Not So Secret Santa
Writing Prompt: Yes
Date: 12th Dec 2021
As the jingling bells over the door rang, Sahara stepped into the random shop to get out of the cold New York weather. It was a particularly biting cold that morning, but not yet the wintery mix that would be coming in the weeks ahead.
”Welcome, oh my–”, the elderly woman’s voice was warm and inviting, but at the mere sight of Sahara, there was a sudden tinge of apprehension. She was just the kind of person that made her completely uncomfortable. ”Come in out of the cold, young lady! Can I help you find anything?”
Can’t anyone just leave me alone? Sahara silently wondered. But she smiled warmly. Looking around, she noticed she had accidentally wandered into some sort of boutique game and toy shop. ”Yea, I’m uh–I guess I’m looking for a Secret Santa gift for someone–”
The elderly woman clasped her hands over her heart as she looked at the pretty blonde that was clearly underdressed for the weather. ”It warms my heart when you youngins come in here looking for something out of love and compassion for your family or friends, rather than going to one of those bigger stores, though I must say, I wasn’t expecting you. You know, you really should be dressing warmer, young lady. You kids are showing all that skin today!”
Sahara scrunched her nose, though the woman’s comment about it being her went completely over her head. The old coot may have been out of touch, but she wasn’t wrong. It was cold out there, and she was cold. Obviously. There really was no need to be dressed this way considering the weather, but she hadn’t planned on walking very far from the tower on this day. She shook it off and went back to the elderly woman’s other point. ”Yeah, umm, I’m totes shopping out of compassion. Look, the person I’m buying this for, I mean, isn’t the worst, I guess. I just … I figured I wasn’t doing anything else and I had some time to burn, so I may as well get this outta the way before I forget–”
The elderly woman gave her a knowing smile, ”Or you realized it was colder than you expected and this just happened to be the nearest store–”
Sahara sighed, “Alright, you got me!” She held her hands up, as if caught red-handed. ”But now that I’m here – and it’s warm – I may as well just pick something and get it outta the way.”
The woman somewhat laughed. ”Alright. Feel free to look around then! And be gentle! I got my eyes on you.”
Sahara’s brow furrowed at the warning as she continued pursuing the various antique merchandise.”What? Do I not look gentle?” ”I live in New York, sweetie. Not in a cave. I know who you are. I knew the second you walked in here with that hair as bright as the North star. Serena is it? No. Sahara! That’s the one! My grandsons loooove you. Though they are at that age where of course they love someone like you. One of them even has poster of you, half naked on his ceiling. I wonder what that could be for…”
This made Sahara laugh, as she fully understood the sorts of male fans that adored her. ”Look, I um–”
”Relax, despite my age, I’m no prude. I said I had grandsons, didn’t I? I remember what it’s like to be young.” The elderly woman sighed, ”But I have heard some of the things you say with that potty mouth of yours.””Yeah, well, it is a rated R product, and your grandons sound like my demographic anyway–” ”Rated R? Sure. Or in your case, X.”
Sahara sputtered and she did a double take toward the store clerk, ”Did you just–”
The woman looked away from what she was doing and stared down her nose at Sahara. For some reason, this made her feel like she was getting scolded by her own grandmother. “You really should be more careful, young lady. There are a lot of impressionable kids out there that watch you and your friends, whether they should be or not. You put it out there, expect people to talk–””Do you not want me here, or–?” ”You have a voice. You could be making a difference, instead … well, you dress like that so adolescent boys have to adjust their trousers.”
Sahara paused a few moments, contemplating her feelings. Finally, she laughed. ”Ya know what?” Sahara pointed at the elderly woman. ”I like you. I imagine I won’t be much different someday…you say what you mean, and you mean what you say. I gotta respect that. And I dress like this because I’m proud of my body. This isn’t 1920, lady, it’s 2021, and I’m sure as hell gonna show off what I got while I got it. Hey, tell ya what. How about we take a selfie, I put it on Instagram or something and tag your grandons, so they can see they got the coolest grandma in the world? And then you help me pick something out for my secret santa?”
The woman seemed to contemplate this for a moment. ”You aren’t going to do anything weird, in the photo, right?””Well, I could pretend I’m gonna lick your face while looking into the camera, show those boys grandma ain’t no prude–” ”Do that! They’ll think I’m crazy!” ”Did I mention that I liked you? You’re wild…”
After sharing a bit of a laugh, Sahara did as promised, and the elderly woman in turn, helped her pick out a gift for her Secret Santa.
After looking around the store, Sahara’s eyes had become fixated on a plush she remembered from her own childhood. A time of innocence. A time before wrestling. Besides, even if it was a small thing, it’s the thought that counts. And maybe … just maybe she’d appreciate that.