If you asked me what was my funniest Christmas story, and my brother his worst Christmas story, we’d both give you the same answer.
It all happened when we went to a local mall in in the Christmas of 2001. I was 15 at the time and my little brother was 12. There were a lot of us who went; my sister, 3 other cousins, my mom, and my uncle who was driving. My uncle drove this all purpose vehicle that had space at the back which could sit two. The car’s back opened upward. Don’t worry, this is all relevant to the story.
On Christmas day, my brother and I were the ones seated at the back. Before the car could be parked, my brother and I had to go down first because there was a tree that would block the door after we had parked. It didn’t seem like a detail that merited concern at the time. We were too busy thinking about the movie we were going to watch. For the life of me, I can’t even remember which film it was. All I know is that we went to the mall, watched a movie, bought gifts, ate a lot of food, and it was late when we decided to go back home.
Because of how the car was parked, it was impossible for my brother and I to go back inside without the car moving forward for a few feet. And so, everyone got in except the two of us, and the car left the parking spot. Okay, I thought. Maybe they’ll let us back in once they’re on the driveway. They didn’t stop.
I think it’s a common prank every family does, the fake “we’ll leave you now” trick. As the car reached the curb, they stopped. Very funny, I thought. Then the car started turning. And a few moments later, they were gone. My brother and I were dumbstruck and quiet.
That was when I burst into laughter. I was hugging my sides, thinking about how insanely ridiculous our situation was. My mom left 2/3 of her children in dark parking lot while everyone else who went to the mall was already going home. It was Christmas. My cousins didn’t notice we weren’t there. Also, it was Christmas! Every element of this absurd story had me reeling.
After a good twenty seconds of non-stop laughing, I turned to my younger brother. He face was red, filled with anger that could fuel a sun. He must think that I was insane to laugh at our situation. We were left by our family on a mall parking lot on Christmas day eve. I totally forgot that I was with my 10 year old younger brother whose opinion on the matter may not be the same as mine.
I looked at my brother and told him that everything was going to be okay, that we were just two rides from home, and public transportation were still up and running. I promised him we’d both be home in thirty minutes. He was old enough that I didn’t have to take his hand, so I led the way out of the parking lot and into the main road.
It turned out that we didn’t need to go home by ourselves. We saw the car parked just outside a newly opened Starbucks near the mall’s exit. As we walked toward the car, my uncle and our mother were both walking back to the car, coffee cups in hand.
“When did you guys get off?” our mother asked. To which my brother replied “we didn’t”.
It took a few seconds before our mom realized what they had done. And that’s all I could remember that night. I wish I could say that my mother apologized and hugged us like there was no tomorrow. She probably did, it’s been almost 20 years and the details are hazy. What I do remember that night was instead of getting angry, I chose to laugh at a misfortune.
There have been many times I had been hurt, angry, disappointed, and betrayed in the years that followed that incident. And while I react as to how any other human would react, there are times when the situation is simply so ridiculous that I just have to laugh, like how I left a bag full of belongings in a bus in Puerto Princesa, when I bought a 300 peso ticket going to Siargao not seeing the sign on the next window offering the same ticket for half the price, or that time I broke my phone after celebrating Songkran in Penang. If you can laugh at a situation,
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