Happy first of Advent everyone!
To be honest, I’ve been in a state of frenzy all weekend. I’m frantically cramming for my final exam of the year (only 8 more remain… siiiigh), but I had to take some hours off today to get the apartment in order so I could start decorating for Christmas. Two hours in – and keep in mind that this year I’m doing a really sloppy job; not cleaning the bathroom walls and nerdy haven at all – and I am already fed up. There’s stuff everywhere, and a poster fell down because one of the fasteners fell off and well… I just really hate cleaning. Especially when I’m in the middle of it, and should be cramming, and have 45 minutes until I need to be at my dad’s birthday celebration….
So forgive me for not posting this earlier.
This year’s calendar is named “Poinsettia”, and as of yet, I’m not done with it, so it’s going to be interesting and see exactly where it leads. I’ve been wanting to do a story like this one for a while, but never quite dared to. A fair warning that this might be a strange story – and it’s meant to be. Please take it for what it is, and roll with the Christmas magic, alright?
Also! Like I said on Facebook earlier; today is Jaded’s 1 year anniversary! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I had it published already!
It’s been a great year, with lots of sweet feedback from you guys, fanart, meetings, and of course the panel at Kaplah. I just wanna thank you all SO MUCH for being so awesome, and for having picked it up and loved it.
Please, don’t hesitate to drop me a line or two now and then, it really does make my day. 💕
I can’t wait to share my next project with you, and hope you’ll be as excited for that one.
And now, the first candle is lit, and I’m about to sit down and watch my favorite Advent Calendar on DVD.
Without further ado; Here’s Poinsettia.
As a Japanese, Mizuki had no connection with Christmas. He didn’t have any fond memories of frolicking with siblings on Christmas Morning underneath the Christmas tree, wading in a sea of colorful wrapping while competing over who could open the most presents the fastest, or the exhilaration of getting precisely what you wanted – or the disappointment of opening yet another pair of knitted socks from Grandma.
To a certain extent, he was glad.
Glad that he didn’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of the pre-Christmas shopping centers, and that he wasn’t bitten by the bug that had infected everyone else this season. He was glad he hadn’t been brought up to such consumerism and high-maintenance lifestyle. His family was a composed, well-mannered one, spending only what they had to, and little to nothing on unneeded luxury.
For that precise reason, his parents had yet to install an internet connection at home, and still used the same bulky television set they’d had in the 90s. He was used to shopping at bargain stores, and looking for the most reasonable – that meant cheap, alternative at all times.
It wasn’t that they were greedy, not at all, they were just opposed to the senseless spending and the trend of needing this and that at all times.
Mizuki was glad about that too; that his parents had always been so careful with money. How else would he have gotten the opportunity to study abroad?
He now found himself in Europe of all places, studying history. Europe of course, was more than ready for Christmas, even though it was weeks away.
He should probably have been used to it by now, seeing as how Japan had also adopted the tradition of putting up decorations and playing Jingle bells even before Halloween season started – another adopted holiday he didn’t care for.
He was a historian, perhaps not on paper, but in spirit, and he thought there were far more important things in life than consumer holidays that had long since lost their purpose, particularly in countries where it had no roots to begin with.
This had earned him the nickname Scrooge by his friends at university, and he had only halfway understood the joke before catching tidbits of a Christmas movie on tv one night.
As he hurried through the streets full of slush, longing to get back to his modest student accommodation, he almost crashed into a man who was standing in the middle of the street.
“Ah! Excuse me!” he stuttered – still not used to the language. He looked up, and realized he was looking at a rather short, plump man with a white beard, a red suit, and kind, smiling eyes behind a pair of round spectacles.
He’d crashed into Santa Claus. Or someone pretending to be him anyway. Sighing, he pulled himself together and bowed slightly, wishing to get on with his life. His boots were starting to soak through from the slush, and he was cold.
“No problem at all,” the man chuckled heartily. “It’s easy to get ahead of oneself in the Christmas season, isn’t it?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“Are you saying you don’t have any Christmas spirit?” the man almost looked sad.
Mizuki shrugged. “Excuse me but I’d just like to-“
“Wait a moment;” the man in the Santa costume waddled back to a table where there was a big cauldron for some kind of donation, and a big jug full of candy canes. Mizuki considered running off before he was presented with sticky sweets, but didn’t get the time before Santa was back with a package wrapped in cellophane with a big red and glittery bow tied to the top.
“Poinsettia,” he said, “or the Christmas Star if you will.”
“Christmas spirit in a pot! Merry Christmas, Mizuki!” he chuckled again, in that fabricated Ho-ho-ho that all Santa figures were always fronted. Mizuki looked at the package in his hand – it seemed to contain a plant of sorts. It was heavier than expected.
“I don’t ne-“ he looked up, but the man was nowhere to be seen.