Reindeer Games (Open, solarium)

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Reindeer Games (Open, solarium)

Post  Elias Ortega on Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:32 am

Elias had always hated the hell out of the Christmas season. While other children had woken up expecting presents from Father Christmas or Los Tres Reyes Magos (spending half of his childhood in Spain and half of it in England had always been a little confusing around the holidays), Elias and his brother had never gotten anything. Their father always told them that only nice children received presents, and they hadn't been nice enough to make the cut that year. Elias had eventually figured out that no matter what he did he was never going to get any Christmas presents, but that wasn't until he was ten or eleven. Before that, he had always held out some sort of hope beyond hope that he would have a holiday that wasn't tremendously upsetting for once. He never did. After the primary disappointment of having been too bad to recieve any gifts, they always had to visit with their father's mother, who flew to Leeds each year without fail for the holidays. Abuela Ortega was a short, mean woman who smacked their hands if they spoke English around her and always overcooked the food. Her visits were both dreaded and anticipated; as unpleasant as she was, their father wouldn't beat them with his mother in the house.

When Elias had moved in with Carmela, Christmas had taken on a new meaning. She loved the holiday, and spent hours baking and decorating. Loathe as he was to admit it, it was an improvement. Carmela had no idea what to buy for two teenage boys; they always ended up receiving ridiculous, awkward presents that sat in their closets for the rest of the year untouched. But it was nice to get something anyway, and Elias appreciated the sentiment. Despite the change that had recently come about, he still felt an old dread creeping about when he thought about Christmas. It still felt like abuela's wrinkled, pinching fingers and the disappointment of once again being one of the bad kids.

When he'd heard that they were going to have a dance for Christmas, Elias had wanted to smack his head against the wall. He'd much rather eat his grandmother's overcooked lamb and have her smack him and call him stupid in varied ways than go to a dance of any sort. That he was socially incompetent was the understatement of the century, and it was just amplified by situations of that sort. By the time dinner was over, he was itching in the weird, foreign-smelling suit they had given him and wanting to run outside and puke in the snow. He didn't really taste any of the food; it must have been good, or at least decent, because his stomach didn't complain, but he wasn't really present enough to enjoy it. He found it kind of strange that they would give a house full of mental kids wine, but he guessed it wasn't really enough to do anything and it probably was supposed to be some twisted gesture of familiarity and trust. Elias didn't drink it. He didn't want their familiarity or their trust.

As soon as he could, he had escaped from the fucntions hall with all of its bumping music and dancing kids and made his way to the solarium, where there were a variety of comfortingly quiet plants and equally quiet children. Wanting nothing more than to go to sleep and forget that Christmas existed, he made his way over to an unoccupied seat by a large, waxy-leaved plant that he couldn't name and sat down. Leaning his head back as far as he could and closing his eyes, he pretended that he wasn't there at all, but rather sitting on a bench in the park that he and Diego frequented in Leeds, watching snow fall down in powdery handfuls. If Elias had to live through this Christmas, he might as well live through it somewhere he actually wanted to be instead of here. And imagining somewhere better was not particularly hard.
Elias Ortega

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