Today, Chloe Stowe is sitting on Santa’s lap.

“What do you want for Christmas, little girl?” Santa asks me, because, yes, I’m still a little girl with big dreams and out of this world wishes.

“I don’t know,” I answer, because there is a lesson to be learned here and if I already knew what it was this whole exercise would be silly... we wouldn’t want that, would we?

“Well, little one,” Santa smiles down wisely at me, “you can have whatever your heart desires.” (I’m imagining Edmund Gwenn as my Santa. I loved the twinkle he always had in his eyes in the original Miracle on 34th Street.) “All you have to do is ask.”

I freeze. Yep, mouth open, words on the tip of the tongue, I freeze.

Santa smiles gently at me. “Just say it, Chloe. Tell me that all you want for Christmas is a normal, healthy mind and it’s yours. No more panic, no more meds. Independence, children, a world without the words “mental illness” being stamped across your brow, it will all be yours.”

And what do I say to this dear sweet man offering me every dream I had long since given up every hope of ever having?...

“No, thank you,” I whisper with big fat tears in my eyes. “Just promise me I won’t get worse, that’s all I ask.”

“But why, Chloe?” Santa’s brow furrows. “Why not have your burden taken away completely?”

I look him straight in the eyes and confess, “Without my “burden,” without my mental illness, I wouldn’t be Chloe Stowe any more. I wouldn’t be me.” I chuckle a little sadly as I add, “And I’d miss me.”

Santa grins and kisses me on the tip of the nose. “I’d miss you, too.”

“Thank you,” I say because really isn’t that what we all want out of life, to be missed just a little when we’re gone?

“Anything else I could give you?” Santa offers before our time runs out.

I grin. “A Johnny Depp – Scott Caan sandwich would be great!” I leave out the part where I’m the meat in the sandwich because, hey, I am a lady and this is Santa Claus we’re talking about.

I’m then hurried off his knee but before I’m whisked away by his helpful elves, he lays a finger on the side of his nose and says, “”Ham” it up, little lady, but don’t sprain yourself. You’ve got blogs to write.”

And there ends my silliness of the day.

Chapter Four: With Wantonness and Ease

 “The days began to roll by in a blur of moments that would only become important after…” (page 55)

Oops. I almost forgot. More silliness coming in the form of my WWII reindeer game of the day…

I imagine Comet to be…

A fighter pilot. With as much daring as skill, he strafes the Austrian skies with gunfire. Anger and a deep-seated hate fuel his every action. Having lost a brother to the first days of the war, Comet’s sole purpose in life now is revenge. But when his plane is torn from the sky over Vienna, will the man who rescues him save more than his life? Will the stranger save Comet’s heart?

Until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe (the little girl perpetually on Santa’s knee)