the ugliest creature can become the most beautiful. I laughed and replied to him as soon as I finished the letter, reminding Ronald that the ugly duckling was not a goose but a swan.

As the years went by, I still thought about Ronald, how he looked like and what would happen when I met him again. I would get a rush of euphoria each time I received a letter from him, without realising it till the eighth gift that I had fallen in love with the amiable boy whose face I couldn’t remember. The eighth gift was a collection of five rings painted gold on a string. Ronald wrote that he saw many boys giving rings to the girls they fancied and admitted he had grown feelings towards me. He said that he could not wait to see me again, with only four more years to go. I couldn’t wait too.

When I was 16, my father fell very ill. The stress was too much for him. I spent many days caring for him and skipping school in the process. My father begged me to go but I did not budge as I thought school was torture anyway with my horrible teacher and classmates making my life a misery. On Christmas, Ronald sent me three plump chickens. ‘For chicken soup, to make your father feel better!’ he wrote. I was so grateful to him. But our efforts to help my father were all in vain as he died the next year, two weeks before Christmas.

Stricken with grief, I could not concentrate on my studies despite my major exams being around the corner. I skipped school altogether and did part time jobs to support myself. I could always go back to Saint Ives but I promised my father I would live in the dorms and finish my education. During that Christmas, Ronald sent me a pair of live turtledoves. He wrote that he wished he could be there in person and comfort me. He said the doves were a representation of love. He reminded me once more, ‘Only one year left Mary, till we meet again.’

The next year, when I was 18, I went back to Saint Ives. It felt very strange to me, although the town seemed familiar, I felt like I was there for the first time. I couldn’t wait to see Ronald after twelve years. He said he would give his final gift to me under the same Christmas tree where we said goodbye. When I arrived, I looked around but saw no one. All of a sudden, I heard a gruff voice call out my name and I turned around.

The boy who I had been sending letters to was not like how I imagined him. He was now a tall, lanky kid with a toothy grin, his brown hair flopped over his weary, tired blue eyes. His tattered military clothes barely warmed him in the cold. The two crunches supported him as he tried to maintain standing on his one right leg. Then he smiled and picked up a small cage next to him. Inside was a small bird, a partridge. “Welcome home Mary.”

I was shocked. At first I did not know how to react. He was nothing like I imagined. I should have expected it. He was going through things worse than I was, and the landlord had been giving high taxes which sent many of the villagers into poverty. He had mentioned about being bullied and becoming the main breadwinner of the family when his father died, and how he was drafted into the military. He mentioned how sorry he was for replying late  as he spent months on the battlefield. I ran to him and gave him a hug. I don’t care about how he looks, I’m just glad he’s alive and by my side. Even if all we had in those long twelve years are letters and twelve gifts of Christmas.
by Nicholas Tan 21:56 11 comments

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for giving out your views. If truth be told be grateful for your hard work and I am ahead of you for your subsequently write ups thank you once all over again.I am really overpowered through the estimation of custom essay writing service. The papers totally duplicate my script style and get me totally An evaluations. I was additionally pleasantly dazed by the decrease conspire.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Christmas is like a long-awaited event for everyone. Everyone likes the atmosphere, festival including many people from different cultures. Kids also expect the gifts from the Santa!

    As you grow up, you don't expect a gift but you expect a money so that you can cover your extra expenses like affordable dissertation, new dresses etc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. People from all around the world enjoy Christmas a lot. In fact, it is one of the only few occasions when we all get together and strongly exchange respect and happiness with each other. I still remember the official Christmas gift that I received from Mount Lincoln University at the time of our convocation and it really meant a lot to me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. People are finding best AC dealers in the current life for different usage. There are several AC dealers are available now to provide the best service to clients. Ashjoehvac is one of the leading Ductable AC Dealers in Mumbai to offer extraordinary service to the customers.
    Ductable AC Dealers in Mumbai

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Apple Watch 3 is the most important watch is the smartwatch domain to have arrived this year. Indeed, this is one of the few smartwatches which will arrive with the Micro LED display which is the one thing we need in orde to check the display under bright sunlight. There is a need for such smartwatches this year as well. Apple Watch 3 Release Date

    ReplyDelete
  6. Giving a gift to someone showing respect and love towards person, Christmas is special day for all human beings living in European countries and on that day every one plan is different to make it special for the upcoming Christmas discover cool gifts at electronic shop online

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cinema Box Apk is the most popular mobile app of today. That lets you watch TV shows and movies without any charges to be paid. If you already downloaded Cinema Box on Fire Stick you can already watch movies and TV shows on your iPad or iPhone for free.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The most reasonable prices buy Christmas gift & new year offers online at best prices in all over the world. Choose from wide range of Christmas day coursework service online , sale, new year offers 2017.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Christmas resembles a hotly anticipated occasion for everybody. Everybody enjoys the environment, celebration including many individuals from various societies. Children additionally expect the presents from the Santa! Do My Dissertation

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am not sure about others, but the team I have provides quality work with custom dissertation service, which wasn't even discussed, to be precise. It has to be the most beneficial thingy to do with the people and its critique,

    ReplyDelete
  11. Christmas is the time when we all are happy and merry about new time coming in and new things happening. Thanks for sharing the post with us. Click on write my assignment to know more.

    ReplyDelete

Search