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A Christmas Story by Peace Ufedojo Haruna | A Christmas Story | PAROUSIA Magazine

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Maliya wrapped her arms round herself and turned her face away from the biting wind, the curtains flapped in their hinges causing the scented candles she had just lit to lose their flame. She ran to the windows and slammed them close before she froze to death. Maliya turned on the room heater and slumped on the rocking chair her grandmother left as she reached for a mug of hot chocolate. The liquid burned her insides as she let out a satisfactory moan.

It was that time of the year again. Decorated trees, lights, music, warmth and family. It was the only time of the year people took a break out of their busy schedules to spend time with the ones they loved.

She once looked forward to Christmas.

Her eyes darted to the framed picture of her late husband sitting on the shelf opposite her. Tears blurred her vision. His pearly smile tore her heart as the urge to pat his curly hair overwhelmed her.

‘He was here last Christmas’ she thought.

They spent their last Christmas together at an orphanage near the church they attended. Joshua believed that Christmas should be all about love and giving.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son” he would say. “It was love that made Jesus come to this world to die for us.”

A tear escaped from her eyes and landed on her cheeks, she flicked it off with her index finger before bringing the mug of hot chocolate to her lips.

Maliya stared at the lights outside her window. She couldn’t decipher how she felt at that moment, there was a dark pool inside her which was drowning every ounce of joy in her. Emotions stirred in her and the dominant one was regret. Perhaps, if she hadn’t sent him to buy ice cream in the middle of the night, he would have still being with her.

Maliya placed her trembling hands on her swollen abdomen and choked on a sob. Her cravings led Joshua to his untimely death.

“God, why?” She muttered as hot tears roamed down her cheeks. “I want him back, I’ll do anything” She groaned.

The ringing of her doorbell jerked Maliya from her thoughts. She slipped her feet into a pair of flip flops lying on the floor and took long strides to the door.

“Good evening Ma’am.” Her eyes met a man, he looked like he was in his late twenties. He wore a white sweater which had an ‘M’ inscribed on it, coupled with a white trouser and face cap. He held a brown box and a notepad.

“Good evening” she responded.

“I have a delivery for Mrs. Maliya Joshua” he said.

“You’re talking to her” she stated.

He nodded and handed over the box to her, after which he gave her a pen and a notepad to sign on.

“Have a merry Christmas Ma’am” he said turning to leave.

“You too” Maliya replied.

Maliya was confused. She hadn’t ordered anything online, “Who sent this?” she mumbled. She placed the package on the table and gently opened it.

There was a pair of jade flats staring back at her with a red envelop laying beside it. The envelope had the following words  written on it.

‘From Joshua’

She raised her brows causing lines to appear on her forehead as she lost her balance and collapsed on the sofa behind her. Her heart rammed against her ribcage and her breaths came out in heavy huffs.

Maliya stared at the rolling fan above her, trying to recollect her thoughts. When she finally regained herself, she pulled out the paper from the envelope and unfolded it.  

Dear Maliya.

If this letter gets to you, that means I’m in Somalia giving relief materials to Internally Displaced people.

I know that you love spending Christmas with me and I feel the same, but sometimes we have to take selfless decisions for the good of others. In this part of the world, we have many starving children around us, some are orphans and some are homeless. We have also gone through the same thing.  Do you remember those Christmases we spent lonely at the orphanage? It was just another day of eating heated beans and wishing we had parents like normal kids.

Maliya, I do not want others to feel alone, I want to give to people and make them feel loved. Isn’t that one of the most important things to do on Christmas? As I always say, Jesus came to die for us because he loves us and he still does. I may not be around, but know that God is with you and he loves you more than I ever will.

I really wanted to bring you along, but as you can see, our baby will be coming anytime soon, we shall go together next year. I’ll be back before 10th January. Don’t forget to put a smile on someone’s face this season. Eat well, sleep well and celebrate the love and peace that comes with the birth and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I love you, Maliya.

Yours Lovingly,

Joshua.

Tears burned her eyelids, she quivered as she checked the date the letter was written and saw that it was a day before he passed away. He hadn’t even told her about his plans to go to Somalia. Tears escaped her eyes and left wet dots on the letter, she wiped her face with the back of her palm and sniffed.

Maliya placed her hands on her heavy heart and took deep breaths to calm down. She was already feeling feathery movements in her lower abdomen, her baby could sense her emotions.

She drew the now crumbled paper to her chest and stared at the white ceiling counting the lines on it.

The sky was red and the sun was already retreating for the day. Maliya stepped out of the house wearing a brown coat and the jade shoes Joshua got her. She tucked a black leather purse in her underarm and took hasty steps towards the gate.

The guard was shocked when he saw her, Maliya hadn’t stepped out of the house for three days. She was beaming like a full moon in a clear sky. “Madam, it’s getting late, where are you going?” he asked.

She stopped in her tracks and flashed a smile at him. “I’m going to put a smile on someone’s face.”

Peace Haruna

Biography: Peace Ufedojo Haruna is a creative writer and an undergraduate at the University of Benin. She lives in Abuja, Nigeria. She has her works featured in Ocean Of Dreams, Poemify Magazine Issue II and Boys Are Not Stones II amongst others. When she’s not writing, she spends her time doing research and designing. 

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