There comes a time in a child’s life, when they are forced to grow up suddenly. All dreams of becoming a superhero one day, and random stories from raging vivid imaginations are shattered at the realisation that Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny do not exist.
I was ten when the pin dropped. For years my younger brother and I had been giving Santa a bottle of beer and some biscuits, because Dad said he’d like that. One year, I thought Santa deserved a bit more. So I went shopping in the pantry and collected useless edible treats. I piled them up and presented them on a table with a letter for Santa, along with a bottle of home brew. The next day, the beer was consumed, the biscuit crumbs were sprinkled across the plate, and the groceries had vanished.
A week later, I had discovered the exact same jelly crystals packet, back in the cupboard. A few cogs clicked in my brain, and then a light bulb shone above my head.
I felt furious, betrayed, and sad. So I confronted Mum and Dad. I told them about my packet o jelly discovery. There was no denial. I still thought there was some hope, and asked whether it was the same for the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy. They nodded in unison. At that moment a little angel died and fell out of the sky, in my mind.
There was no denial. Dad said “Don’t tell your brother; otherwise you won’t get Santa anymore.” No more Santa? I couldn’t imagine life without a bulging stocking anymore on December 25th.
A year later, my younger brother and I were waiting for the school bus. A vindictive classmate mentioned that there was no Santa. George looked at me in horror. “Is this true?” I shook my head and did the best cover-up job that I could. After all, years of bounty were at stake. And besides, I was just following my parent’s teachings of lying about the reality of a fictitious bringer of joy.
Finding out about the dirty deceit is your first real heartbreak. An indication that life isn’t all sugar-coated cupcakes on a marshmallow cloud. But I loved those moments of innocence, thinking that anything and everything is possible. Santa can fly around the whole world in a single night, and give everyone gifts down chimneys that they may or may not have. That the Easter Bunny thinks that you deserve a whole lot of chocolate in the shape of itself or in egg form, and that the Tooth Fairy wants to give you money for your crusty little tooth.
I actually started banking all of my loose teeth, hoping to cash them all in one go. Because as we got older, inflation kicked in too. No longer were we given 20c (to ironically go and buy tooth-rotting lollies), but $2 instead. My kitty of pearly whites never made it to the bedside table. In fact, I wonder how much I’d get for them now. I’m probably sitting on a gold mine, because I still have a baby tooth too. Oh, if only you were real Tooth Fairy…
I wonder what it would be like if Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were real. Would we receive gifts as adults, or would there be a cut-off age? Would our adult imaginations be random and anything is possible? Would we have a restored faith in the world? Who knows, but I secretly wish I didn’t find that packet of jelly crystals.