Something was up. And the matron knew it. She noticed every time the little girl’s feet slipped through the cracks and merged with the background. She was impossible to catch. And the matron’s old bones gave way every time she tried to follow her tracks. She was always too fast. And there was always something fishy. The little girl had a notorious reputation to hold up. Her mischiefs were varied and ranged from hiding chocolates in her bunk bed to developing a secret committee that conspired to break into the pantry after midnight. But one glance at her and the matron would have a twinkle in her eye. So it was even more discomforting for her to know that she was up to something again.
These thoughts crept into her mind as she sat on her rocking chair, pretending to read a book. It was midnight when she looked out of the window, only to catch a shadow lurk past. The silhouette looked familiar. And a sudden fear gripped her senses. She rose up and followed it in haste. A drop of sweat broke on her forehead as she saw the figure running ahead of her. It was her favourite girl. She broke into a run, her heavy footsteps alerting the girl. “STOP!” She screamed. And obeying the order screamed out at her, the girl stopped. There was pin drop silence that made the matron hear her own heart beat as she approached her. She held her tiny shoulders and turned her around to face her. The little girl had a smile on her face, a mischievous one too. The matron was confused, not knowing what to say. The girl put a finger to her lips and opened a door that happened to be right behind her.
There was a blinding darkness inside. She put on a light and the matron’s eyes widened to grasp what she had seen. The room was filled with beautiful fairy lights and in the centre, there stood a large Christmas tree. The girl had collected ribbons and buttons, cut out newspapers and magazines to create decorations that bedecked the tree. And it looked nothing less than a dream. A cup of coffee sat at the table next to the tree. The little hands picked it up and presented it to the matron and said, “This is from all of us who don’t belong to this society. You have made every day as special as Christmas.” Just then, all the kids jumped out of their hiding places and ran towards the matron. There was a magical glitter in the coffee—one that made the matron’s eyes glisten. This year, Christmas at the orphanage had come early. And it was going to be a sparkling affair.