It was now winter. Temperatures were below freezing most days, calling for heavy jackets, hats and gloves. Kylie and her brother would always build a snowman and a snow dog; they’d dress them up in hats and scarves too. Twas the night before Christmas Day, and snow was in the forecast. Kylie’s dad was trying to wrap the last of their family’s presents; their family was small as it was only Kylie, her brother and sometimes Kylie’s dad’s sister would come over with her son Jordan. Jordan was 14, two years older than Brandon. Kylie’s grandpa lived with her aunt, so he would come too.
“Hey dad I can help you finish that up – ”
“Oh look! It’s beginning to snow!” Kylie’s dad says and he sees his daughter form a smile looking out the large bay window.
“I can manage the wrapping, go have fun with your brother. Maybe Corinne will come over too!”
Kylie ran up to her room in search of her snow gear. She grabbed gloves, two hats and two scarves. Brandon was already outside waiting.
“C’mon!! Let’s get building,” Brandon yelled as his sister ran out their front door.
Kylie kept running down the street. She saw the tree, and its one remaining leaf.
“Heyyy!!!!! Tree!” she yelled and fell into a whisper assuring that no human heard her.
The tree branches started to move; maybe from the wind, but maybe not. While Kylie was rattling her teeth, she kept calling for the tree; no answer. Finally, Kylie went up to the tree and wrapped a scarf around it as well as putting her hat on one of the branches. She began to walk away when she heard a voice.
“Th-th-thank you, Kylie,” the tree whispered while acquiring frostbite.
“I know how cold it is.”
“Wh-wh-when it gets cold like this my branches start to fr-fr-freeze and I can’t move. I apologize. Sometimes trees successfully make it through the w-w-winter, and sometimes we don’t. I am twelve years old, and surpassed my time.”
“NO! You can’t be right! Is there anything I can do?”
“I thank you for your kindness, and for believing in me. A tree’s life span is out of my control and out of yours as well.”
Kylie peered at the single leaf on the tree as it started to glow. “Why is there one leaf on you?”
“Th-th- this is a wishing leaf. Whoever picks this last leaf can make a w-w-wish, and who knows it may or may n-n-not come true—”
The tree started to shiver excessively, and the snow was forming icicles on the branches. Kylie quickly picked the last leaf and sat on the curb beside the tree. She fell into a deep thought and closed her eyes. After a while, Kylie put the leaf in her pocket, smiled at the tree and ran home.
“Where were you?! I had to roll all the snowballs by myself, but thankfully Corinne came to the rescue!” Brandon told his sister.
Corinne smiled at Kylie, and Kylie nodded her head, thanking her friend. Kylie then joined her brother and Corinne in making the best snow person yet.
After about an hour, Corinne drove home, and it was baking time. Kylie’s family had a tradition of baking snickerdoodles every Christmas Eve. They would put snowflake shaped sprinkles on them and even Grandpa helped. The snickerdoodles were made, the pajamas were on, and all of the presents were wrapped. Kylie hugged her family goodnight and headed to her room. She reached in her coat pocket to retrieve the leaf, but it was not there.
“Hm. It must’ve fell out…” she thought to herself.
Madison Starinieri is a student majoring in English Education and Special Education. MS882527@wcupa.edu