Chapter 28: Gathering Gifts. ACT VII of VIII of Merry Christmas!
“SNOW! WE NEED MORE SNOW! ANOTHER TEN CENTIMETRES! AND WE NEED IT NOW!” Madison pummels the still snowing sky with her loud yelling, punctuated by her constant twirling around and around in the deep snow covering the playground. “WORLD RECORDS ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN! LET’S DO THIS!”
“I remember a girl in my class last year who was always trying to break world records or something, but I don’t think she ever did,” Clara says, her smartphone clicking away pictures of Madison ‘s snowy show. “Now to post these on facebook, twitter, and text them to Joshua.”
“I think she is getting dizzy from all that spinning,” Cynthia states, eyeing Madison slowly starting to stumble as she completes what seems to be her hundredth spin. “And there she goes!” Cynthia laughs as Madison’s legs turn to jelly and causes her to splatter with a thump into the deep snow.
“I MAY BE DOWN! BUT I AM NOT OUT! I SHALL PERSEVERE!” Madison bellows, shaking her fist into the clouds above. ” I SHALL FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY AND STING LIKE A BEE!”
“Googling it,” Susan shoots out as her fingers quickly dance on her smartphone.
“I betcha it is comics related knowing her,” Clara says.
“And I bet it is old cartoon related knowing her,” Collette says.
Before they could shake on the bet, Susan interjects.
“You are both wrong. It is actually, of all things, boxing related. Muhammad Ali, a champion loved by generations, said it.”
“YouTube,” both Clara and Collette say together, with the school bell finishing their sentence.
Letting out a loud sigh, then mumbling as she got up about how this was not over yet Mother Nature, Madison is pulled up from the ground by Ilona and Cynthia.
“We believe in you. You will pull off a world’s record,” Ilona says.
“Thanks. Always know I can count on my friends. Especially for help with taking on the universe,” Madison states as she wipes the snow off of her.
As they start to enter the school, Ilona whispers to Cynthia.
“I understand why she wanted snow, but what’s with the world’s record?”
“Haven’t the foggiest,” Cynthia replies, rolling her eyes.
School zips by with Ilona back to paying full attention to the still normal acting Mr. Micheals. With the help of Susan and Collette, she is back up to the straight A’s that have now become a good habit for her. Recess is the usual fun blur of snow snow snow, while lunch time is crunch time with Collette in the art room. With guidance and tips from her friend, Ilona has managed to not only complete all the Christmas cards she needs, but also finishes all the gifts she has to give out.
“Done, done and done,” Collette says as she checks off pages in her notepad. “And everything went according to plan,” she continues, “How did you do Ilona?”
Ilona looks over everything Christmassy she has done, and keeping hidden the one for Collette, nods her head, weary but happy. “Very well. Extremely well. And thank you again for bringing me here.”
“No problem,” Collette says as she flips shut her notepad and puts it away. “Ready to go and put Operation Cobra into gear?”
You bet!” Ilona exclaims, abit louder than usual. The Christmas Spirit is infecting her, making Ilona forget some art room rules.
Rising, the girls place all their work in individual baskets at the back of the class, all for pick-up later. Small clusters of kids spread out around the class are also gathering their projects, with quiet smiles passing amoung them. Ilona feels good, feels happy, that kids like her and Collette and all these others, have a place to go, a place waiting for them, where those with little money can transform art into Christmas.
Ilona and Collette dither at the back of the room by the baskets, waiting patiently as everyone else files out. Soon, they are alone with Mrs. Shuster, and the two approach her.
“Mrs. Shuster,” they say together, with abit of a melody, just like they had practiced it.
She looks up at the girls, her face fills with a smirk, as if waiting for some strange joke to be played out.
“We want to say…” Collette starts, again as they rehearsed.
“Thank you!” Ilona finishes.
Mrs. Shuster’s smirk changes to a surprised smile.
“Why thank you Collette and Ilona! That is so nice of you!” Mrs. Shuster replies, with her voice raising towards the end.
The girls hand her a Christmas card. It is the first Christmas card they have handed out this year, and the first Christmas card they made in the art room.
Mrs. Shuster takes the red card covered with green glitter and held it to her chest, putting her hands over it in a hug.
“My first Christmas card this year. Thank you both,” Mrs. Shuster pulls the card up and stares at it, “My family, generations ago, had no money, but always an interest in art. My parents always tried to instill in me the spirit of caring, and caring with art especially, so when I started here years ago at SummerFall, I opened the art room for children in need,” she looks at Collette, “Unfortunately, some come back repeatedly, because the world is simply not fair.”
Collette reaches out and Mrs. Shuster takes her hand.
“It is alright Mrs. Shuster. You have helped save my Christmas yet again,” Collette says, “And if you ever need anything,”
“Thank you Collette, but everything is fine now,” Mrs. Shuster replies.
“No problem. And Merry Christmas Mrs. Shuster,” Collette smiles as she slowly pulls her hand away.
“Merry Christmas!” Ilona pipes in as well.
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night,” Mrs. Shuster sings as she waves the Christmas card at the girls.
Once in the hallway, Ilona turns to Collette.
“Everything is fine now? What did Mrs. Shuster mean by that? Was she in trouble?” Ilona inquires.
“Don’t worry,” Collette laughs, ” It was nothing too death defying. Mrs. Shuster’s laptop was having all sorts of wonky problems. My dad came in and fixed it for her. No big deal. My dad knows computers inside and out. And someday soon I shall overtake him and build my robot army. I would do an evil laugh here, but mine could never beat Madison’s.”
They continue back to class and complete the rest of the school day. By the end of the day, they hang out and chatter after school for awhile like they always do, mixing in snowballs and snow boulder fights. Soon the friends all depart, and Ilona walks briskly through the park, all to reach the road at the far end quickly. By the time she reaches her destination, a familiar van pulls up to Ilona. The door slides open, and she can see the driver, Cynthia’s older brother giving her a wave from behind the wheel. Jumping out from the back seat comes a teenage girl she has never met before, only messaged.
“Yep! Here is the envelope. Your secret is safe, no one knows, not even him,” Sarah jerks her head towards Cynthia’s brother.
“Thanks. You have just made my Christmas,” Ilona replies as she takes the envelope.
“No Problemo,” Sarah replies as she hops back into the van and slides the door shut.
The van then speeds away and Ilona continues on home, happy.
Song For This Chapter: Deck The Halls.
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.