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  • Writer's pictureAdam Xu

All I Want For Christmas

Style: N/A.

Statement: N/A.

Snare drums, jingle bells, non-alcoholic beer

and Mariah Carey’s sharp falsetto voice

fill the classroom with Christmas cheer.

By the board, my classmates rejoice:

I watch a mosaic of sneakers and skater shoes

tap along to that nauseating, overplayed tune.

enjoying it back here?

yeah, really the same as usual

you know it’s only you, right? everyone else is up front.

uh, yeah, i guess so.

did she just look at you?




the one in the red sweater. you didn’t see the momentary glance, the fleeting second of pity, the—

jesus! okay. i’ll move up.

I’m a master of timing. Wait until their

backs turn, their attentions sway,

or their eyes drift off elsewhere—

then gently, oh so gently, tip-toe my way

toward a red-clothed tabletop. It’s adorned with

a sharpie-scrawled ‘secret santa’ and small gifts.

well done! i don’t think anyone noticed.

thanks, that was kind of what i was going for

wait. why’s my name on the table?

everyone’s supposed to get a gift today

oh. but my name doesn’t have anything by it.

i guess you didn’t get one.


It’s not a big deal. How are you supposed

to get a gift for someone who barely exists?

It doesn’t really bother me. I’m relaxed. Composed.

Who cares? I’ll just stand here. With curled fists.

It’s no biggie. I’m forgettable. It was probably

forgotten. So I’ll just stand here. With no gift, oddly.

so why didn’t you get a gift

i don’t know

a mix-up with another student?

could be

maybe it just slipped their mind


or they couldn’t think of what to get you



you’re just a complete weirdo,

and everyone knows you’re a freak,

including your ‘secret santa’

and even they know that




a dollar tree gift


well, if that’s the case,

It’s all thanks to you. Thanks to when you

press my chin into my neck, breaking gazes

and pitching my eyes away from anyone but you.

When you grasp at my legs, pulling me away

into discreet crannies and corners.

You know, you’re kind of a lousy demon.

Where’s the spiritual power? The possession?

The glowing eyes, screaming children,

horrified scientists recording their impressions?

All you do is mutter in my ear and drag me

down. Maybe I just need to stop listening?

where’s your clever response?



I turn on my feet. My eyes meet a bright

red Christmas sweater with locks of brown

hair draping down its embroidered sides.

Cold runs down my back. Oh, God, calm down:

yet my legs tremble. My eyes, they avert,

and just standing there, my ribcage exerts—

in, out, in out

“I’m your secret Santa. I was waiting for you to come up here before giving you your gift. I’m glad you did.”

“Oh. T-thanks.”

She slides an oblique red box into my hand.

I can’t tell what it is, but whatever it is,

it doesn’t matter, no matter how bland

or generic because to be completely honest,

whatever it is, it’s all I really wanted for Christmas.



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