Maybe if dad hadn’t gotten laid off in October he might have gotten to open the usual present before bed time that always took the edge off the season long anticipation of the wonderful rewards for his good behavior Santa put under the tree while he slept through the night that felt like eternity.
Maybe if mother and dad hadn’t been such good hosts, they might have done their little helper chores sooner and been in bed sooner.
Maybe if children understood all the words grownups use to cover the holes in their fabrications they would be less skeptical of the words they did understand.
Maybe if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass. He doesn’t so he does. Dad was, mother and dad didn’t, children don’t so they are and he couldn’t sleep for worrying that something besides the leering face in the glowing stars on his ceiling was afoot. By the time he got to the stairs he knew no one was afraid of being caught being naughty by Santa or his helpers. For each step crept his skepticism bloomed until he could see the whole lurid scene.
The implications were so vast he could only beat a hasty retreat back up the stairs before his discovery was discovered. In turning to go he snagged the garlands decorating the banister and loosed a hanging purple ball from the fir frond upon which it depended. Lunging for it he missed, deflecting it into the path of the paper loop chain, which caught its hook and stopped its surely shattering on the hardwood living room floor.
Maybe if the Christmas decoration had completed its journey on the winds of gravity his parents would have realized the jig was up and would have welcomed him into the fold of the first stage of adulthood like anyone who announces their discovery.
Maybe if the fear of being found out during the tedious chore of hauling the delicate pendulum of ball and chain back to safety hadn’t shocked him into a unique realm of realization for a five year old, he might have been one of those that spitefully announces his discovery to all those who are still fooled by the fable or still telling it.
Maybe if he’d blabbed his secret insight he’d have never learned to spot prevarication whenever it belies his own experience of nature or the body language of the teller of tales.
Maybe if science actually knew what it was talking about they could calculate that bumblebees can, in fact, fly. But they don’t so they can’t. The ball didn’t so he wasn’t, the fear did so he wasn’t, and he didn’t so he has never burdened anyone with his trust, belief, faith or himself with the bruises for which they’re always cruising. Maybe