Every Sunday, the same story: go to Uncle Marty’s cabin to pick up a small packet for dad before dinner. Why me? Tommy could do it. Or dad. Isn’t the parcel for him? But no, it had to be me, the youngest of the house.
I had precise instructions: be polite, don’t ask questions, and above all, don’t look into the parcel. It was a secret between brothers.
The cabin was pretty far away from home. I had to take a bus and then walk half an hour through a solitary path towards the forest. In summer, it was almost pleasant, but in winter, not so much. Dad gave me a lantern to enlighten my way those dark evenings.
Uncle Marty was always waiting for me with the door open and a mug with hot chocolate when it was cold and snowing. I anxiously wrapped my hands around the cup to warm them and smiled. But he never smiled or even spoke to me. Instead, he stared at me with his dark eyes, and when I was done with the chocolate, he gave me the packet and opened the door. It was evident that the visit had finished. So out was I with my lantern and my burden to get back home.
I thought I would be released from my duty on Christmas eve, but my dad came to my room with the lantern.
-Time to go
-Seriously? No Christmas break?
-Precisely today is more critical than ever that you bring Marty’s packet.
-Dad, it’s snowing. I have to get ready for our Christmas eve dinner!
-You’ll have enough time for everything: go.
When I reached the cabin, Uncle Marty was, as always, at the door waiting for me. But this time, he didn’t let me in. Instead, locked the door of his cabin and grabbed my hand. We began our way back to the city together in silence.
He showed me the last parcel. It was in his pocket. And what’s more: he smiled at me.
I was shocked. Uncle Marty never had left his cabin in years. So I was bringing home a really unexpected packet.
When we arrived, dad opened the door. A big hug followed. My dad, neatly dressed for dinner, his brother with long hair and beard wearing an old black coat and hat, couldn’t be more different. Marty gave him the last parcel. After that, dad disappeared for a moment in his study, very excited, leaving us a little uneasy. Then, he emerged again and announced:
-Everybody: here, my brother Marty. As you know, he is mute, and this is why he decided to isolate himself, but he loves us because we are family, so he decided to be our Santa this year.
Dad took a blue leather box pretty big and opened it. Sparkles of light flowed into the room. Inside it was a big diamonds necklace with earrings matching it.
-It must cost a fortune! Mom said.
-Marty got it as an inheritance wholly destroyed. He has been working all this year mounting the stones and setting the pieces one by one, and I finished the reconstruction here with the pictures we had of my grandmother wearing it in a reception in England.
-What are we going to do with this? Mom asked.
-Well, if you like it, you can wear it. I’m sure it’ll look gorgeous on you.
-Bob, she began
-Or if you prefer we can find a good auction house and say goobye to our financial problems. It’s up to you. He said kissing her.
-Let’s decide over dinner.