“How does Santa even get down the chimney?” Samantha asked, mouth full of cookie crumbs dropping on the red plastic tablecloth.
“Magic. Same way he makes reindeer fly.” Gabby said decidedly.
“But like, how?” Samantha chewed.
I sat and listened to my peers muse over how Santa could eat hundreds of cookies in one night, and if his sleigh was really red.
“What do you think, Rachael?” The girl sitting next to me asked. I took a big bite of my sugar cookie and drank enough milk for the chalky texture to leave the roof of my mouth.
“Santa’s dead,” I spoke up. All sets of eyes stopped and looked at me.
“No, he’s not!” A boy with freckles glared.
I sat up a little straighter, “My mom told me he was a real man, but then he died.” I knew pulling the Mom Card gave me some leverage. They looked at each other in disbelief.
“Santa can’t die!” They agreed.
“Besides, who gives the whole world presents then?” The freckled boy smugly asked.
One girl rallied the group. “Rachael’s a liar!” She shouted.
“I’m not lying.” I sank in my chair.
“Rachael hates Santa!” The freckled boy pointed at me.
I was ambushed, and no one believed me. I was a lone soldier in this winter war for truth, and before snack time was over, I had become the most unpopular person at my table. I gripped the sides of my chair as they iced me out and continued their festive conversation.