the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

  Authors & Artists


Faces & Voices 4
Faces & Voices 5

Dear Santa
Erika McDaniel
Maumee, Ohio - Marketing

        Months earlier she had planned the letter. Carefully, she had contemplated its content, revising and editing it until it was perfect. She had thoughtfully considered each word, sentence and paragraph. No aspect was left untouched; everything was in its place. That letter held her world in it, her entire existence.
        The letter was a long time in the making. On her wall she had a short list. Every few weeks she would add an item to the list, or erase an item that seemed frivolous or unnecessary. Each night before she went to bed she would review her list.
        Now, in September, she sat at her desk and began to craft her letter. She never wrote much, just a sentence or two at each sitting. Each time she would pick up her pencil and hold it between her slight fingers and carefully concentrate on her task at hand. She would complete a line, and then review, revise, and rewrite it. She did this faithfully each night for six weeks until, at last, she had composed a masterpiece. Her work was detailed and precise, friendly yet firm, and honest and sincere. It was obvious her letter came directly from her heart.
Finally, on November 15th she placed her correspondence in a white envelope, neatly addressed it, and put a freshly licked stamp on its right hand corner. She gingerly slipped the letter in the mailbox and raised the red flag erect so the mailman would be sure to collect her mail.
        Each night she would say her prayers and ask the Lord to remember her letter and its contents. She always repeated the letter, in case the Lord forgot what she had written. Then, she would climb into bed and wait on each new day with anticipation.
        She stood at the window looking down the sun drenched street, but seeing only the blue shirted bowlegged postman as he slowly made his way from house to house, the bulging post bag bouncing heavily on his hip. When he stopped at her gate her heart nearly skipped a beat. As soon as he left, she traveled as fast as her legs could carry her and reached into the mailbox. She examined each piece of mail looking for the one addressed to her. There was nothing except the letter she had sent to Santa so long ago, which had now made its way back to her mailbox.
        Dejected, she returned to her house. She sat on stairs and began to cry, the big, shiny tears falling from her enormous brown eyes. She opened her letter:
        “Dear Santa,” it said. “I’ve been very good this year. I have been nice to my brother. I did well in school, too. I do not want any new toys for Christmas. I do not want new clothes. I want my daddy to stop making my mommy cry. He is hurting her and you are the only person who can help. Please do this for me. And send my brother a new power ranger toy. Love, Jamie.”
        It was December 24 and, returned letter in hand, Jamie wondered if she would get the Christmas gift she had so earnestly hoped for.

© 2002 Howard University
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse, Prose & Art, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2002. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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