When I was small, my friends and I all believed in Santa Claus. We believed in the existence of what we called the real Santa Claus, and throughout the year, we often talked about him. The conversation typically started by one of us declaring that they had seen Santa Claus.
“Are you sure that it was the real Santa Claus?” Somebody would implore. “Because I have seen the real Santa Claus! I can tell you he was real because…”
And from there, a heated discussion would begin about who had actually seen the real Santa Claus.
One day, I was playing with my two best friends as usual, and one of them casually mentioned that she had seen Santa Claus last Christmas.
“How do you know that he was the real Santa Claus?” I quickly implored. “Maybe he was a fake one.”
“No, I know he was real because I saw him with my own eyes.”
“Well,” my friend took a breath, her expression becoming a little proud. “On the night of Christmas, I didn’t sleep. I kept my eyes open, and I saw Santa Claus in red clothes placing the presents under the tree!”
On the night of Christmas, I was fast asleep as usual. I hadn’t even thought of staying up to witness the arrival of Santa Claus. My friend was clever to have kept her eyes open during that special night, I thought. But not wanting to admit that, I enquired further.
“But you aren’t supposed to be awake on the Christmas night!” My voice was slightly raised. “Santa Claus only leaves the presents if you are asleep!”
“My eyes were open only a little bit,” my friend said calmly. “Because I wanted to look like I was sleeping. But I definitely saw him! With my own eyes!”
My other friend looked impressed by her story. To be honest, I was also impressed. There was no doubt that what my friend saw was the real Santa Claus. What a pity that I had missed the chance to witness him! In that moment, I felt so regretful that I had to say something to save my pride.
“You know, I also saw the real Santa Claus.”
“When?” My friends asked me.
“When I was one year old.”
When I was one year old, just before Christmas time, I was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to the hospital. While I was there, Santa Claus came to greet all the children, and he handed out a small gift to everybody. I got an orange-coloured bracelet. The experience was so special that the scene had vividly stayed in my mind.
Although my story was far less impressive than my friend’s story, it was also received as an evidence of my encounter with the real Santa Claus. After that, we started talking about something else and the heated competition around the real Santa Claus was over for now.