'Mom, comy hang the starr!' cried little Tom, holding the golden star with his two hands like it was 50kg heavier than him. 'Hey…put that star down, you don't want it dropping on your feet!' Ruth cried out to her five-year-old, pouring the strawberry flavored cake batter into the star-shaped baking tin. A star-shaped cake for dessert was the tradition for the family. 'Come on, Go upstairs and call your sister to come help with the carrots, will you?'
'Okeykey mommy,' he ran up the stairs all excited and cheery.
'Apreel! Apreel! Apreel?' his cute little eyes dropped in amazement at what he saw in his sister's room.
Her bed, so untidy, and wet paper towels littered the ground like it was a two-year old's playroom. 'Go away, Tom,' her muffled voice spoke finally, from under the sheets.
Tom moved closer to her bed and opened the top sheet. 'Are you crying water, Apreel? Cake a-coming!' he threw his batter-stained hands to gesticulate.
'I don't want cake, I don't want you, I don't want anything, just leave!!!' the twelve-year old's scream at the little boy frightened him so much that it forced cold, innocent tears from his eyes.
Now, the cry was uncontrollable. He practically set the whole house on fire as he ran away from April's room, down to the stairs. A sorry April followed him but he was too fast for her pace. Tom, now facing the Christmas tree in the living room, began to tear down the lights from the Christmas tree in paediatric fury.
'What's that noise...? Stop it Tom!' Ruth took a peep from the kitchen and paced towards the angry child.
April was downstairs too, in her pink pyjamas and her eyes, swollen from crying all day. 'What'd you do to your brother, April?'
'I…I did nothing, he was just all over me!' her shaky voice protested. Ruth drew the crying child closer to her, not minding the batter painted apron she wore, this made Tom a little less loud as he hugged her tightly in return.
'I hate Christmas!' April finally broke the silence.
'What!? you've always loved Christmas!'
'Dad's not here to spend time with us and…and my phone is so bad, I cannot even make a phone call and I hate star-shaped cakes! It's supposed to be Christmas!' she folded her arms to her chest and made an angry face.
Ruth understood what was going on so she released Tom from her hold and moved closer to April.
'Baby, I understand how you're feeling but you see, Christmas is not always about what's happening on the outside, it begins from the inside. I know you, and I know you have such a beautiful and pure heart but everything around you seeks to contaminate that and that is why you are so upset and angry. Find peace with yourself, find light in your heart again, and then share it with others. This is what Christmas is really about'
'Find peace with myself? Where? How?'
'You have a candle in your heart, just light it up,' this time, Ruth arranged the light bulbs back onto the tree and April joined in. 'Slowly, like this, your life will be filled with light and you can share with others'.
'Mommy, the starrrr!' Tom hollered with excitement.
'Right, the star,' she giggled along.
'Okay, I get it now, it's not so much about what I have around me, it's what I got inside of me, so I gotta clean my heart up and let the real me show, the full light shine!' she took a deep breath that lasted about 60seconds and hugged her mom tight. Tom joined in the hug with his little body.
'K guys, we got some Cake distribution to do as everybody on the alley gets cake from me!' April dismantled the hug link, dancing and whooping around.
'Now, it's time to hang the star, April,' She nominated, handing the star to April in a slow motion.
'Hoot! Hoot!' the sound of a truck broke the short silence.
'That's Daddy's biggy!' Tom ran outside and the ladies followed.
'Dad!!!' April could not contain her joy as she jumped over him in his camo jacket and khaki shorts.
'The war ended faster than expected so Christmas just started my babies!' his baritone voice melted Ruth's heart over again.
'No dad, Christmas started minutes ago….in my heart,' she winked at her mother.
'Oh-ho! Well, Santa came early this year then,' he brought out a white box with a red ribbon tied over it and handed it to her.
'Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! It's an iPhone 11!!! Mom!' she danced around and screamed along.
'Whoa! I am so excited for you, you know what they say, Just have a little faith!' Ruth enthusiastically added.
'hehehe, lituu faith!' Tom emphasized with his little fingers and squeezed his tiny eyes.
'Family selfie, everyone!?' shot!