How Sam Wished: A Christmas Story
It was about 1:00 A.M. on Christmas Eve and light snow was falling, occasionally settling on Sam's face like delicate, icy kisses. He had lost track of how long he had been standing in front of the small town's only department store, mesmerized by the holiday scene on the other side of the large plate glass window. He couldn't help but think of his own family as he watched the repetitive, mechanical movements of the happy mannequin couple and two boys handing presents to each other in front of a faux fireplace and a twinkling Christmas tree. How Sam wished his mom was alive and all of them could be home together tonight, like all of the other families that the other kids at school complained about. He wouldn't complain. He wouldn't even care if there were presents or not. Being together would be enough. Being together would be everything.
But his mother wasn't alive and he knew that was never going to change. He also knew that his dad had tried in the past to make Christmas a happy time for him and Dean, taking them with him to spend the holiday with close friends like Pastor Jim or Caleb. Sam lived for those moments, knowing that it wouldn't be long before they returned to their unrelenting routine of hunting. Christmas was a time that was very difficult for his dad, he knew that too, because it had apparently been one of his mom's favorites. Sam didn't miss that his dad's smile never quite reached his eyes, as if it did, it would be to admit that happiness existed in a world where Mary no longer did.
The three of them hadn't even celebrated Christmas for the past few years now, and Sam had no money for gifts this year even if he wanted to try. He had managed to save fifty bucks, but Dean had needed it to get into the card game at the bar around the corner. A bouncer had quickly ejected Sam after he attempted to follow his older brother inside, but Sam couldn't bear to return to their latest depressing motel room. Usually he found it peaceful to wander around alone. It gave him time for introspection, a luxury in the hunting business where survival was the paramount concern. However, tonight was different. Tonight, alone felt...lonely.
His dad hadn't even checked in with them since two days ago. Maybe he had forgotten it was Christmas, but then again, maybe he hadn't. Sam thought about something his father had told him recently and decided on the latter.
"Don't dwell on the things that you can't change, Sam. Life doesn't stop for the memories. Believe me; I've learned that lesson the hard way."
Sam took his hand out of his pocket to wipe the snowflakes off of his face and was shocked to discover that the wetness was tears. He wiped them away quickly and turned from the window. He was suddenly hit with how cold the night had become and he decided to take a walk around the block to warm up. As he walked down the sidewalk of the deserted street, he thought about how the next couple of days would probably go. He would meet Dean in about an hour and his older brother would proudly show him the wad of money that he won. Dean would talk on and on about the card game, about the girls that undressed him with their eyes, and about the fights he almost got into. Finally, because Sam wouldn't bring it up, Dean would ask if their dad had called. Sam would shake his head and Dean would shut down. Dean would sleep most of the next day, get up late in the afternoon, and then go back to the bar for another marathon card game. They would go through the same routine again and Christmas would pass like today, like any other day. Their dad would call the next day or two after that as if it was no big deal. Everyone avoiding the elephant in the room. Their family had been broken that night Sam was six months old and their mother was murdered by something unexplainable. Their dad had tried to gather up the pieces the best that he could and Sam loved him for it. How Sam wished the voice in his head didn't keep telling him that it was somehow all of his fault and that his dad was avoiding him on purpose.
"Well, hello there," a women's gentle voice called out to him, interrupting his thoughts.
Sam paused, noticing for the first time that there was a woman sitting on the wooden bench under the streetlight. Little of her was visible from beneath her stark white hooded cloak and she almost blended into the snow covered landscape around them.
"Uh, hi," Sam said, unsure if he should stop or keep walking.
"Have a seat next to me for a moment, won't you?" she asked. "I won't bite, not unless you're made of chocolate," she said with a laugh.
Sam smiled and sat down on the edge of the bench. He didn't know why he was even considering talking to a complete stranger, as it was one of the many things that his dad had told him not to do. But then again, his dad wasn't there, and he was so lonely for conversation. He had always enjoyed talking to people. Whereas his brother and dad distinguished one town from the next by whatever supernatural thing they had killed, he remembered them by the stories of the interesting people that he met while staying there.
