New Year's Treat
New year has come! Joyfully excited aunt Andraea already had her more than 40 gifts of candies and cash ready for children to come for. Every year, kids knock on the doors of their uncles and aunts to wish for new year’s blessings. Andraea loved the children, so she was very ready and enthused about it. All she had to do is wait for children to come and knock on her door so she could greet them and give them gifts.
Past 10 in the morning, none yet had come. She took a peek outside and noticed that there are less kids roaming around than she thought. She got worried and asked her eldest sibling, Andelle. “Sister, where could the children be?”, “I am sorry for you must have been waiting, but the kids are still getting ready, half are still asleep. We had a blast last night, didn’t you hear? I was worried you didn’t come,” says her sister, who was in their great grandmother’s home where the family reunion point was.
“Yeah, I was up all night making and wrapping gifts. Sorry I couldn’t come to the party,” she said and hung up. Now that she heard that the children are just a bit late, her mood lightened up once again and waited merrily for them.
Half-way to 1 p.m., no one had still knocked. Andraea was frustrated. As she peeks at the window, she saw some purposely ignore her house. She was in the verge of crying. Then, Bruce, Andelle’s youngest child, came in front of the door. He was only three years old, and this is his first time ever meeting some of his uncles and aunts, including Andraea. She was so happy to see him, and her happiness climbed even higher when his sister older by a year, Brianna, also came behind him. She rushed to get two gifts for them.
When she was about to open the door, she heard them talking. “Don’t bother knocking. She’s probably not home again,” Andraea froze. “But momma said an aunt in here…?”, “She might be running away again! Just like she did last year,” that was right. “She must’ve been scared to be asked for blessings again!” last year, “Maymay, our cousin, said that once an uncle or aunt doesn’t show up in a year, they’ll never show up again,” Andraea wasn’t there. “Let’s go before the other homes run out.” Andraea listened to their footsteps as they slowly fade away. She looked outside watching the children ignore as if her house was never there. Whenever she sharpens her ears, she does hear rumors about her and the house, all because of what happened last year.
Last year, precisely three hundred and sixty-six days ago, it was the night before new year. Late at night, Andraea was headed home from shopping new year's gifts. She was rushing on her bike for she still had to wrap them up before the day comes. Through the streets, she saw lots of drunk people. Some were troublesomely driving. She had to be careful, or she’ll get into an accident. That, she actually did. It was fatal. Her bike and all the gifts were stolen, too. Before she knew it, it was sixth of January. She was laying somewhere an unfamiliar ceiling was, in the hospital. It was all she saw after she woke up, hearing faints voices of people talking beside her.
Tick… Tock… Tick… Tock…
Andraea’s horrific past came back to her. As the outside world gets noisier, her house gets quieter. She was sitting by the window, got her knees up to her nose, rocking herself back and forth. Her ears are covered as she unconsciously scratched her head. As her house becomes hollow, her head gets more and more chaotic.
Yes, it was a total chaos. Her head, that accident, those kids’ perspective, her head.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Andraea had no idea about how much time had passed.
That day… those were her special gifts. “She would need a few more months here for recover.,”
‘Sister...? Where am I?’ , "Andi?! Doc, she's awake!"
“HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!”
‘Darn, these drunkards! It’s very dangerous, so why should they drive?!’ her world is very chaotic. “Hey, that house is the empty house!”
She was sitting by the window, got her knees up to her nose, rocking herself back and forth.
“It is very unfortunate for her. She seemed to be more emotionally unstable than we thought. Anything can be her sadness or joy.”
“She’s probably running away again!”
The outside world was jolly. But Andraea’s house is very quiet. Only the sound of the clock is all that can be heard.
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
She hears lots of voices and noises in her heard, however.
“But we thought she’s all cured!”, “Ma’am, I am sorry about your kid sister, but if she doesn’t want to take the pills, then all we can do is to isolate her from solitude”, “She’s still 10! There has to be some way, please!”
“Hey! Get the bike! I can use this as gift to my nephew to ditch that I didn’t actually buy him a gift! Hurry, before she woke up!”
The sound of the clock goes faster and louder. Without her notice, her eyes were red from crying, her head was bleeding, and the sun was about to set. Suddenly, she froze without making a sound. “Do you wanna knock on aunt Andi’s house? Maybe she’s home this year,” says a child. Andraea heard her, but she didn’t react. “Maybe, but I don’t wanna receive weird toys again. Last last year, all kids received toy guns, boys and girls, with weirdly hurtful bullets. You don’t wanna go on toy war with anyone actually getting hurt, right?” Andraea was somehow calm when she looked at the window, but found the kids gone long after.
She stood up, and head to the table where all her presents were. Aside from the gifts, there was also a picture of her with her ex-boyfriend, a form saying she’s infertile, a box of anxiety pills, a few fake candles, “Haha, not all of them were toys,” and an actual gun.
She picked it up and pointed it on her right temple. “I’m sorry, Andelle. Here, I’m 28, but still can’t change a thing. Ever since I was born, I was a burden to you, and couldn’t help you like AJ or Anthony did. I probably still am a burden even after I die. I’m sorry,” one last drop of tear fell, as everything around her falls off and collapses.
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