Chapter 29: Christmas Wishes Come True. ACT VIII of VIII of Merry Christmas!
“SNOW! ONLY A TEENIEST BIT MORE! THAT IS ALL I AM ASKING FOR!” Madison shouts at the clouds, throwing her hands, palms open, at the great above, very much like as if she is about to start begging. “WE HAVE WORLD RECORDS WAITING TO BE BROKEN!”
The snow is still coming down, at the same steady pace since Madison had first worked her magic, but is it enough to break the still elusive world record?
Crouching just meters away from Madison and her bellowing, along one of the few smooth even slabs of undisturbed snow left in the playground, is Susan and Collette. Very carefully they dip a ruler into snow, and keep going till they hit the ground below. Checking and rechecking the measurement, they tell Cynthia the number, who is very diligently scanning through her smartphone.
“Let’s see, according to the weather app, yes, yes we did break a world’s record. Just have to tweet our findings to Environment Canada so they can verify,” Cynthia happily explains.
“YOU HEAR THAT? YOU HEAR THAT MOTHER NATURE? WE ARE ABOUT TO MAKE HISTORY!” Madison bellows upwards, clapping her hands together in a rhythm that only makes sense to her.
Ilona crosses all her fingers and tries to cross her toes, but her shoes are abit too tight.
A ding Ilona recognizes as Amazing Grace tells her that Cynthia has a response.
“Madison, you did it! We have a world’s record amount of snow!” Cynthia shouts at her friend.
Madison jumps high in the air, almost to the clouds themselves Ilona thinks, and lets out a sound of epic proportions. All the girls rush over and pile on for a massive group hug, which quickly turns into a mess of bodies tumbling all over each other in a heap of snow, laughter from them all becoming the soundtrack of these few minutes. When the happy chaos ends, the girls are sprawled in the snow, panting and sweaty, all around Madison.
Talking in the general direction of where she thinks Cynthia is laying, Madison asks, “So what is the 411 on the snow record? I want all the gory freaky details, even the made up ones.”
“Well,” Cynthia replies as she fishes her smartphone from her pocket, “Environment Canada confirmed it seconds after I tweeted them, so I am fairly certain it was in motion for some time before that. And now they have sent out a press release detailing how the city of Toronto has received a record amount of snowfall over the last few weeks,” she puts the smartphone back in her pocket and laughs, “I wonder if the government will track you down and ask you to stop? Have mercy on their poor snow clogged resources?”
“NEVER!” Madison proclaims as she shoots her fist up, punching the snow filled vastness.
“I had a feeling…” Cynthia replies, with the school bell ringing just as she finishes.
The girls get up and slowly head for the school doors, all to complete the final day of what Madison and Clara call imprisonment, but others refer to as the day before Christmas break. The day rolls along fairly merrily, with every teacher, even the still sedate M. Micheals, giving each class a lighter touch and not assigning any homework. Lunch time has two group high fives being executed, one for Ilona completing A Christmas Carol and the other for Clara finishing Smile by Raina Telgemeier. The rest of the afternoon at SummerFall flies by, and Ilona watching the clock for the moment when the holidays begin. With the bell issuing release, all the kids in the school hustle out. Ilona and Collette scramble through the crowds and reach the art room, where they quickly scoop up the contents of their baskets.
“One second,” Ilona says to Collette. Ilona shuffles off to a secluded corner and pulls out the envelope. A minute later she returns to her friend, “All done, let’s go.”
Minutes later they join their friends outside, with conversations already ongoing and the spectacle of Clara and Madison doing a waltz of some type in the snow greeting them.
“It’s time everyone!” Cynthia shouts, causing all the friends to gather.
A circle forms and the girls are all smiling.
“I would like to go first,” Cynthia says as she reaches into her backpack. Out comes five individual long slim boxes which she quickly hands out. Ilona snaps the box open and sees a Harry Potter wand glistening back at her. The shout from Madison of “Unfreakin’ believable!” causes Ilona to glance up and see that everyone has a wand, but each is different. Susan swirls hers in the air and chants “Thank you Ollivander.”
“We’re next! We’re next!” Clara and Madison jointly pipe in. Each girl takes a couple of smallish flat gift bags from their backpacks. Ilona undoes the ribbon and slides out the book Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. Cynthia holds her copy up proudly, “One of my favourites, one of my mother’s favourites, a true classic.” Collette whispers and hugs the book, “Judy Blume is a God.” Madison and Clara reply with another chant, “Praise be her name.”
Susan and Collette exchange glances, almost as if they are mentally discussing who should go next. Ilona always found it funny whenever she saw them do this and often wondered how this link has developed.
“Quit arguing you two! We will pick who will go next just to shut you two up,” Clara barks at them while Cynthia points at Susan. Ilona realizes these looks must go far back and suppresses a giggle.
