||Last Updated: Apr 23, 2009 - 3:25:02 PM
She ran her fingers over his smooth head just as she had always done with his curly brown locks. She remembered the silkiness of his baby-fine hair even though it had been gone for well over a year. His diagnosis had come as an absolute shock to the family. They had always chalked the pain in his leg up to growing pains, but their worst fears were realized when Charlie was diagnosed with cancer.
“You look very handsome today, little man. Are you ready to meet Santa Claus?”
Charlie smiled his infectious grin, “Oh yes Mommy. I can’t wait to ask him for my Christmas gift!”
“Do you think you’ve been a good boy this year?”
Charlie thought for a moment. “Yes. I kept my room clean, I fed Jasper and I listened to you and Daddy…almost all the time.”
She laughed and hugged him tightly. “You were a very good and strong and brave boy this year. What are you going to ask Santa for?”
Charlie looked into his mother’s eyes and slowly shook his head, “I can’t tell you Mommy, or my wish won’t come true.”
With that, the doorbell rang and Charlie slid off the couch and limped to get the door. He flung open the door, “Santa!”
The man laughed a deep hearty rumble and his stomach shook, well like a bowl full of jelly. “I get that all the time.” He held out his large plump hand and shook Charlie’s miniature mit. My name is Nick and I am a reporter from The Daniel Island News. I am here to interview Santa Claus. Has the big man arrived?”
Charlie laughed, “I think you are the big man!”
Nick looked at Charlie with a twinkle in his blue eyes and once again laughed like Santa Claus.
“May I ask you a few questions before Santa arrives?”
“Am I going to be in the paper?” Charlie asked.
“Yes Charlie, I am going to get pictures and interview you and Santa Claus.”
“Wow, my friends will never believe how lucky I am.”
Tears filled his mother’s eyes and she smiled through them at her boy. “Mr. Nick, what would you like to know?”
He scratched his thick white beard. “Well Charlie, what are you going to ask Santa Claus for this year?”
“Mr. Nick, I’m sorry, but Charlie told me that he will only tell Santa Claus his wish, or it may not come true.”
Nick shook his head, “Oh I understand. That is very wise of you Charlie.”
Charlie looked carefully into Nick’s face and quickly said, “I think it will be okay to tell Mr. Nick, he looks like he can keep a secret.”
Nick laughed his boisterous laugh again. “Apparently, he hasn’t had much experience with reporters.”
Before he could finish his sentence, Charlie was on his lap whispering in his ear. While there were no elves and no red velvet suit, a truer picture of Santa Claus was never seen.
Nick listened intently to Charlie. “That is a very big wish young man, have you been a good boy this year?”
“Oh yes Mr. Nick, do you think Santa can make my wish come true?”
“We will ask him when he gets here Charlie.”
The doorbell rang again and in came the man in the red suit.
“Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas,” he shouted. He had a bag full of gifts and swept Charlie up into his arms.
“You must be Charlie”
“You must be Santa Claus,” Charlie said and he looked at Nick again and winked.
Charlie sat on Santa’s lap and once again whispered his wish. Santa nodded his head and gave Charlie several gifts from his overflowing bag. Charlie got five Power Rangers, a Spiderman web thrower and a remote control truck. He was smiling from ear to ear and playing with his toys as Nick interviewed Santa Claus.
“Mr. Claus, it is very special for you to visit a child at their house before Christmas day, how was Charlie so lucky?”
“I have some very good friends at The Make A Wish Foundation…and Charlie’s wish was to meet me. I could never disappoint such a brave and good young man.”
“Can you grant him his Christmas wish this year, Mr. Claus?”
Santa smiled, “I will certainly try.”
Charlie gave Santa one final hug and he left to return to the North Pole. As he walked out the door, Charlie turned to Nick and said, “Was he the real Santa Claus?”
“Charlie, my boy, I guarantee that you met the real Santa today and the real Santa will make your wish come true!”
Charlie hugged Nick as well and went to bed a very happy little boy.
The phone rang early the next morning. It was MUSC calling with Charlie’s test results. For the first time in eighteen months, he was cancer free.
The headline in the Daniel Island News that morning read, “Santa Grants The First Wish of Christmas” by Nick Saint.