01 December 2017

I tell Maisie I don’t want anything, but she buys it for me anyway. You’ve never had one before. I never have. I’ve seen them but they’re for little kids. Maisie buys me one anyway.

She's always buying me things. Always, always, always. Every time we go to the shops it’s a little treat for being so well behaved. A little something for being a good boy. I hate it. But I keep the things, secretly. I keep all of them.

The advent calendar looks like this:

Leave it for now, Luke, says Maisie as we get on board the bus. You can open it when we're home. But I don't leave it. There are doors, each one with a little number, but none of them are in order. They're scattered all over the place. Behind the doors, something rattles. I waggle my finger behind the edge of "1" and pop it open.

Luke!says Maisie. I ignore her. Behind the door there's a little blob of chocolate and the words It's the Christmas countdown! I stare at it for a while. I don't know what I was expecting. That's the only one you're allowed to open today, okay?

The chocolate is small and sweet. It's in the shape of a grinning reindeer. I don't chew it. I put it on my tongue and let it melt and the chocolate taste floods through my mouth. The bus rumbles through town. There are lights up everywhere now. Tinsel and decorations and fake snow in all the windows.

I can't stand Christmas. All the niceness. All the gushing, horrible goodness of it. Even with the presents and the food and everything, it just makes me think of Mum, and what she'd say. How she'd hate it too, if she was ever around.

When we get off the bus fifteen minutes later the chocolate is all gone, but I can still taste it in my mouth.

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