A Sprinkling Of Magic
Poor Emily needed some Christmas magic, but she never thought she’d find it in the shopping centre
Are you sure you don’t mind looking after Oliver?” I asked my sister, Caitlin, as I followed my four-year-old son into her living room. “You must have loads to do before your holiday.”
“Honestly, it’s no problem, Emily,” she reassured me. “Anyway,” she added, lowering her voice to a whisper, “you can’t buy Oliver’s Christmas presents while he’s with you.”
I had to admit I was looking forward to browsing around the shops on my own and soaking up a little festive atmosphere. Having to juggle a part-time job with looking after Oliver didn’t leave me much free time.
Besides, Oliver loved spending time with Caitlin. She was great with children. She helped out at the Sunday school and holiday camps run by the church that she and her husband attended and, occasionally, Oliver and I went with them.
“Don’t forget the fairy dust, Mummy.” Oliver’s voice broke into my thoughts.
I glanced at Caitlin and she giggled. “It was mentioned in a story I read to Oliver. Apparently, if you sprinkle the dust around the house on Christmas Eve all your wishes will come true.”
I could certainly do with a little magic in my life right now, I mused as I drove to the shopping centre. Both my parents were dead and Oliver’s father had left shortly after he was born.
Being a single parent wasn’t easy and I couldn’t have coped without Caitlin’s help. But this Christmas would be particularly hard as she and her husband, Jeff, were going to Canada to visit Jeff’s sister. So, Oliver and I would be spending Christmas Day on our own.
As I wandered around the toy shop, searching for the items on Oliver’s letter to Santa, my spirits lifted as I sang along to the well-known carols which rang throughout the store.
I was still humming WeThreeKings, two hours later, as I pushed my trolley to the car park. Studying my bags and feeling delighted that I’d managed to afford everything on Oliver’s list, I didn’t see the man steering his trolley in my direction. Our trolleys collided and two of my bags fell to the ground. The packet of rainbow-coloured fairy dust burst open and spilled on to the car park. “I’m sorry…” I started. “No, it was my fault.” He stooped down to pick up the packages. “I’m sorry about the glitter. I’ll go back to the shop…”
“It was fairy dust for my son,” I interrupted him with a smile. “Don’t worry, I’ll get another packet from the supermarket.”
“Fairy dust, eh?” His green eyes twinkled mischievously. “Well, I’m sure the fairies will scoop it up if they need it.” Handing me the bags, he said, “you’re Caitlin’s sister, aren’t you?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Emily. Yes, that’s right.”
“I’ve seen you and your son at church with Caitlin,” he explained. “I’m Paul, one of the youth workers.” He gestured to his trolley, laden with toys, and pulled a face. “I drew the short straw to buy presents for the kids.”
When I gave the mountain of gifts a quizzical look, he burst out laughing. “Not my children. I don’t have any. I mean the children at church,” he said. “During our service on Christmas morning the adults hand out small gifts to the children. Then later, the older children serve mince pies to adults.” “What a lovely idea.” He nodded. “Everyone enjoys it.” After a short pause, he said, “Why don’t you and your son come along? You’ll be very welcome.”
Before I had a chance to answer, he rushed on, “I’m sorry. You’ve probably got other plans for Christmas Day.”
Suddenly feeling warmed by the idea, I shook my head. “No. It sounds like fun. We’d love to come.”
“If you’ve time for a coffee, I’ll tell you more about it?” he said, giving me an enchanting smile that made my heart skip a beat.
After unloading our trolleys, we headed for the café. When we passed the spot where the fairy dust had spilled there was no sign of it.
“Look,” Paul said, laughing. “I told you the fairies would scoop it up. They’ve done a good job.”
“They certainly have.” I chuckled to myself. I had a feeling this might turn out to be a magical Christmas, after all.