"It's funny, isn't it?" she asked. "That one day can be both so loved by many and so dreaded by others."
"You mean Christmas?" Sam asked.
"Yes, sweetie," she answered and then paused, as if encouraging him to continue.
"It seems like more people are dreading it then loving it these days. My brother and father are no exception," Sam explained. "Athough avoiding Christmas all together may be more accurate description for them. To dread it would be for them to actually acknowledge an emotion."
"People cope in so many different ways. Pain takes up a lot of room in the heart and for many people, it pushes out everything… and everyone else," she said as she continued to look straight ahead, her hood obscuring all but her pink lips and a lock of wavy blonde hair.
"So does revenge. I don't want to be like that," Sam answered.
"What do you want, honey?" she asked.
Sam looked down at his hands.
"I want my father, my older brother, and I to be a normal family all of the time. My dad isn't even here right now. Lately, we only really function well when we're hun- working," Sam quickly corrected himself.
"Does working take up a lot of you and your family's time?" she asked.
"Yes," Sam answered. "Pretty much all of it. And now that I'm older, I'm expected to fall right in line. I'm graduating from high school next year and I want more for myself, more for our family. I just wish my father and Dean wanted more for themselves too."
"Working instead of interacting with the world and those around you is always easier, but you'll miss the good along the way as well. Sometimes, it takes someone we love to remind us of that," she said.
"I wish they would listen to me, but they treat me like a little kid most of the time," Sam said as he sat back against the bench in frustration.
"Why don't you give it one more try? See if you can infect them with your Christmas spirit. Everything will be okay. You'll see," she said as she placed a soft, warm hand over Sam's. "Angels are watching over you."
"Funny that you should say that. My brother told me that my mother used to tell us that before she put us to be-," Sam began to explain.
"Sam! Hey, Sam!" Sam looked up quickly to see Dean rushing at him waving what Sam knew was money in his hand.
Sam turned back to the woman but she was gone, the spot where she was sitting somehow already covered by at least a half an inch of snow. Now that's strange, Sam thought, but he felt no fear about it. What he did feel was regret that he didn't get a chance to thank her for her thoughtful words, or even get her name.
"You know what, Sammy?" Dean asked as he sat down on the bench next to him. "I got lucky tonight, which means you got lucky too. What do you say we go get some grub? I'm starving!"
Sam smiled as he snatched the wad of money out of Dean's hand.
"Hey!" Dean protested. "What are you doing?"
"Fifty bucks of your winnings is mine and since you won the rest your money with it, I get to tell you how to spend it!" Sam decided as he shoved the money into his coat pocket.
"Oh, really, little brother?" Dean said, unamused. "What do you want to do with it?"
"Christmas is tomorrow, Dean," Sam said, serious now. "I want to celebrate it this year. I want to get gifts for you and for dad. Maybe get a tree for when dad gets back too."
"Sam," Dean began, obviously uncomfortable with the conversation. "Dad, well, dad probably won't make it back in time. He's…working. You know that."
"He's always working. We're always working! Can't we have just one day off? Please, Dean. And you know as well as I do that this isn't just about dad. I know it's hard for you too, but I really need your support on this. I just want us to do this as a family, okay?" Sam asked.
"Sam, come on. Winchesters don't need Christmas cheer and jingle bell fun. Can't we just get drunk instead?" Dean said, avoiding Sam's gaze.
"No more jokes, Dean," Sam said. "Please."
Sam anxiously waited for Dean's answer and was finally awarded with one of Dean's smiles.
"Okay, Sam. I won't wrestle you for the money, this time, and I'll even let you spend my money but I can't promise that dad will-," Dean said before he was interrupted by the ring of his cell phone.
"Hello?" Dean asked as he flipped it open. "Hi, dad!" he said with obvious surprise.
Sam smiled. Looked like it was worth it to wish for things after all.
Thanks for reading and reviewing. Happy holidays everyone!