“Wow, a new tie! Awesome, thanks, Mom!” Mirza exclaimed, unwrapping a shiny green tie from Macy’s. “This will look great with my blue dress shirt!” He set it aside with his already large pile of received gifts.
Rummaging under the tree, he found a package labeled “To: Dad”. He handed it to his father, where it sat unopened.
“Want some help with that, Pops?” Mirza offered, taking the present back and beginning to unwrap it. “You’re really going to like this one. You’re always saying in your letters how you could never get these in Bosnia.” After all the wrapping paper was removed, the contents of the present were revealed: two large bags of dill pickle-flavored potato chips.
“I knew you would enjoy it! Here, let me top off everybody’s egg nog.” Mirza collected his family’s empty glasses and took them to the kitchen. Humming “Jingle Bells”, he carefully refilled all the glasses and brought them back to the living room. “Here you go!”
There were only a few presents left. Mirza located one that was addressed to him and eagerly ripped apart the wrapping. As the gift was revealed to him in increments, he became more and more excited. Finally, having uncovered it wholly, he exclaimed, “Awesome! A new PS4! You guys are the best!” Tears began to form in his eyes. “I know you don’t have a whole ton of money back home, so this really means a lot to me. And it comes bundled with Killzone: Shadow Fall! I’ll have to plug this baby in as soon as we’re done.”
He went over to hug his parents, the people who gave up so much to enable him to live the life he had now. Extending his arms out to his Dad, his arms enclosed nothing but empty air.
Rapidly, Mirza’s illusion shattered. His parents weren’t here; they never had been here. They wanted to spend Christmas in their home country. Their presents had been unwrapped but not received. Chugging down the last of his nog, Mirza now cried in earnest, tears of Christmas disappointment burning harshly upon his face.