Susan unzips her backpack and hands out all sorts of different sized packages.
Ilona unwraps a mid sized box, than pulls it open. At the bottom, nestled in red and green tissue paper, is a dvd labeled Dr Horrible Sing-Along Blog. “Thank you! It was wonderful seeing this at Collette’s birthday party!” Ilona exclaims as she holds the dvd aloft.
She then glances around to see what everyone else received, and quickly realizes Susan bucked the unannounced trend and gave individualized gifts. Madison has a bag full of dozens of scrunchies, Clara poses a Wonder Woman action figure from her bag, Collette pulls out a copy of Detective Comics issue 572 which shows Sherlock Holmes and Batman together on the cover, and Cynthia is now in possession of the book Footprints by Margaret Fishback Powers. Gasps and excitement flow through the circle.
“I have always wanted to read this. Sherlock shows the Bat how it is done!” Collette shouts while hugging the comic.
“Yer next!” Madison says, taking the scrunchie already in her hair and replacing it with a new one. “I wonder how many scrunchies I can put in my hair?”
Collette reaches into a bag and starts handing hand painted lunch bags. “Open carefully,” she says. Clara turns to Madison, “Did she look at us when she said that?”
Ilona peers into the bag and sees the secret she has known for awhile, a large button, made especially for her. Ilona’s button has a picture of Ginny Weasley riding a broom. Looking up, she sees the happiness of Madison and Clara each getting buttons featuring different Wonder Woman. “Wonder twin powers activate!” They shout as they touch buttons. Susan immediately puts on her rather large button, sporting the Tennant Doctor Who high fiving Taylor Swift. Cynthia also put her button on right away, showing two Hermione’s, one young and one old.
“And,” Collette points to Ilona’s decorated lunch bag, “The bag it came in becomes a puppet.”
All the girls flip the bags over and put their hands inside. Suddenly the circle becomes an amateur puppet festival. Sounds and voices of on the spot made up characters clatter up from the friends, as the puppets start talking and yammering to each other, all through the imaginations of their new owners.
After a minute or so, Cynthia, using a squeaky voice with the puppet, breaks up the merriment. “Okay, now it’s Ilona’s turn. Squee! Squee!”
All eyes turn to Ilona as she hands out long flat objects from a bag. “I didn’t have time to wrap them, sorry!”
“That is no problem,” Cynthia replies as she accepts Ilona’s gift to her. Ilona sees the surprised expressions on everyone’s faces as they take in her art room projects.
All her friends received as Christmas gifts personalized picture frames. Cynthia’s is adorned by all sorts of Harry Potter images while Clara’s has multiple Wonder Woman plastered onto it. Collette’s has a deerstalker hat living in the top right corner amoung its many Holmesian tributes. Susan’s frame has a sonic screwdriver on one side and a Dalek on the other. Ilona hears Madison’s joy before she sees it. “This is so wicked!” Madison cackles in the voice of her heroine, Witchiepoo from PuffnStuff, whose figure is splashed across part of the frame, and a golden talking flute taking up the rest.
But what interests Ilona the most is the reaction all her friends have to the picture itself. Everyone got the same photo, already in the frame, of the group on Halloween night. It is Ilona’s favourite picture of all time and she wants to immortalize it forever and ever.
“This is a high quality photo print-out. Where did you get it done?” Susan asks, examining the photo up close, scanning it through her puppet.
“Sarah’s dad printed them for me,” Ilona replies.
Mouths open in shock. “Wow. You really know how to work the network. I bet Josh and Tracey had no clue,” Clara states.
“Nope! Did it all right behind everyone’s back. Wanted it to be a real surprise!” Ilona says happily.
“It is wonderful Ilona and a most excellent surprise,” Cynthia sings as she sways her puppet to the music in her head.
“Christmas card time!” cackles Madison’s hand puppet, even though it now holds a Harry Potter wand in it’s mouth.
“You are mixing and matching again. But I will admit this one is kind of cool,” Collette shakes her puppets head up and down.
Cynthia pulls out her Christmas cards, causing a ripple effect for all the others to get theirs. Minutes later the cards are all spread to the right people and chatter, with and without puppets, fills the now long deserted schoolyard. When Cynthia’s smartphone plays Amazing Grace, the girls realize the time is up. Many Merry Christmas’s pass between them all, and just before they gather their bags, Cynthia speaks.
“Before we all go, remember the song we performed in music class last week that we all loved?”
They all nod.
“Shall we sing it one more time, since this is the best Christmas ever?”
A moment later the six friends start singing, some on tune, some off tune, We Wish You A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year. For a time, with the music, the snow, and the loving smiles, all is peaceful and perfect.
They finish, do the last group hug of the year, and head home.
And Ilona is happy beyond joy.
Song For This Chapter: We Wish You A Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year.
New Storyline Starts Next Week!
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.