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Uncle Santa Austin Allie Austin Allie is a graduate of UT with a Major in Writing and Rhetoric Major and a Creative Writing Minor. A native Texan, he was born in Fort Worth but moved to Brenham when he was five years old. He considers Brenham his hometown, and tries to go back as often as possible to enjoy the Blue Bell ice cream. Some of his passions include writing, photography, theatre, singing, etc. His future plans include lots of writing and possibly grad school. We’ll see ...

M

y uncle was Santa. You know, the mall kind.

It wasn’t always like this. There wasn’t always the shadow of Him everywhere. It was

there July Fourth in the smoke of the grill like a body being cremated. It was there Halloween amongst the white-sheet ghosts at the front door with neon tape wrapped around their pant bottoms. It was there at Thanksgiving, his eyes peering unblinking in a photograph behind the turkey, out of focus in the background, but leaching everyone’s attention like a quickly draining battery. And he’s here now at Christmas, amongst the lights glittering outside an artificially frosted window.

Yes, my uncle was Santa. With the red suit lined with the virgin-white trim, soft like fresh

snow. The boots were big and black, Army-style. The beard was fake, my uncle’s face smooth underneath the itchy cotton clouds of tuffed white beard. The rosy cheeks were real though. Like he was always toasty.

He died a year ago to this very day. 365 days come and gone. And here’s my family, their

grins peeled back into what is starting to look like sneering grimaces. The way a Christmas card looks when there’s a small, red-eyed child in the photo. Forced.

“This is what my Online Grief Support Group says to do,” my grandma says. “To just

go on.”

These people are the new “it crowd” in our lives. The trendsetters. They control what is

and what is not in season. 24

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